Kitchen shelving ideas – 15 stylish ways to max out on open storage (2022)

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If you're looking to jazz up your cooking space, then looking to the best kitchen shelving ideas is a must. And, if you thought open shelving wasn't for you, it's time to think again. There are lots of upsides to open kitchen shelving, the obvious practical bonus being that you can see where everything is. No searching high and low for your favorite coffee cup because you can keep it front-and-center for your morning brew. Plus, if you have a pretty collection of kitchenware or dinner plates, open shelving doubles as a display...

It's an acquired taste, mainly because it takes a little more effort for it to work. Yep, you will need to keep your shelving looking good. The key to a stylish and organized kitchen after all, isn't just about decluttering what's hidden behind cabinet doors, so ensuring everything on your shelves is beautifully laid out and in stylish order, is a must.

Kitchen shelving ideas on display

Worried about the dust? We’ve found from experience that it’s not an issue, because you are using your shelving every day, so there’s no time for dust to settle and you can easily give them a wipe before putting back your pieces in the evening.

Experts at Ikea (opens in new tab) explain, 'With kitchen shelves, you can fit more into your space while keeping all your things easy to find (and grab). They make the most of your wall by giving you extra storage, and the right kitchen shelf, like wooden or metal kitchen shelves, can boost the style of your decor too.'

Lastly, it’s relatively inexpensive, you can make your own if you are DIY-efficient, or look out for vintage shelves at charity shops and car boots, or invest in the ones below that we’ve found...

1. Show off your best pieces

Kitchen shelving ideas – 15 stylish ways to max out on open storage (1)

(Image credit: Life Kitchens)

If you love the open plan kitchen look then consider these bespoke shelves from the Refined range at Life Kitchen (opens in new tab).

Their kitchens always offer great storage solutions that are both relaxed in style and modern and keeping your tableware out on show can add a decorative touch to your space. The jet black metal looks great teamed with the blond wood back, and provides a neutral space for your plates and bowls to shine.

2. Fill awkward gaps creatively

Kitchen shelving ideas – 15 stylish ways to max out on open storage (2)

(Video) 34 Super Inventive Ways to Organize a Tiny Kitchen

(Image credit: Ikea)

Sometimes – and this often happens in older properties that have wonky wall quirks – wall cabinet units don’t fit the spaces we wish them to and there’s that funny little gap left.

This is where you can pop in a wall shelf or two so you’re maximizing your kitchen storage space and creating a break in the scheme a la IKEA's TRANHULT/SANDSHULT (opens in new tab).

The unit on the left above the sink is nice and wide, but that's left a narrow space on the right. We love how they’ve added a task light to the wall which highlights the shelf, you can use it for recipe books and vases that aren’t in use.

3. Pick minimalist kitchen shelving for a pared back look

Kitchen shelving ideas – 15 stylish ways to max out on open storage (3)

(Image credit: String Furniture)

We’ve long been fans of String shelving (opens in new tab) and their practical shelving ideas; the Swedish designed system by Nils Strinning back in 1949 is super versatile and you can create your own configurations using the individual pieces.

Start with one component and then increase your shelving as you require more space – from top to bottom and from side to side – whatever suits your space and your needs.

Aside from the white metal, there’s wooden and color finishes and some versions come pre-built so all you need to do is attach them to the wall in your chosen place – win win.

4. Match kitchen shelving to the wall behind

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(Image credit: Sainsbury's Home)

This has the effect of making the kitchen as a whole feel sleeker. We love this all-wooden kitchen which showcases Sainsbury’s Nordic Spring (opens in new tab) tableware and secondly, whoever thought of putting a ladder style wall unit on the countertop is genius.

It’s sleek and stylish with oozes Scandi style practicality – the nearest we’ve come up with to copy this idea is Next’s Oakley (opens in new tab) wooden storage shelves – if you’re handy with a drill you could easily fix this to the wall on the countertop or properly wall-mount it with this how-to.

  1. Check the construction of the wall: Is it masonry or plaster, or drywall/plasterboard? This will dictate the weight of a shelf you can hang. Tip: Knock on the wall and if it sounds hollow, it's plasterboard or drywall.
  2. Choose a suitable shelf style and fixture: If you're working with plasterboard or drywall, look for lightweight shelves and consider light things to keep on it.
  3. Check your wall for pipes and cables: Before drilling any holes, use a digital detector to assess if there are any pipes or cables to worry about.
  4. Mark out the position of your shelf: Hold up the shelf and eyeball the positioning, then mark the desired position with a pencil, making a small dot in each hole of the brackets too. Use a level to draw a line to the other bracket and mark the second.
  5. Prepare the wall: Drill a shallow pilot hole to make it easier to drill in the screws.
  6. Fasten the brackets to the wall with a screwdriver or drill and attach the shelf, checking all are secure.

5. Make run-of-the-mill kitchen accessories into a stylish display

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(Video) 20 Smart DIY Hidden Storage Ideas that Keep Clutter in Check

(Image credit: Dunelm)

A useful thing about this kitchen shelving idea? It shows how easy it is to use everything from chopping boards, salt and pepper, tumblers for the kids' drinks to herbs and spices to create a display that's very good looking.

They can all be out on show when you use them daily – the bonus of popping them on the shelf is that it keeps your countertop clear and clutter-free.These lovely acacia wood (opens in new tab) bits and bobs are all from Dunelm.

6. Cheat a traditional look with paint

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(Image credit: The National Trust)

Have a traditional kitchen? These shelves are made with simple lengths of pine and wooden brackets, all painted in a stylish, period shade.

This is such a lovely rustic look, but putting shelves around or above a sink is really practical too. Everything is on show and in easy reach.

As you would paint kitchen cabinets, take it to your kitchen shelves. Don't be afraid to mix up you colors and patterns for a more bold look or copy this kitchen and opt for a subtle color palette.

7. Tiny space? This cute kitchen shelving idea is for you

If you are squeezed for storage space in your kitchen but don't have the room/don't want to add more cabinets, this kitchen shelving idea is a great solution.

You can stick it up in a space that would otherwise go unused like this little corner. This lovely set up has been created using cute bracket shelves (Ikea's Sandshult (opens in new tab) always look fab) and a rail (opens in new tab) for even more storage.

8. Run a single shelf the length of your kitchen

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(Video) 12 Easy Small Kitchen Storage Ideas

(Image credit: Nordic Nest)

Want to keep your kitchen open shelves looking clean and clutter-free? Why not opt for a long single shelf the length of your kitchen wall?There will still be plenty of available storage but the look will be minimalist and modern.

Make use of the space by storing cookbooks, glasses and glass containers or create a feature shelf with your all-time favorite kitchen accessories and artwork.

9. Use open shelving as a #shelfie feature

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(Image credit: Future © Kasia Fiszer)

if you already have plenty of cupboards and are lucky enough to have wall space going spare, instead of opting for artwork, why not make a feature wall with open shelving?

These open shelves in this white shaker kitchen add personality to an otherwise pared back space, with trailing plants, vintage finds and colorful kitchen accessories.

10. Multifunctional open shelving

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(Image credit: Georgia Burns)

Organizing open kitchen shelving doesn't get much better than this, where everything has its place in this lovely unit.With an in-built plate rack, cup hooks and baskets for smaller items, this multifunctional shelving unit is a must have in any industrial-style kitchen.

11. Create bespoke shelving

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(Image credit: Kasia Fiszer © Future)

Go bespoke with your kitchen shelving ideas to create more design interest and added function. Make use of wall space and if you're one for cute trinkets, color co-ordinated cookery books and coffee cups, keep it all on display. Ensuring essentials like spices and dried herbs are within reach is a must while more decorative items can stay on that top shelf.

12. Barely-there shelves for the illusion of more space

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(Video) Top 15 Under Stairs Storage Ideas 2022 | Under Stairs Cabinets | Best Home Space Saving ideas

(Image credit: String Shelving )

These full height shelves from String Furniture (opens in new tab)are minimal and discreet. This is especially useful for smaller kitchens, where chunkier shelving could overwhelm and darken the space. String furniture is modular, so you can design the shelving to suit your specific needs. We love the in-built trays and space for hanging utensils, making the space extra useful.

'When you cook a lot, you want to have a lot of open shelves. You don’t want too many doors and cabinets. There is no need, everything on the shelves is used almost every day. And you want everything within reach. Hooks, hanger racks, and rods are a really good way to keep utensils and pans at the ready. Metal shelves are hardy and gives the kitchen a rustic touch. What I really like about String are the cork accessories such as the underlays, where you can put a hot pan to cool down - and of course the bottle tray for the wine!' says Michelin star chef Karim Khouani.

13. Hang up an enclosed bracket

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(Image credit: Katie Lee)

Rather than fixing multiple shelves to your kitchen wall, a simple, all-in-one bracket like this is an easy way to create ample extra shelf storage. A designated plate rack means that your plates are always close to hand and within easy reach.

'If space is tight, wall mounted open shelving can fit above appliances or countertops to utilise unused spaces. This will also give easy access to the items on the shelves and help you easily keep track of where things are in the kitchen. You can also make more of the shelves you do have with mesh under shelf baskets, so you’re using space both above and below the shelf,' says Simon Glanville, managing director at A Place for Everything. We love how all these plates and glasses are matching for a contemporary, uniform look. But for something a little more traditional, go for a mish mash of plates and bowls in varying colors and styles.

14. Embrace the anti-kitchen trend for a relaxed look

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(Image credit: Dunelm)

Go for the anti kitchen trend by using shelving in your kitchen which is fit for any other room too. Providing the relaxed, laid back look of a living room or dining room, these wooden and metal industrial style shelves add warmth and personality to the space. Display your jars of pasta, recipe books and fruit for a kitchen that beckons you to spend time in it.

15. Let glassware take centerstage

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(Image credit: deVOL)

Painting your open shelving in the same color as the rest of your walls is a clever trick which works to make your space feel bigger. (Yes really, this reduces the amount of visual divides and so your room appears larger than it is!). This technique also allows whatever you choose to display on your shelves to steal the show. This elegant glassware stands loud and proud. Ensure you choose the best kitchen paint so that it'll look great and last.

(Video) How To Maximize Storage Space / Shed Organization / Garage Organization / Garage Storage Ideas / DIY

How should you organize kitchen shelves?

'Our shelves should be a reflection of our personalities and exhibit the objects that we have collected throughout our lives. Sometimes selecting just a few beautiful pieces to display can make the most decorative impact and be the most sentimental. Coordinating different colors on your shelves is another simple and effortless way of making these pieces stand out and decoratively tie a room together. Many forget that storage can be part of the interior design scheme and by displaying and styling our objects, we can merge function with decoration,' says Peter Erlandsson,co-owner of String Furniture.

FAQs

What can I put on open shelves in kitchen? ›

Some of the most common items to spot on open kitchen shelves are daily essentials like coffee mugs, plates and bowls. Items like this work well on open shelves for two reasons. First, they're kept in easy reach, which speeds up your morning just that little extra bit.

How do you make open shelving look less cluttered? ›

Tip 1: Balance smaller pieces with larger accents

If you use too many smaller decor pieces, it ends up looking junky and cluttered. By using larger pieces, you fill space without things looking too cluttered. Balancing decorative pieces of various sizes is good.

How do you make open shelving look neat? ›

11 Cleaning and Organizing Tips from Real People Who Have Open Shelving
  1. Fill them with stuff you use a lot. ...
  2. Or fill them with stuff you only sometimes use. ...
  3. Avoid appliances and plastic. ...
  4. Repackage your dry goods. ...
  5. Wipe the surfaces. ...
  6. Organize by zones. ...
  7. Stick to a color scheme. ...
  8. Don't overload them.
26 Sept 2017

Is open shelving in kitchen a good idea? ›

Open shelving offers easy access to everyday kitchenware and gives the space a stylish feel. For those who entertain and cook a lot, it really is the ultimate convenience to have all of your kitchen items visible and easy-to-grab at all times.

Is open shelving going out of style? ›

Open shelving is here to stay

According to Bo, the interior design trend goes hand-in-hand with the feature wall trend – which has brought the trend firmly into 2022. 'At the moment, we are noticing a trend for large-scale statement feature walls,' Bo says.

How high should open kitchen shelves be? ›

In a kitchen, shelves should be 18 to 24 inches above the counter, with 21 to 15 inches between shelves.

How do you arrange items on shelves? ›

The basic rule of thumb for decorating and organizing bookshelves: one-third books, one-third accessories, and one-third empty space per shelf. If you're short on storage, fill the bottom shelf with identical boxes or baskets.

How do you keep open kitchen shelves clean? ›

DON'T Fail to Dust Regularly

Wipe down your shelved items at least every two weeks or so. In addition, clear off shelves and give them a thorough dusting once a month to keep them looking sleek.

How do you cover open shelves? ›

You can pick out curtains and cover the shelves entirely. You can either install a curtain rod or use a spring tension rod. By hanging curtains, you'll be able to cover up the clutter. If you have open bookshelves and you wish to cover them now then hanging paintings in front of them as a cover would be a great idea.

Are open shelves Still in Style 2022? ›

Out: Open kitchen shelving

Open shelving in the kitchen is out of style for 2022.

Why is open shelving so popular? ›

Open shelving invites visitors into the kitchen, and clear visibility means no one needs to ask where something is kept, creating a sense of familiarity and comfort.

Why do people have open shelves? ›

"Open shelves invite visitors to feel at home and help themselves to whatever they need. They don't have to ask where things are, or go rummaging through cabinets because it's all in plain view.

What home style is in for 2022? ›

For furniture design trends in 2022, look for curves, texture, and comfort. You'll see lots of curved chairs, sofas with gently sloping arms, and round poufs in velvet, linen, and nubby boucle fabrics. In addition to natural wood tones and vintage pieces, we'll also see a return of black accent pieces.

Are floating shelves in kitchen out of style? ›

If you think that floating shelving is a short-lived fad, think again! Centuries-old homes have open shelving incorporated into their kitchens for added style, ease, and function in kitchens all over the world. So there you have it, while there are many opinions about floating shelves, they aren't going anywhere!

Are glass shelves out of style? ›

Glass shelves are not only fashionable but practical and extremely popular element of interiors in any style, from minimalist to classical and art deco.

How far should you space open shelves? ›

The rule of thumb for spacing is 12 inches between each shelf but bump that up to 15 or 18 inches and you enhance that sense of exposure and accessibility. Length is where you'll see the most variation.

How deep should open shelves be? ›

The most important consideration with open shelving is to make sure the system you use is secure. As far as shelf size, a depth of 10 or 12 inches fits most functions without concern of drooping in the middle, while length should be determined based on where you want to install yours.

What height should shelves be? ›

How High Should I Hang My Shelf or Shelves? Like artwork, shelves should be hung at about eye level or about 4 to 5 feet from the floor. If you're hanging the shelf above furniture, measure about 10 inches from the top of the desk or couch.

How many items should you put on a shelf? ›

One item per shelf is a good rule of thumb, but if you're going for a minimalist look, subtract 2-3 from the number of shelves.My favorite larger items to use: Picture frames. Books. Baskets.

What is the triangle rule in decorating? ›

A Decorative Triangle is when you place three items with the goal of them visually connecting. Once everything is in place, you should be able to draw a line between the pieces and create a triangle.

How do you stage shelves? ›

How-to Style Your Bookshelves - YouTube

How do you style deep shelves? ›

Deep bookshelves give you the luxury to play with layers. Lean artwork along the back of the shelves, and anchor them with books or heavier objects. To decorate the bookcase, place a few small pieces of art near the front of the shelves to give them depth.

How do you arrange ornaments on shelves? ›

The cardinal rules of arranging displays

Display items in odd numbers as it's more pleasing on the eye. Always find balance by harmonising objects of different shapes and sizes with an asymmetrical arrangement which creates visual interest. Balance a tall, large object with several smaller ones.

How do you arrange 3 shelves on a wall? ›

When using three shelves, place the middle shelf higher or lower than the one on either side. Five shelves can be staggered with two or three higher than the others, alternating every other shelf for a horizontal grouping.

What do you do with too many knick knacks? ›

3. Decluttering Tips for Too many knick-knacks
  1. Rotate. First, consider a 'knick-knack rotation'. ...
  2. Groupings. Sort your knick knacks with purpose and display the like items together. ...
  3. Box it up. If you have lots of tiny little objects, prevent clutter by placing them in an interesting box with a glass lid or in a pretty jar.

Why do decorators turn books backwards? ›

It's a really simple answer: copyright! That's right, this isn't some breakthrough of a design trick. Although it's actually kind of a hot button issue with book lovers who aren't fans of hiding the titles. It's because the network would have to get copyright clearance from every single title in order to display them.

How do you style ladder shelves? ›

How To Decorate A Ladder Shelf: Our Top Ladder Shelf Decor Ideas
  1. Follow The Room's Color Scheme. ...
  2. Go All Out With Plants. ...
  3. Use Your Ladder Shelf as a Bar. ...
  4. Make Your Kids a Reading Nook. ...
  5. Create a Stylish Bathroom Shelf. ...
  6. Go Minimalist. ...
  7. Display Your Art. ...
  8. Organize Your Books.
4 Apr 2022

Do dishes on open shelves get dusty? ›

If it's near a window or your cooking space, it's going to get grimy pretty quickly. If it's in an out-of-the-way spot, you can probably get by with dinnerware and glasses on a shelf without having to dust them before you use them each time. (Especially if you use the stuff fairly often!)

Are floating shelves in a kitchen a good idea? ›

Incorporating a floating shelf or two can help make your kitchen feel more open and airy, especially if you pare down the number and type of items you plan to display. If done right, open shelves can be a beautiful yet understated focal point in the room.

How do you arrange open living room shelves? ›

HOW TO STYLE OPEN SHELVES IN LIVING ROOM - YouTube

What is the most popular kitchen cabinet color for 2022? ›

White is still the most popular kitchen cabinet color in 2022 and beyond. However, we are seeing a shift towards warmer and more natural tones. We cover the best colors for cabinets from Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams like Simply White, Dove White, and Chantilly Lace.

What is the most popular kitchen cabinet style for 2022? ›

From 2021 to 2022, Shaker-style kitchen cabinets jumped 8 points, with 64 percent of home remodelers now opting for this mainstay of transitional home decor style. The second-most popular style, flat-panel cabinets, trails way behind with 17 percent.

Is open shelving timeless? ›

Open Shelves Are Trendy, But Upper Kitchen Cabinets Are Timeless. To put it simply, open shelves are a current trend. Like most trends, they will most likely be out of style within a few years. Upper cabinets are a classic kitchen staple.

Is open shelving Practical? ›

Plus, open shelving is practical storage! I love being able to have everyday dishes on display that are easy to grab when fixing dinner. Additionally, open shelving can easily fit any design aesthetic. If you love a more modern or industrial look, consider steel open shelves.

Are upper cabinets out of style? ›

Upper cabinets are starting to disappear from kitchens, and I'm not sure how to feel about it. It all started with the open-shelving phenomenon, and now, in some cases, it has morphed into this total lack of anything structural above the countertops. On the one hand, it is visually beautiful.

How do you hang open shelves in a kitchen? ›

How to Install Open Shelving in the Kitchen - DIY Network - YouTube

› Home › Kitchen Design ›

More than any color, style, or even sink shape, open shelving is arguably the biggest trend in kitchen design right now. In a beautifully designed and styled ki...
The items we have on our open shelves in the kitchen are the items getting used frequently, which prevents a lot of dust from accumulating and keeps everything ...
Believe it or not, open shelving is something that you can ease your way into. Start off by simply taking off your cabinet doors. This will allow you to see if ...

How can I cover my kitchen shelves without a door? ›

You can pick out curtains and cover the shelves entirely. You can either install a curtain rod or use a spring tension rod. By hanging curtains, you'll be able to cover up the clutter. If you have open bookshelves and you wish to cover them now then hanging paintings in front of them as a cover would be a great idea.

How do you close an open shelf? ›

The simpler solution is to hang curtains in front of the shelves. You can let your imagination run wild by going with a fabric and colour of your choice from sheer to printed. Install a curtain rod and hang ready made door curtains. The cost should be no more than Rs.

How do you style a floating shelf? ›

Fool Proof method For Decorating Your Shelves | Floating Shelf Decor

Are kitchen floating shelves in style? ›

Floating shelves have risen in popularity over the past decade with the farmhouse design trend, and are often found in more modern kitchens to complement a sleek design and linear look.

Where should floating shelves be placed? ›

Like artwork, floating shelves look best when they're eye level, about four to five feet from the floor. If you're hanging shelves above furniture, measure about ten inches from the top of the desk or couch. If placing shelving over a kitchen counter, they should be approximately 16 to 24 inches from the counter.

How do you arrange 3 shelves on a wall? ›

When using three shelves, place the middle shelf higher or lower than the one on either side. Five shelves can be staggered with two or three higher than the others, alternating every other shelf for a horizontal grouping.

How do you make a shelf cover? ›

DIY How To Cover Your Wire Shelving For $23 + Pantry Organization Ideas

How do you group items on shelves? ›

A classic rule of thumb in decorating is to group objects in sets of three or five. Odd numbers are the most pleasing to the eye. When you're arranging things on your shelf, focus on using odd numbers of things to form your triangle.

What to put on high shelves? ›

How to Decorate a High Foyer Shelf
  1. Start With Paint. Use paint to enhance the high shelf area before placing decorative accents on it. ...
  2. Consider Decorative Vases. Arrange decorative vases – in different sizes, heights and shapes – on the ledge to add interest. ...
  3. Art and Pictures. ...
  4. Use Woven Baskets.

How far apart should open shelves be? ›

The rule of thumb for spacing is 12 inches between each shelf but bump that up to 15 or 18 inches and you enhance that sense of exposure and accessibility. Length is where you'll see the most variation.

How do you stage shelves? ›

How-to Style Your Bookshelves - YouTube

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