Standard kitchen wall cabinets have solid doors, for the primary reason of hiding the contents inside. Some cabinets skirt convention and have opaque glass doors, permitting a fuzzy view of stored contents. Open shelves are in another category entirely: no doors, no smoked glass, no barriers whatsoever. And this openness is both the benefit and drawback of kitchen shelving.
Kitchen shelves are not intended for bags of flour, boxes of cookies, and all your other everyday food items, simply because they aren't so nice to look at. What you do find in great numbers are pretty things, things you want people to see. Flowers, fine china, even ordinary tableware, provided it's made up of well-coordinated sets. That's why, in most kitchens, open shelves are pure luxury. They're show-offs.
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A prime example of how only the best and most beautiful items are stored on open kitchen shelves.
This simple farmhouse kitchen's open shelves display plain white plates, mixing bowls, and a few canisters of sugar and flour. The shelf corbels—those triangular buttresses at the ends—both provide extra support and contribute to the country feeling in this space.Continue to 2 of 8 below.
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Even small kitchens can have open shelves—if you're okay with devoting space to openly showing off your pottery rather than more essential items.
Shelves can be an art-form. In this example, two standard brown cantilever shelves blend into a brown background but are set off with the brilliant display of daisies, earthenware, and little glass bottles.Continue to 3 of 8 below.
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Open Shelves in a Contemporary Kitchen
Kitchens that use a lot of wood are a needless luxury. In this world of plastic, melamine, laminate, solid surface, you don't need a single square inch of wood in your kitchen. This is what makes it so great.
These shelves provide tons of space for your nice things. If you want one wood item in your kitchen, try making that item the open shelves.Continue to 4 of 8 below.
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Unique Open Shelves
Shipping pallets are a trend in homes now, and here you find them built into the kitchen cabinets. Contrasting with this extremely rough, rustic look are open shelves that span the entire width of the kitchen.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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Natural Wood in a Simple Kitchen
Simple and simple. The kitchen is just your ordinary, workaday kitchen, nothing spectacular. It's even got the fridge magnets and dish drainer.
So, you can't exactly overload the kitchen with a massive, spectacular array of shelves, as in other kitchens. Just three tiers of natural wood cantilevered shelves for some everyday (but attractive) plates and glasses, and you're good to go.Continue to 6 of 8 below.
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Extensive Open Shelving
This is where open shelves slide from being "pure luxury" to "pure necessity." The corbel-supported shelves on the right side, along with the large open pantry on the left, comprise the majority of shelving in this vaulted-ceiling, light-filled kitchen.Continue to 7 of 8 below.
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Rustic, Historic-Like Kitchen
This room is not an authentically historic kitchen, but a clever replica. From the wood beams running across the ceiling to the oil lamp to the bare and battered kitchen table—this is true country rusticity.
Why are foodstuffs are not displayed in open shelves today? Partially, as already noted, you don't want to show off your cereal boxes. But also because back in the "olden days," cabinets with doors were used to keep out vermin. Doors were there for a very good and practical reason, not just for show.Continue to 8 of 8 below.
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Modern Rustic Kitchen
This is a modern kitchen with lots of old-time touches, such as the Edison bulbs, old stove, and a white-painted brick wall. And of course, the open shelves over the stove. Shelves over stoves tend to be more for looks than for any practical use because it's inconvenient and even dangerous to be reaching over flames to grab that container of basil. Better to put the pretty copper pitcher up there instead.