Decorating Ideas

10 Gorgeous Takes on the Open Shelving Trend

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Photo by Max Kim-Bee

Photo by Max Kim-Bee

Taking advantage of vertical wall space, a pair of metal shelves draws your eyes upward while also spotlighting the marble farm sink below. The accessories, neutral save for subtle pops of yellow, are smartly organized with the most frequently used pieces on the easy-to-reach bottom shelves and the once-in-a-blue-moon platters and vases stashed on the uppermost shelves.

Photo by Nicole LaMotte

Photo by Nicole LaMotte

All-white open shelving fades into the background, leaving your focus on an eclectic serveware collection of vintage sake vessels, wooden bowls, and earthenware mugs styled as artfully as objets on a bookshelf—a mix of vertical and horizontal vignettes, alternating patterns and neutrals, and everything grouped by type.

Photo by Meredith Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Meredith Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

A place for everything and everything in its place perfectly describes a built-in that was purpose-made for showing off a china collection when stacking the plates just won’t do.

Photo by Nicole LaMotte

Photo by Nicole LaMotte

A mix of open shelves and cabinets gives you the best of both worlds—a behind-closed-doors spot to stash the less-than-pretty items in your life (necessary sippy cups, beloved World’s Best Dad mugs) and plenty of in-view space to display your sleek canister collection, cookbooks, and piece of art or two.

Photo by Kara Rosenlund

Photo by Kara Rosenlund

In-the-know designers love a collection because even the most mundane items look stellar when en masse. Not that there’s anything mundane about a gorgeous grouping of white tureens, but their similar size and scale adds punch to this white-on-white shelfscape.

Design by Rachel Halvorson Designs and Nick Dryden from DAAD Architecture in Nashville, TN. Photo by Caroline Allison.

Design by Rachel Halvorson Designs and Nick Dryden from DAAD Architecture in Nashville, TN. Photo by Caroline Allison.

Since open shelving lets your eyes pass all the way to the wall behind it, it’s a great way to show off a pretty wall treatment. When combined with another right-now trend—subway tile—you get a look that’s both old-school cool and easy to clean.

Photo by Nicole LaMotte

Photo by Nicole LaMotte

We all know that mirrors are the oldest trick in the book for making a space appear larger than it is. When open shelves are added, you still benefit from the room-widening effect, plus you score a spot to store your stuff.

Photo by Nicole LaMotte

Photo by Nicole LaMotte

Live in an apartment and love the look of open shelves but can’t do any real renovations? Easy peasy: Just temporarily take off a few of your cabinet doors. Displaying all-white serveware (even serving spoons) makes for serious visual impact. And showcasing items in use daily ensures a dust-free display.

Photo by Nicole LaMotte

Photo by Nicole LaMotte

For the dedicated minimalist, one long shelf is a design-forward twist on the open-shelving craze. It lets you corral your items in one space (or behind closed doors), leaving the rest of your surfaces blissfully bare.

Photo by Tony Vu

Photo by Tony Vu

No built-ins? No problem. A sizable shelving system along a bare wall will give you the same effect and is a great solution for the tabletop addict (there are several in our office!). Bonus point: The everything-out-in-the-open situation also means that your little ones can more easily help you set the table.

Looking for more kitchen ideas? Shop all dinnerware →

Join the Discussion

Join the Discussion

6 Responses to “10 Gorgeous Takes on the Open Shelving Trend”

  1. RAnn says:

    As someone who has to regularly clean kitchen grease and dust off exposed appliances and countertops in my kitchen, I’ll say “no thanks” to the open shelf trend. It looks great in photos but I don’t have time to wash stuff before I use it and somehow I doubt that most people’s kitchens look that artfully arranged. Open shelves in my kitchen would look like stacks of stuff, not like arrangments.

  2. Jo DiMarco Castiglione says:

    Would never work for me & my kitchen, I actually cook meals from scratch. These are suggestions for people who don’t cook, just admire.

    • TheNoteTaker says:

      Um…have you ever seen a professional kitchen? There are practically no cupboards and somehow cooking is still accomplished. You’re attempt to come off snooty is a massive fail.

  3. Claire says:

    Love the top kitchen with the metal shelving. Where can the metal shelves be purchased?

  4. mulberry1 says:

    Cabinets were created for a reason. Don’t want to dust and wash dishes that you haven’t even used, don’t want to look at clutter or to work tirelessly to make sure every little item is perfectly organized? Put them in a cabinet with a door. While some people have dishes and cookware that are display worthy, mine aren’t.

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