Open shelving is a great way to display beautiful and functional kitchen items, but can easily be overdone and an overwhelming task! Take my 8 tips below to style yours today.
1. Start with a Blank Slate
This may seem obvious, but is an important first step. Even if you have objects you absolutely love, you can hinder the entire styling by placing them too early and not thinking of the bigger picture.
2. Functional or Decorative, Both?
Depending on the amount of storage in your kitchen, you may need the shelves to hold strictly functional items. Typically, a healthy balance of functional and decorative items helps make your shelves come to life and feel like yours! So, go through your kitchen and pull items that 1. You use frequently and are perhaps an awkward size to store and 2. Are beautiful, personal items to display.
Some of my favorite kitchen shelf items include (many linked below):
- Appetizer bowls
- Cutting Boards
- Cake Stands
- Small Pieces of Art
- Plants (or Faux)
- Matchstick Holders
- Drink Stirrers
3. Group Items by Color
For any other shelf styling, I wouldn’t deem this necessary. However, it looks cleaner and organized if items are grouped by color and distributed a little more strategically in the kitchen. Organizing them before placing will give you a better sense of “too much” or “too little”.
4. Place Large Items First
Placing the larger items before others helps distribute and balance weight. Place larger bowls on one end, and a larger canister on the other end, for example. Anchoring the lower right corner of your countertop is a really helpful starting point as well.
5. Surround the Foundation
Now that your foundation is in place, you can easily identify gaps to place cutting boards, leaning utensils, cook books, vases, etc.
6. Layer in Glassware
These are great objects to stack for height or fill in leftover space. There are no rules, so feel free to mix them in with the above, however, I highly recommend them being last for ease of grabbing as you tend to put them up and down with more frequent use.
7. Step back, Height Check
How’s it lookin? At this point, take a step back and seem how much varied height you have. If your objects aren’t varied enough, utilize pedestals or cake stands to stack items. These layers also provide depth next to simple or solid large items. Plants are also a great way to not only add varied height, but width.
8. Feeling Stuck? Personalize.
If your shelves feel too vanilla (in color and style) try to incorporate personal items that bring you joy as you walk by the space. A special framed piece, a sentimental vase, a favorite gifted plate, a plant to tend to – for example. Just one of these can give you that a-ha moment!
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