10 Beautiful Open Kitchen Shelving Ideas

open shelving in kitchen

The Spruce / Kevin Norris

One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to update your kitchen is to nix some upper cabinets and replace them with shelves instead.

Whether you're budgeting for a full-scale remodel or you just want a small update, these kitchen shelving ideas will help steer you in the right direction. 

  • 01 of 10

    Incorporate Live-Edge Shelving for a Rustic Look

    Open kitchen shelves
    DIY in PDX

    Floating shelves in a farmhouse-style kitchen are often made from stained or reclaimed wood, which looks great in most spaces. But what if your style is a bit more on the edgy or eclectic side?

    Live-edge shelves are slabs of wood where some of the bark is still visible, which will add a more rustic charm to your kitchen. Though they will cost you more than basic wood shelving, the upgrade will become a worthy statement piece in your kitchen.

    Floating Live Edge Kitchen Shelves from DIY in PDX

    Continue to 2 of 10 below.
  • 02 of 10

    Alternate Open Shelving With Hanging Storage

    Open shelving in a kitchen

    @theclevergoose / Instagram

    In many instances, open shelving surrounds a range hood evenly on both sides so the entire look feels symmetrical and balanced. However, consider switching up your kitchen storage by instead opposing some open shelving with hanging storage. 

    Continue to 3 of 10 below.
  • 03 of 10

    Turn Shelving Into an Open Pantry

    Open shelving in the kitchen

    @imprint_house / Instagram

    If you have a spare wall in your kitchen but no pantry, this solution is ideal. Open shelving works best when it's only partially about design and more about function. This project will help you keep a more organized pantry, and the visibility will help you know exactly how much you have left of certain dry goods. 

    Continue to 4 of 10 below.
  • 04 of 10

    Save Money by Removing Cabinet Doors

    Open shelving in a kitchen
    Perfectly Imperfect

    The easiest way to update your kitchen without going through an entire remodel is to remove the doors from existing cabinets. To add more of a wow-factor, consider painting the interior of your cabinets a different color. 

    A Kitchen Update from Perfectly Imperfect

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    A Couple of Well-Placed Shelves Go a Long Way

    Open shelving in a kitchen

    @urbangraceinteriors / Instagram

    A lot of people assume when they incorporate open shelving into their kitchen, they have to add tons of shelves. This isn't the case. A couple of smaller shelves that take up the space of one cabinet will make a significant impact on the space. This idea works well for those who want the look of open shelving but less commitment in regards to cleaning and styling them. 

    Continue to 6 of 10 below.
  • 06 of 10

    Use Open Shelving to Create a Coffee Bar

    Open shelving kitchen ideas

    @thegrittyporch / Instagram

    If you wake up every morning in need of a cup of coffee, consider using open shelving to create a coffee bar in your kitchen. This project can be as simple as adding a couple of shelves above the coffee pot or as elaborate as the setup shown here. 

    Continue to 7 of 10 below.
  • 07 of 10

    Rethink What Open Shelving Should Look Like

    Open kitchen shelving
    Addison's Wonderland

    Remember, open shelving isn't limited to farmhouse style. There are numerous ways you can design shelves to fit in with your specific aesthetic. For a more modern look, consider gold and brass finishes in more geometric patterns. 

    Styling Open Kitchen Shelves from Addison's Wonderland

    Continue to 8 of 10 below.
  • 08 of 10

    Add Open Shelving Above the Sink

    White kitchen with open shelving above sink

    Reena Sotropa

    In most traditional kitchen layouts, there is a shorter cabinet placed above the sink. To create a more airy feel, remove that cabinet and opt for a couple of well-placed shelves instead. This area is an ideal storage space for dish soaps and anything you don't mind being exposed to moisture from the sink. Many houseplants will thrive in this location. 

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Make Open Shelving Work in a Corner Space

    Kitchen corner open shelving

    True Home

    It's easy enough to run open shelving along an entire wall and stop it at the end. Instead, consider creating a right angle and making use of the corner space, too. Since most corners are relatively hidden from view, use this space for microwaves and other less attractive kitchen appliances and gadgets. 

    Continue to 10 of 10 below.
  • 10 of 10

    Restyle Kitchen Shelving Often

    Kitchen shelf styling

    Cathie Hong

    Perhaps the most fun and challenging part about open shelving is the styling. Once you get the hang of how items group together, styling becomes easier and more enjoyable. A few tips to keep in mind:

    • Keep your color palette simple for a more streamlined look. 
    • Add in greenery using houseplants with differing textures.
    • Group items in clusters of three.
    • Make sure there is a variation of heights so your eye is drawn across the entire shelf.