Tips for Stylishly Stocking that Open Kitchen Shelving

We all know that open shelving in the kitchen is a major trend right now. It’s a lovely blend of crisp-yet-comfortable style, and a great way to set your own kitchen and decorating personality apart from the masses. If you’ve made the switch to open shelves in your kitchen, or if you’re considering doing so, you might be wondering how to go about filling those shelves stylishly.

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Organize strategically…and beautifully.

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Consider your most often-used items, and keep them to the lower, easier to reach shelves. Plates, bowls, and cups/mugs typically fall into this category. You’ll be so much happier with your beautiful kitchen if the open shelves are organized pragmatically.

Add functional color.

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The kitchen is, above all, a functional space. But that doesn’t mean that style falls by the wayside. Devote a prominent open shelf to neatly organized cookbooks. The bindings will provide color, and the books will be within easy reach.

Choose a cheery accent color.

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White kitchens, including white dishware when such a kitchen has open shelving, look very crisp and clean in general. Adding a pop of color into the mix brings in a friendly factor, in addition to making the space look more interesting visually. Don’t overdo the accents, though.

Infuse natural warmth into your open shelves.

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Introducing wood, or some other warm and friendly natural material, into a stainless steel kitchen provides an excellent all-around balance. Keeping the shelves themselves wood is one option; but if your shelves are already white, you could consider some wooden bowls or baskets. Bonus: the baskets look natural while doubling as an ugly-dish disguise

Decorate shelves by one similar feature.

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This bohemian-chic kitchen is a perfect example of decorating each shelf by one color while still maintaining that ever-necessary functionality. You could use not only color, but also material (such as the various-sized wooden bowls here), style, era, or whatever obvious commonality your dishes share. Color seems to provide the most uniformity and, therefore, clean look.

Use artwork.

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Don’t miss an opportunity for showcasing artwork you love by leaning some frames on the shelves behind your dishes. This is a good way to vertically expand the shelves, too, especially when the dishes themselves are low (such as is often the case with cups and mugs).

Stack ‘em high, pile ‘em deep.

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If your dishes are fairly monochromatic, one way to add visual interest and depth to your open shelving (if that is one of your goals, that is) is to fill the shelves to brimming. Try to make each stack of dishes reach the bottom of the shelf above it, and scoot the stacks themselves close together. This creates an interesting vignette and is forgiving for a collection of oddly shaped pieces.

Prop plates for more color.

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Show off your great dishes, and add more color to the kitchen overall, by leaning a couple of your plates on their rims rather than stacking them all. Just be sure they’re secured enough so they don’t roll or slide down and knock off your other items!

Display what you love.

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This is really the bottom line for any decorating schematic – if you don’t love the items, no matter how stylish they look, you won’t be happy with the overall feel. Choose pieces you love, and your space will reflect who you are and make you happy.