11 Creative Ways to Integrate Open Shelving in your Kitchen Design

11 Creative Ways to Integrate Open Shelving in your Kitchen Design

Jul 18, 2023

Whether your kitchen is small or spacious, open shelving offers a fresh and modern approach to storage, which combines aesthetics and functionality. 

Open shelving can make even the smallest kitchens appear more spacious and inviting and by displaying your beautiful glassware, ceramics or unusual finds, you can add a personal touch to the space and create a visual focal point.  To give you some inspiration for your kitchen, here are 11 ideas for open shelving.

Use a window to add wow factor

If your kitchen has a long, rectangular window, use it to create a natural backdrop behind your shelving.  Katie of @therowe has framed her window with two shelves then added a curated collection of crockery and ceramics along with some hanging plants to complement the greenery outside. Our Armstrong bridge mixer in pewter is the perfect partner, enhancing the modernist industrial look.

Keep it simple with a single shelf 

If you favour the pared back minimalist look, stick to a single open shelf but make it stand out by using reclaimed wood and adding a couple of brass brackets underneath. You can make open kitchen shelves look stunning by being careful with what you choose to display on them. In this French home, @deb_c_vineyardsandfigs kitchen is tranquil and calming with its selection of earthy accessories on display, teamed with the deVOL aged brass Ionian mixer, which we make.

Ask your kitchen designer to include open shelving

When you’re planning a new kitchen, ask your supplier to build open shelves to fill in the gap between wall cupboards either side of the sink. This is a great use of space, especially if the sink doesn’t sit in front of a window, and you can arrange them in an attractive display to bring extra joy to the room. Keep everyday items on the bottom shelf for easy access and group similar colours together for aesthetic appeal. Stack plates and glasses for a casual look and display favourite cards or postcards for a personal touch. This kitchen by @klarabromley_stylist includes our aged brass Ionian mixer, which looks stunning against the white marble splashback.  Photographer: Miss Sammie Designs.

Fit open shelves into alcoves

Never waste an inch of space by using alcoves either side of the chimney breast for your open shelving. They may not be very wide but it doesn’t matter. The key in this instance is not to over-clutter them but choose a curated selection of items to display instead. In this room, Liz of @rees_renovation_of_no.43 has a mostly monochrome décor with our classic Phoenician mixer in chrome taking centre stage on the island.

Stick to a single colour

You can increase the illusion of space in a small kitchen by painting your shelving in the same shade as the wall. Open shelving makes a room look bigger and by choosing the same palette for walls and shelves, the shelves blend in, enhancing a light and airy feel. Here, Lindsay of @homeofwhimsy has a curated collection of keepsakes on her open shelf, which sits above our Ionian mixer in aged brass for a metallic colour contrast.

Update them to keep it fresh

Make sure your open shelves don’t look dated by swapping around the display every so often. Add a new framed print in an on-trend typographic style, a potted plant or succulent, a metallic tray or handmade ceramics and it will always appear fresh. You don’t need to keep buying new things either; simply swap bits and pieces from elsewhere in the home or just move existing items into a different position and it will instantly draw the eye. Interior stylist Becks of @the_interior_lens has given this alcove shelving an eye-catching look, with our aged brass Armstrong mixer below.

Keep open shelving tidy

One of disadvantages of open shelves is that it’s not for anyone who prefers a bit of chaos. To keep open shelves neat and tidy, choose items in a similar colour or material for a cohesive look. Stick to the rule of three as well for multiple objects and don’t overfill the shelves. In this @daulby_and_tickle bespoke kitchen, the curated look is perfectly complemented by our Armstrong mixer with a pull down rinse in pewter.

Add wallpaper behind the shelves for added interest

Make your open shelving a feature in itself by applying a striking statement wallpaper behind. Either go for a complementary tone to the rest of the décor or something contrasting for instant impact. In Sandra of @the_idle_hands kitchen, Sibylla wallpaper by Living Quarters looks gorgeous with the marble splashback and our aged brass Ionian mixer with side rinse and Parthian mini instant hot tap below.

Give them a good clean

It’s all too easy to overlook open shelving when it comes to cleaning but to avoid them getting greasy, give them a good clean regularly. Take everything off them and wipe down with a damp soapy cloth then dry afterwards before placing items back on. This is especially important if your shelves are near the cooker or hob and, to keep your kitchen free from condensation and greasy build-up, make sure you have a good extractor or cooker hood fitted. This scheme is from @fayes_home_edit, which includes our pewter Phoenician mixer and rinse with Traditional soap dispenser.

Match with the worktop or splashback

For a coordinated and cohesive look, have your open or floating shelf made in the same material as your worksurface or splashback. This coach house project by interior designer Sean Symington features Carrara marble surfaces and our Mayan taps in chrome. Photographer: Chris Wakefield.

Embrace utility chic

Utility and laundry rooms are great for open shelving, as you can keep your detergent, pegs and so on in open or closed boxes or containers on shelves, out of children’s reach. In this design by Claire Orders Interiors, the Neptune cabinetry is teamed with our Phoenician mixer in chrome and a butler sink, perfect for cleaning muddy boots, pre-soaking clothes before washing or arranging flowers.