25 Open Shelving Kitchen Ideas That Are Trending

Open Shelving Kitchen Ideas

If you want to try something different, think about adding open shelving to your kitchen. An open shelving kitchen consists of cabinet shelves without doors. It can also refer to floating shelves.

Traditional kitchen cabinets feature doors or drawers for hiding your dishware, utensils, and appliances. It creates a clean look but is not the most practical design.

Open shelving in your kitchen keeps everything within easy reach. Instead of opening a cupboard, you simply need to reach up to the shelf to grab a plate or bowl.

Installing open shelving also allows you to proudly display your favorite dishware and appliances instead of concealing them behind cabinet doors.

So, what are the best types of open shelving for a kitchen? The answer depends on your needs. You can find open shelving with hooks for hanging pots and pans, open cabinets, and dozens of other designs.

Here are 25 of the top open shelving kitchen ideas to help transform the functionality of your kitchen.

1. Open Pantry For Easier Access

1. Open Pantry For Easier Access
Image source: Houzz

A large open pantry is more convenient compared to a typical pantry. Keep in mind that this open shelving kitchen idea may not work well in a home with pets or children. However, the open design featured by Houzz allows you to easily see what you have in stock and what you need to add to your grocery list.

2. Small Open Shelves For Essential Items

2. Small Open Shelves For Essential Items
Image source: Heather Bien

Instead of using open shelving throughout the kitchen, stick with standard cabinets and use open shelves to hold a few essential items. For example, you could install a set of small shelves near the sink to hold dish soap and cleaning utensils. You can keep your counter space clear and the kitchen more organized. More from Heather Bien.

3. Open Shelving Below Upper Cabinets

3. Open Shelving Below Upper Cabinets
Image source: ECAB

If you have short upper cabinets, you likely have free wall space above the counters. Use this space for extra shelving. For example, you could add a shelf about eight inches below the upper cabinets and add hooks on the bottom. You can then store plates on the upper shelf and hang cups from the hooks.

Check out more info from ECAB here.

4. Glass And Gold Floating Shelves

4. Glass And Gold Floating Shelves
Image source: West Elm

Most of the open shelving kitchen ideas involve wood shelves but there are many other choices, including glass. A glass shelf is less intrusive, which keeps it from taking attention away from other features. Yet, you need to be careful with glass shelves in kitchens, as glass is more prone to breaking compared to wood.

Check it out at West Elm!

5. Replacing Upper Cabinets With Wood Cubbies

5. Replacing Upper Cabinets With Wood Cubbies
Image source: Apartment Therapy

Consider replacing the upper cabinets in the kitchen with wood cubbies. The wood cubbies allow you to see what is stored in the upper row of your kitchen storage space, where items tend to get placed and forgotten about. You could also install the cubbies above a row of short upper cabinets, which adds more dimension and height to the kitchen. See this idea from Apartment Therapy.

6. Open Shelving As A Serving Station

6. Open Shelving As A Serving Station
Image source: Most Lovely Things

Install one or two open shelves above a counter to create a serving station, such as a coffee bar. You can store perishable items on the shelves and dishware in the cabinets below. You may even add a hanging shelf below the open shelving to hang coffee cups or utensils.

Check it out from Most Lovely Things.

7. Open Shelving Above The Sink

7. Open Shelving Above The Sink
Image source: Mr. Barr

The area above the sink typically includes a window or a shorter cabinet. An alternative option is to install open shelving, like this from Mr. Barr. This is another great idea for finding a place to store dish soap and cleaning utensils. You could also use the space for houseplants, as the humidity from washing dishes may create the ideal environment for plants that crave moisture.

8. Rustic Open Shelves With Wrought Iron Rails

8. Rustic Open Shelves With Wrought Iron Rails
Image source: Walmart

Reclaimed wood with wrought iron or metal rails should look at home in a rustic kitchen or farmhouse kitchen. The combination of the wood with metal rails looks classy, yet rustic. It is also practical, as the rails help keep fragile items such as glassware from falling.

Get it at Walmart.

9. Open Shelves Along All Open Walls

9. Open Shelves Along All Open Walls
Image source: Good Housekeeping

If you have free space between the fridge and your existing cabinets, add open shelves. Install open shelves anywhere you have unused wall space to maximize your storage. The shelving should be flush against other fixtures and painted or stained the same color as the cabinets for a seamless appearance.

This idea is from Good Housekeeping.

10. Using Open Shelving To Conceal Decorative Lighting

10. Using Open Shelving To Conceal Decorative Lighting
Image source: John Cullen

Open shelving can provide extra storage and provide a way to conceal decorative lighting fixtures. You can install small, recessed lights in the bottom of the shelves to illuminate the back wall of a kitchen. The lights add more visual flair to the room while making it easier to see in the evening.

This idea is from John Cullen.

11. Wood Against Brick or White Walls

11. Wood Against Brick or White Walls
Image source: Elle Decor

Another rustic option involves installing thick wood shelves made from reclaimed wood against a brick wall or a white-painted wall. The thick wood shelves add to the farmhouse aesthetic while providing durable storage for heavy pots and pans.

More from Elle Decor here.

12. Corner Floating Shelves

12. Corner Floating Shelves
Image source: Yellow Brick Home

If you have free corners, add shelves. You can use small corner shelves for storing smaller items, such as a paper towel holder or spices. Depending on the layout of the kitchen and windows, corner shelves may also offer a great spot for small houseplants.

See more detailed info on this idea at Yellow Brick Home.

13. Matching Floating Stone Shelves

13. Matching Floating Stone Shelves
Image source: Jkath

Match the look of your counters with the rest of the kitchen by using stone slabs as floating shelves (idea from Jkath). For example, if you have marble counters, use marble slabs on floating shelf brackets. You can create a more luxurious look for your kitchen with minimal effort.

14. Open Shelving For Plants And Decorative Items

14. Open Shelving For Plants And Decorative Items
Image source: Fit Foodie Finds

Open shelves do not always need to be practical. You can use your open shelving to hold plants or decorative items and make your kitchen a little cozier and more inviting. Consider adding a narrow shelf along an open wall or add several small shelves in areas with space.

More from Fit Foodie Finds here.

15. Storage Below Your Upper Cabinets

15. Storage Below Your Upper Cabinets
Image source: Apartment Therapy

A typical kitchen has about 12 to 15 inches of space between the counters and the bottoms of the upper cabinets. A small open shelf placed between the two could provide storage for the items that you tend to leave on the counter, such as salt and pepper or wash rags.

Check out this idea from Apartment Therapy.

16. Keeping Utensils Within Reach With A Floating Shelf

16. Keeping Utensils Within Reach With A Floating Shelf
Image source: Decor Pad

If you do not have a range hood, add a floating shelf above your stove to provide storage for utensils. Depending on how much space you have available, you could also add hooks below the shelf to hang a few pots and pans.

More from Decor Pad here.

17. Open Shelving For Storing Appliances

17. Open Shelving For Storing Appliances
Image source: The Pioneer Woman

Open shelving may provide the perfect place for storing your growing collection of small kitchen appliances. Some items are awkward to store in traditional cabinets, as you may not be able to fully close the doors. Open storage makes it easier to stow mixers, food processors, waffle makers, and other kitchen gadgets.

See this idea from The Pioneer Woman.

18. Using Open Shelving To Create A Bar Nook

18. Using Open Shelving To Create A Bar Nook
Image source: Houzz

Place a few floating shelves or an open cabinet above a counter to create a bar nook. You can store bottles on the upper shelves to keep them out of the reach of children while you use the lower cabinet to store glasses and utensils.

See this idea from Houzz.

19. Bridging Gaps With Open Shelving

19. Bridging Gaps With Open Shelving
Image source: Shelterness

Use open shelving to bridge the gaps between existing cabinets. For example, your cabinets may not extend across the wall. Floating shelves can tie everything together. Consider painting or staining the shelves a complementary or contrasting color to add more depth.

See this idea from Shelterness.

20. Bookshelf In Your Kitchen

20. Bookshelf In Your Kitchen
Image source: Real Simple

Where do you store your cookbooks and recipes? Most people store them with the rest of the books outside of the kitchen. A better spot for your cookbooks is in the kitchen on a floating shelf so that you can use them more often.

See more from Real Simple.

21. Following Existing Lines With Your Open Shelves

21. Following Existing Lines With Your Open Shelves
Image source: Squarespace

Adding open shelves can provide more storage in a noninvasive way, especially if you follow the existing lines of other features. For example, if you have a range above the stove, place the shelves at the same height as the bottom of the range. You could also start a set of shelves at the same height as the fridge.

Picture from Squarespace.

22. Floating Spice Rack

22. Floating Spice Rack
Image source: Etsy

Open shelving is the perfect option for items that you use frequently, such as spices. A floating spice rack placed near the stove ensures that your favorite ingredients are always within reach. The rack could be set on a floating shelf or open cabinet mounted on the wall.

More info at Etsy.

23. Using Recessed Shelving To Save Space

23. Using Recessed Shelving To Save Space
Image source: Sebring Design Build

Shelves do not need to stick out of the wall. You can also build them into the wall. Installing recessed shelving saves space and provides a cleaner look. However, the width of the shelves is typically limited to the distance between the studs in the wall, which is often between 16 and 24 inches.

More from Sebring Design Build here.

24. The Space Above Your Fridge

24. The Space Above Your Fridge
Image source: Miter

The refrigerator is a common storage spot, with many households storing cereal and other large items on top of the fridge. Installing a shelf above the fridge allows you to stop cluttering the top of the appliance. Depending on the height of your kitchen, you may even add multiple shelves.

More ideas from Miter here.

25. Converting Existing Cabinets Into Open Shelves

25. Converting Existing Cabinets Into Open Shelves
Image source: Sherwin Williams

One of the most affordable open shelving kitchen ideas involves removing the doors from existing cabinets to convert them into open shelves. You simply need to remove the doors and hinges, patch the screw holes, and repaint the cabinets. You may also want to paint the interiors.

More from Sherwin Williams here.

Open Shelving Kitchen Ideas
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