Jan 22, 2013

Design Dilemma: Styling Our Open Shelves

Hi Everyone!

Of all the changes we've made to the kitchen over the past year my absolute favorite thing hands down has got to be our decision to change a bank of cabinets into an open shelving concept.  I originally wanted to completely take the cabinets out and replace them with floating shelves, but unfortunately, the universe had other ideas.  And by universe I mean oddly placed ventilation which wouldn't allow us to easily install a chimney style vent hood without the need to bring in contractor. womp..womp...woooommmmp.  Nevertheless, we just tweaked the plan a bit and came up with an alternate design.

The thing Ive most enjoyed about having the open shelving is the convenience of easy accessibility.  As much as I've loved the ease of having the things I need right at my finger tips, it's been a bit of a challenge from an aesthetics/styling/visual design perspective.  Since the items housed in our cabinets would be used on a daily basis, I had to think about both function and visual impact.  Like any solution seeking DIY blogger would do, I took to Pinterest for some ideas.  Quick question...how did any of us ever survive without Pinterest...I'm just sayin!?

Here are a few of my top pics for beautifully styled kitchen shelving that are also functional:


Ok, so aside from the fact that all of these kitchens are just all around gorgeously perfect, (damn you Pinterest), I love that all of the shelving is styled in a way that is practical. As much as I adore seeing images in shelter magazines and online featuring homes with styled shelves that look good, some of them are just not designed for real life.  
The styling of our shelves has changed so many times in the past few months and knowing me it'll change again by next week.  I am after all, a serial rearranger.  Yes, it is a sickness, and I make no attempt to apologize for it.  That is all.
As of today, here's what they look like..
The left bank of cabinets is relegated to our everyday dinnerware and glassware.
The right bank of cabinets is designated for utilitarian cookware such as mixing bowls and serving dishes.   I added some pottery and cookbooks to the mix as well.  I figure if they are out and visible I will be more apt to actually use them more often.   I cook just about every night, but usually I just recycle a bunch of the same recipes. 

The jury is still out on how I feel about this particular arrangement.  Looking at it in the photo now it seems to me like the the left side is a little too regimented and orderly, while the right side seems a bit scattered?  I should probably balance out the right side by adding an element of color somehow.  What do you think?  Psst..go ahead and ignore the weird wall peeling happening along the backsplash there.  It was part of a little test I conducted to see how easily the Corian slab would come off the wall since we are close to getting ready to install our new backsplash.
By the way, for anyone wondering, living with the open shelves has proven to be really easy.   I don't have issues with dust or build up because my dishes literally get used pretty much everyday.  I know some people are a little weary of them because of that, but Ive honestly never had an issue with them.  If you are considering integrating some type of open shelving into your kitchen I would highly recommend it. 
My ultimate goal is to create a kitchen that looks good, but more importantly,  feels good to be in. I've got a bit more shuffling around to do, but I think I'm well on the way.  It's pretty hard trying to balance Naomi's clean, modern aesthetic and my gravitation toward all things eclectic.  Slow and steady wins the race, right? 
So, do any of you have open shelving in your kitchens?  How have you styled them?  What edits do you think I should make to mine?  I would love to hear your input.  Until next time.....
P.S. Im on Instagram now! You can find me @ahomefullofcolor, if you'd like. 


  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog today! I have some open shelving and it takes some work to get it right. I'm always arranging and rearranging! I think a little more color on the opposite side would help-even a small plant in a cute container or artwork propped up might help! Here are my shelves if you care to look, although they've changed since then!http://www.swooninteriors.com/2012/04/see-two-floating-shelves-in-our-not.html

    1. Hi Janna! Thanks so much for stopping by. Yes, I've been crushing on your kitchen for a while now. I think you're right about adding color to the left side. I like the idea of incorporating art into the mix..hey, maybe even some of my kids' art;). A plant could work wonders too. Thanks for your input.

  2. I love the open cabinet vs. just open shelves especially in your home because the while cabinets pop so pretty against your navy paint, feels like the perfect mix of modern eclectic. For our kitchen I'm thinking about glass cabinets, and one or two open cabinets for cookbooks and cake stands. I love floating shelves too, not sure if they'll happen :)

    I'm a sucker for white dishes, so I love how everything looks!

  3. I love white cabinets and open shelving! And I can't wait to see your back splash. How about getting some decorative items (that aren't useful, sorry) to mix in with the everyday items? I'm sure whatever you'll do it'll look great ;)

    1. Hi Julia! No need to be sorry, I think you're right. I actually did a bit more tweaking this morning and decided I should add something decorative to the mix.:) Maybe ill add a colorful ginger jar or vase or something. I'm also thinking of adding a small plant. I figure if I'm gonna be in the kitchen as much as I am, I may as well indulge in something that I just love to look at! It's all about balance, right. Beauty and Utility! Thanks for your input:)


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