Open shelves are a rather strange topic among many homeowners. Traditionally, it is believed that shelves should be closed so that the chaos and clutter of your kitchen can be shielded away from public eyes.

But what if you could be able to expose the chaos, but still have a stunning design to showcase?

With the right containment, open shelves can not only look great but also pass for one of the most contemporary and chic design ideas you can use in your kitchen.

At the core, open shelves are used to add space to a rather squeezed kitchen. The openness creates an airy feel that results in the illusion of space and light in the kitchen.

Besides, with an open shelves design, accessing kitchenware and appliances within the kitchen is made far easier compared to closed shelves that force you to battle your way through a door before you can get a hold of what you want.

This makes open shelves one of the most practical options in a small kitchen layout. But that is not to mean that that’s the only place they are limited to.

You can take inspiration from an open shelves design and use it in almost every other kitchen design you wish to experiment with. And in this piece, we’ll show you a couple that are surely going to make your kitchen stand out from the rest.

1. Minimalist Shelves


Minimalism has been a trending kitchen design topic, especially for the modern kitchen. And as far as open shelves are concerned, the minimalist open shelves is one design you should try.

Minimalist open shelves are based on using little clutter to create a unique open shelves design. Instead of numerous plates, cups, silverware, or anything else that looks busy and squeezed, the minimalist open shelves design uses neatly arranged cups, spoons, and cutlery to create a chic layout for the kitchen.

The rest of the kitchenware can be stored in closed shelving at the bottom. For those shelves, you can experiment with recessed pulls that will further amplify the minimalism effect you’re going for in the kitchen.


2. Rustic Shelves


If you’re going for a country-style kitchen, or you want to tone down the bold colors you’ve predominantly used in your kitchen design, then you should go for rustic open shelves.

These shelves add a nice rustic touch to a modern kitchen or traditional country kitchen.

For instance, if you’re working with a striking contrast of gold, black, and navy, you can have a patterned backsplash with the rustic open shelves installed at the top.

The great thing about this design is that despite toning down the bold contrasts, it still doesn’t distract the view from the original design. Rather, it makes it more unified.


3. Half Shelves


If you’re limited in space, then you can try half shelves as a neat open shelving design option. Half shelves work well in a small kitchen with limited space. You can have the shelves installed next to the stove or kitchen hood, where you can store supplies you use while cooking daily.

Does that mean this is a no-no for larger kitchens?

Not really. Half shelves are also meant for homeowners who are not yet ready to commit to an open shelf design. Thus, you can choose one section of the wall where you can install a few rows of half units, before fully committing to having everything out in the open.


4. Glass and Gold Open Shelves


If you want something unique that blends in with the rest of the kitchen hardware at the same time, then you should try out glass and gold open shelves.

Glass and gold open shelves simply feature a glass shelving supported by gold brackets. However, these shelves don’t just stand alone.

For most of the kitchen, the hardware should carry the same gold tone used in the shelves’ brackets. This can either be the cabinet pulls, hinges, or stove handles.

Overall, this design shines best in a traditional kitchen mixed with subtle contemporary touches. For instance, the stove can be antique, with the glassware and cutlery placed on the shelves also being antique.

Pops of color or contrasting colors can then add a unique contemporary touch to the kitchen, which will blend well with the glass shelves.


5. Wood Cubbies


The basic design for most open shelves is a flat board at the bottom supported by wooden or metallic brackets. But why not try something different?

That’s where wood cubbies come in.

Wood cubbies are simply cubed shelves with no doors attached. Thus, they inherently carry the basic box design of closed shelves, albeit with no doors.

These cubbies look amazing in an all-white kitchen with modern, flush cabinetry at the top and bottom.

Wait, you can use closed shelves at the top too?

Yes. Wood cubbies serve as extra storage in most cases, which you can put on top of your current top shelving. Thus, they make for


6. Wood Shelves with Rails


If cubbies don’t look that unique to you, then open shelves with rails might probably do the trick. These open shelves carry the basic design of common open shelves, albeit with added metallic or wooden rails.

Plus, instead of glaring brackets, most wood shelves with rails feature a floating design, which makes them look chic. They’re also characterized by clean lines and extreme minimalism that makes them a perfect choice for a minimalist, modern kitchen.

This design of open shelves is usually used to store glassware and cups. Thus, you’ll commonly find them installed next to kitchen sinks, with a matching color tone being used for the backsplash and the kitchen walls.


7. Light Wooden Panels


If you’re working with very limited space in a one-wall small kitchen layout, then you should try light wooden panels as an open shelves design option. Unlike regular open shelves, light wooden panels use the wall on both sides of the kitchen to create space for open shelves.

The shelves are creatively installed in an alternating pattern that adds a chic look to the entire setup. Also, the floating shelves are installed in various lengths to provide visual cues of what you can store on each panel of the shelves.

You can support this design by including a column of closed shelves on both sides of the open shelf panels. This cabinetry can have flush pulls to fully blend in with the minimalist design the light wooden panels promote.


8. Farmhouse Charm


If you’re going for the full farmhouse kitchen experience, then this open shelving design should be your go-to choice. The farmhouse charm lets you not only add a chic charm to your farmhouse kitchen but also display the best of vintage kitchenware and appliances you have.

These open shelves are used to combine function and flair to create a stunning look. By being open, these shelves create extra room for storage and display to enhance the décor.

For instance, you can have a striking white and wood-tone kitchen design, with pure white open shelves supported by white wooden brackets. The open space then allows you to fit the best of kitchenware and appliances you have, alongside artwork that will add a bit of décor to the entire layout.


9. Live-Edge Shelves


When going for a rustic touch in most open shelf designs, most homeowners opt for reclaimed or stained wood. But what if you could take this a notch higher and get an even more authentic rustic feel for your kitchen?

That’s where live-edge shelves come in.

Instead of using stained or reclaimed wood, live-edge shelves use slabs of wood with the bark still visible. This creates an authentic rustic feel that can blend in nicely with an authentic farmhouse kitchen, for instance.

The only downside with this design is that live-edge shelves tend to cost more compared to reclaimed or stained wood. However, the investment is worth the final look and authenticity these open shelves add to your kitchen.


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