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Dream kitchens come in all shapes and sizes and can include a wide range of storage and display options based on space and budget. Open shelving in kitchens is a trend that works beautifully in a variety of circumstances. The main criteria behind choosing open shelves tends to be for added display space, physical and space limitations, cost and functionality. The open storage above is stunning. The monochromatic color scheme in the kitchen is carried through with the owner's dishes and it is all elegantly displayed. One thing to remember is that open shelves mean that everybody will see exactly what you have - chips, stains and all.
A few open shelves in a kitchen can be used simply as display space for art and glass. This simple country vignette is a mini gallery that makes the kitchen feel more personal and homey.
This contemporary kitchen uses both traditional cabinets and open shelves. The open shelves have been placed over the windows to allow for light to pass through the art glass. I know this seems totally unconventional, but if you are short on wall space and have a less-than-perfect view, why not? Ignore the pizza, but notice how the cabinets match the back of the designer barstools? Love!
I’ve already packed my bags and will be moving in...please forward all mail. This kitchen uses open shelves for beauty and functionality. First, I love that the open shelves leave the exposed brick for all to enjoy. Also, basic everyday objects like plates and glasses are easy to find. Something you may have missed is that kitchen lighting seems minimal in this space until you spy the small wall lights above the windows that illuminate the space at night, making up for the expansive daylight that streams in during the day.
More display shelving, but with a twist. Consider under cabinet lighting if you know the surfaces will be used for decoration.
Here is another example of open shelves used for display, but I think the open system was used because of physical space limitations. The set of windows are places in such a way as to make closed cabinets almost impossible to be used without giving up counter space.
This tiny kitchen is cute and budget friendly. Because the room is so small, it was a better choice to use open shelves and based on the brackets, it was friendly on the old purse. Pendant lights add a touch of contemporary function to the mostly eclectic cottage vibe.
This too is a country-style kitchen with open shelves, but is higher-end when it comes to materials. Though the roughhewn shelves appear “down home,” the marble counters and trendy apron sink tell the truth...fancy. I love the all cream and whites and the dishes continue the overall theme. This is a great country house look especially when days and nights are casual family affairs.
Open shelves can also look playful and young. This hip kitchen uses shelves strictly as functional surfaces for dishes and glassware and balances the open storage under the island. No fuss, all fun. Punches of color like the hot pink metal barstools and multi-style kitchen lighting work in harmony in eclectic culinary bliss.
Have existing cabinets with doors? Why not remove them? This existing pantry may or may not have had doors, but I love how the back wall has been wallpapered to add serious punch to this kitchen.
Urban all the way is the only way to describe this kitchen. Like the earlier kitchen that left exposed brick be the star, this kitchen lets the white tile shine in an industrial kitchen aesthetic. The shelves are both used for function and display...apparently everybody can get along...on open shelves!
Photos courtesy of Rue, House of Turquoise, Paloma81, VT Interiors, Atlanta Homes Magazine, Elements of Style
Rob is a Los Angeles-based designer who has a background in art history and was an expert at Sotheby's auction house. Formerly the host of "Inside The Auction" for the Fine Living Network, speaker for The Learning Annex and contributing editor for Valley Magazine and LA Bride Magazine, he has spent years bridging the gap between the world of design and the general public.
His design sensibilities are varied and can work in both traditional and contemporary styles. His interiors have most recently been published in Renovation Style Magazine.