Open shelving in the kitchen

By Michelle Kelly »Michelle Kelly

June 1st, 2010



I know, I’ve earlier promised that I’m not one for design trends. But here’s one I’m totally on board with. The internet is chock full at the moment of photos featuring open shelves in the kitchen.

I think the reason that I’m such a fan of this look is that I collect vintage glass wear—50s-era Fire King mainly—and loathe to hide it behind closed doors where it won’t be appreciated. But there’s a more practical reason for my preference as well: At my cottage, we take a very “mi casa, su casa” approach to hosting guests, preferring them to rummage around in the cupboards looking for what they need themselves rather than us doing it for them.  Open shelves make finding, say, a martini glass or a chip bowl so much easier. One more way to make the cottage a casual, easy-going place. Need more convincing? Check your wallet. Shelves are cheap to buy and install, unlike more traditional covered cupboards. I like Ikea’s Lack shelves for a clean look, but you could also have some fun using bracket-mounting systems, changing up the colours for a funkier feel.


Kitchen designed by Brooklyn Home Company, shot by Emily Gilbert (via remodelista)

Kitchen designed by Brooklyn Home Company, shot by Emily Gilbert (via remodelista)


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Jun. 3, 2010

9:05 pm

I'm not a huge fan of open shelving. Dust isn't an issue because I don't dust [ ;) ] but I'm kind of picky how things look on display. I would be constantly straightening and arranging things so they are symmetrical, centred, level, balanced, etc! Besides, I don't have any collections so all my mish-mash dishware would look messy I think. I do have a few of my things on shelves, which I like, but for my main dishware, it's behind doors for me.


Jun. 2, 2010

11:09 am

I considered taking my cupboard doors off but decided to leave them because I am too lazy to do a complete wash and dust every time I leave the cabin. I have closed door plus open shelves....and I love the open shelves....they look great and you can display treasures there. I look for containers and old tins in a similar colour palette and then store food in these on the open shelves. When closing I go to the dollar store and buy up some one dollar plastic tablecloths in the perfect colour and presto drapeo the shelves are good and protected all winter.


Jun. 1, 2010

3:57 pm

Good question, Helen. I suppose that if you're really concerned about dust, open shelves maybe aren't the best. But I'd just store glasses upside down and don't really mind taking time to wipe other items the first time I use them each weekend. Don't dishes gather dust in a closed cupboard at the cottage regardless?


Jun. 1, 2010

2:27 pm

I have been considering removing some kitchen cupboard doors but wouldn't dust become a problem especially sinceitems would not be used half the year?


Jun. 1, 2010

10:54 am

Thanks for tipping the balance in favour of open shelves for our kitchen at the cottage/home we're building! I too have been trying to avoid too many trends in our design but the open shelving idea is so appealing for our home/cottage, I've been having trouble staying away from it! In addition to the wallet and guest friendly appeal, showing off some of the fun ceramics and collections that tend to exists at everyone's cottage, I think it's a nice way to lighten up a space that can tend to be quite dark when a cottage is nestled in beautiful, tall, sun blocking trees. The only downside I'm worried about, dust!

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Michelle Kelly