Architectural Home Designs & Decorating Ideas

Make Your Small Kitchen Stylish and Functional with Open Shelves

4 minute read

If you’re working with a petite kitchen, open shelves can make the space feel more expansive and airy. Strategically incorporating open shelving creates the illusion of more room while also adding style and providing easy access to your most used items.

With some clever planning and design, open shelves allow you to maximize your small kitchen’s storage capacity and aesthetic appeal.

Choosing Shelves to Complement Your Space

The first step is selecting the right open shelves for your kitchen layout and dimensions. Take precise measurements of the wall space to determine what shelf sizes make sense. Standard widths for open shelves are commonly 12, 15, 18 or 24 inches deep. Custom sizing is also an option if you have more unique spatial constraints.

open shelves in small kitchen

Consider the general aesthetic you want the shelves to bring. The materials you choose make a difference. Wood shelves in finishes like white oak or walnut exude traditional warmth. Stainless steel provides an edgy, modern vibe. Glass shelves maintain the lightweight visual appeal.

Mounting Options

Wall mounted shelves provide a floating look but require securely anchoring into studs. For more flexibility, shelf brackets allow you to customize placements and work around outlets or plumbing.

The position of your open shelves impacts both functionality and visibility. Place them above work zones like counters or appliances for efficient cooking access. Mount shelves at eye level to prominently display attractive dishware rather than relegating it to high cabinet darkness.

Creative Shelf Shapes

Standard rectangular open shelves keep things straightforward. But also consider rounded edges or asymmetrical shelves for contemporary flair. Or combine complementary shapes like square brackets holding rounded edged shelves.

L-shaped corner shelves maximize every inch. Floating waterfall shelves incorporate modern cascading levels. Get creative with eclectic shelving configurations to accentuate your small kitchen’s unique footprint.

Organizing Your Shelf Contents

Open shelves showing off a jumbled assortment of mismatched items can create visual clutter instead of order. Thoughtful organization is essential.

Grouping Items Logically

Categorize shelves by usage or type of items. Reserve one shelf for coffee station supplies, like mugs, a French press and coffee beans. Cluster all glassware together for easy access when setting places at the table.

Alternatively, keep daily use dishes and glassware separate from special occasion items that see less rotation. This highlights your nicest tableware proudly on display.

Neat Storage Solutions

Utilize vertical space efficiently with risers and tiered shelving to neatly stack items. Turntables also conserve room while providing easy access. Labeling shelves or bins makes locating items quick. Bins and baskets corral loose items like spices or cooking utensils.

Placing frequently used items at eye level eliminates digging frustration. Save higher shelves for large platters or appliances hauled out less regularly.

Incorporating Decor

Work decor into the shelving mix by alternating books, plants and other accents between practical kitchenware. The visibility makes open shelves a great place to exhibit your cherished cookbook collection.

Repetition creates monotony, so vary object placement for visual interest. Incorporate pops of brightness with colorful dishware like red Dutch ovens or yellow mixing bowls.

Styling Your Shelves

With your organizational system in place, add styling touches to showcase your shelves.

Dramatic Lighting Effects

Install puck lights underneath shelves to create a warm, inviting glow illuminating contents. Accent lighting mounted above the shelves spotlights favorite decor pieces or appliances.

Dimmable fixtures allow adjusting the mood. Wall sconces frame shelves to augment styling.

Playing With Materials and Textures

Introduce eye-catching combinations like a mix of jars, stoneware baking dishes and sleek metal containers together on one shelf. Wood crates or rustic wicker baskets contrast nicely with stainless steel or glass.

Collectibles like stacks of patterned enamel cookware provide a retro vibe. The blend of colors and textures showcases your unique personal taste.

Benefits for Small Kitchens

When executed with care, open shelves provide both aesthetic and functional benefits ideal for small kitchen spaces.

Opening up the Space

The airy, minimalist quality of open shelves makes small kitchens feel more expansive. The transparency gives the illusion of more square footage.

Without imposing upper cabinetry, the room feels less crowded. Open shelves prevent that cramped, boxed-in environment.

Easy Accessibility

Often kitchen cabinets hide away commonly used tools and dishware. Open shelves put everyday items right within reach.

No more rummaging to find the right pan or plate. Everything remains conveniently visible and accessible.

Showcasing Style

Take a more personalized approach to your small kitchen’s style with open shelves. Display your collections proudly or pick accent colors that express your tastes.

Closed cabinets conceal your design choices. Opt for open shelves to exhibit your flair.

With proper planning and organization, open shelving allows you to maximize storage capacity and infuse style into a small kitchen’s footprint. The airiness provides a lighter aesthetic while keeping necessities readily accessible. Approach open shelves as an opportunity to customize your kitchen vision.