How to Style Open Shelving

Becki Owens Vidriosa Project / Autumn Grace Photography

Want to style an Instagram-worthy open shelving look in your kitchen? Today we are helping you nail the look. Open shelving opens up your space and leaves it feeling bright and airy. You do have to sacrifice some storage space, but with careful editing you can ensure that your shelves are both beautiful and functional. Read on for our tips on how to style open shelving.



Edit your Kitchen Dishes and Tools

Becki Owens Villa Bonita KitchenAlyssa Ence Photography

Open shelves are not for clutter. To pull off the look you need to edit your kitchen dishes, tools, and appliances. Your shelves will be for your most used everyday items mixed with a few pretty accents. Donate items you never use, so that you can save precious storage space for things you need but don’t want or need displayed on your shelves.


Stack Shelves with your Everyday Dishes

Becki Owens White Kitchen Transformation

Open shelving keeps your everyday dishes close at hand. Place your most used plates, bowls, and cups on the lowest shelf for easy access and vary the height of your stacks to add interest. Although a stack of mismatched plates or bowls is a look that can be pulled off in some kitchens, in most cases we prefer the crisp look of uniformity. This might be a good time to invest in new dish ware. White is a no brainer, but black ceramic or a beautiful pattern could also look great.


Create Warmth with Wood

Becki Owens Town Center ProjectAlyssa Ence Photography

Layer wood accessories in with your dishes. Stack a few cutting boards, fill a crock with wooden utensils, and add a tray or cake stand. The beautiful mix of wood tones and grain patterns has an organic beauty that we love.


Layer in Ceramics

Becki Owens Torina Project

Ceramics are a big trend this year. They help create the layered artisan look we are loving. Make your shelves unique by adding a few ceramic pieces to your shelf. It might be a set of functional crocks, a unique shaped pitcher, a bit of greenery in a hand-thrown pot, or a family heirloom china plate. Pottery Barn has some really beautiful ceramics this season, or buy an antique or original art piece on Etsy.


Add Color with Art and Cookbooks

Becki Owens Brio Project / Alyssa Ence Photography

We love art displayed in the kitchen. It adds color, pattern, texture, and height to your shelves. A framed landscape in watercolor or oil paints adds a touch of traditional design to your modern kitchen that makes it feel a little richer. Another option is to stack or prop up favorite cookbooks. Many times the covers are works of art.


Balance Height, Shape, and Color

Becki Owens Family Ties Custom Build (full reveal coming soon!) / Rebekah Westover Photography

When you have finished your arrangement, step back and see how it looks at a distance. We like to create overall balance by mixing heights, colors, and shapes throughout each of the shelves. You want the eye to take in the whole arrangement without one color or item sticking out awkwardly.

Open shelving in the kitchen has been a lasting trend. When carefully edited and layered it has big impact on the design of your space. For more “How To” design tips, browse the series here.

Thanks for stopping by today!



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