Open Shelving – Is It Right For You?

Open Shelving – Is It Right For You?

Deciding to commit to open shelving can feel a little bit like opening up your underwear drawer for everyone to see. A real risk if you know what I mean.

If you're not the most organized or have any hoarding tendencies whatsoever, open shelves have a way of forcing your hand. You can't just jam stuff in a cupboard and shut the door. No more "out of sight out of mind". There's also the argument that open shelves just give dust and grease a place to settle in and get comfy. This may definitely be true if your shelves are hosting stuff you don't use on a regular basis.

EVEN SO, we're big fans of the open shelving done right (and organized underwear drawers) for a lot of reasons. Adding open shelving in place of more traditional cabinetry can really open up your space and instantly make things feel bigger and brighter. You can count on easy access to your most used kitchen goods and say "bye Felicia" to clunky cabinets and slamming doors.

Let's get real, the Europeans have been doing open shelving right for YEARS. Give me a farm house kitchen in the French countryside any day, am I right? Or maybe a more modern vibe fits your style better, honestly, I'm down with it all. That's the beauty of open shelving. It can work with just about anyone's different style preferences.

Open shelving also makes it easy to address design challenges like high ceilings or even low ceilings, small rooms, weird layouts and awkward spaces. They're typically pretty budget friendly too, more so than custom cabinetry and built-ins anyway. You might run the risk of some visual clutter, but that's easily avoided. Consider this your invitation to replace your old, mismatched dishes in favor of a matching set.


Pro tip: you can always find affordable dishes on the cheap at IKEA that way you don't have to freak out if one breaks. 

You have to admit that it's easier to keep things organized when everything matches. Add in a few different accents here and there to keep things interesting if you want, but you definitely don't have to. I think with open shelving people feel a lot of pressure to create a pretty little vignette with some books and tchotchkes and whatnot. However, I don't necessarily think you have to style everything up all crazy like if that's not your jam. So if you're just buying a ceramic lotus flower at Home Goods to take up space, maybe reconsider...

If you're leery about dust or grease, just put the dishes you use most on your shelves and don't add open shelves on your lower cabinets so you can see what you're working with.

Maybe you're bold enough to forego cabinets all together in favor of shelving, but most people have a mix of both. If you've got a kitchen window, consider adding in open shelves next to it to really let the light in and open things up.

It's not like we're reinventing the design wheel here with this post, but we are honest lovers of a good open shelf. They just add an extra element of awesome, don't you think? So many different ways to do it and it will always feel right.


Honestly, the interwebs are flooded with every kind of open shelving inspiration you could ever hope for or sort through. Have you done open shelving in your home, or do you want to?  Any pros/cons to add? 

Lead Image: Amber Interiors | Image 1:The Novogratz | Image 2: Glitter Guide | Image 3: My Domaine | Image 4: Remodelista

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