Do You Have What it Takes to Live with Open Kitchen Shelving?

WRITTEN FOR ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST


I find myself lusting after perfectly tiled, open-shelf kitchens on Pinterest and Instagram far too often. Like multiple times a day. No matter how many kitchens I design, I just can’t get enough! Why is it that the heart of a home always seems to reside in the kitchen where the food is made, heart-to-hearts are had, and the fresh coffee brewed? Before Joe and I redid our kitchen I often wondered to myself, what does it really take to be an open-shelf person? Does this type of person need to own perfectly-matching-unchipped-plates, cohesive glasses that only come in even numbers and fend off daily clutter like it’s their 9-5 job? Probably, I thought. Now that we have open shelving in our kitchen at home and in two kitchens within the studio, I thought it would be nice for me to put together what it really takes to be an open-shelving person. Here is a list of the top six things to consider before (and after) tearing out your kitchen cabinets. This list will help you get ahead of your new kitchen remodel and decide if this whole open-shelving lifestyle is really for you!

The 6 Things To Consider Before Tearing Out Your Kitchen Cabinets – Wit & Delight

1. How are your dishes and glassware? Is anything chipped? Do any of your glasses or dishes come in an odd number? Purchase a couple of new sets that stack and align nicely and put those beauties on display!

The 6 Things To Consider Before Tearing Out Your Kitchen Cabinets – Wit & Delight

2. Do you have set spots for appliances? I often store the larger clunkier appliances such as blenders, mixers, crockpots etc. that aren’t in everyday use in an accessible cabinet nearby.

The 6 Things To Consider Before Tearing Out Your Kitchen Cabinets – Wit & Delight

3. How will you display things like your snoozy pantry items? Clear glass containers can be cute or you could do a hodgepodge of colorfully designed pottery containers too. I’m loving wicker, marble, and copper containers right now too for your kitchen.

The 6 Things To Consider Before Tearing Out Your Kitchen Cabinets – Wit & Delight

4. How many shelves do you want (or need)? A few? A ton? The sky is the limit here and you can change this up depending on what each wall looks like in your kitchen. I also like the thought of wider shelves that can hold a wider array of larger or longer items.

The 6 Things To Consider Before Tearing Out Your Kitchen Cabinets – Wit & Delight

5. How will you accessorize? With plants, books or trinkets? I love adding a mixture of all of these items. I often need to remind myself that less is more, though. Because keeping clutter to a minimum always looks best!

The 6 Things To Consider Before Tearing Out Your Kitchen Cabinets – Wit & Delight

6. Can you keep it neat? I find myself dusting and decluttering weekly and more often with open shelves. In a way, this is good because I’m less likely to store all my “stuff” away and let unnecessary or unwanted bowls, tupperware or glassware pile up.

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  • I’m a huge fan of open shelving! I love having plates, bowls, glasses, and frequently used pantry staples accessible and in plain sight. One of my biggest pet peeves when over at friends’ houses is having to open up every single cabinet to find a glass. In the last 6 kitchens my husband and I have remodeled, every one has had open shelves.

  • I love my open shelving with one caveat that no-one seems to mention. I don’t have a problem with the dust which never collects on the more often used dishes. I don’t have a problem with visual clutter as I stick to all white. The one problem I have is when I have a party or cook a big dinner, I pull practically everything off my shelves to use. So when I’m entertaining I’ve got awkward bare shelves. I’ve even gone so far as to keep a separate set of dishes so I can keep the open shelves styled and pretty for guests. In the end I would rather have open shelving, but I’m thinking for my next kitchen having at least one closed cabinet to keep the entertaining stuff.

  • I have designed and redesigned many kitchens for our family. Of all the configurations, I found that the golden oldies are often the best: PANTRIES! A pantry with variable height shelving and shelves of several depths has made me a happy cook and let me entertain without angst. You just take what you need and close the door. I am short, so I tend to use few upper cabinets, preferring the feeling of openness and drawers under the counter tops. That, along with comfortable seating, is my perfect kitchen recipe.