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Open Kitchen Shelf Ideas DIY

Open Kitchen Shelf Ideas DIY

Originally contributed by Marilyn Zelinsky-Syarto • last updated 1/14/2021

Who knew open shelves in the kitchen could be so fun to decorate? Even one shelf gives you the chance to show off your collections or fill in that awkward bare spot where there’s no cabinet; imagine what a bank of open shelving could do for your kitchen. Take a look at these stunning and inspirational kitchens. You can take these simple open kitchen shelf ideas and turn your space into a showcase.

Contrasting Wood Shelf

Open kitchen shelf ideas don’t always have to blend into the wall. This kitchen with white walls, cabinets, and light marble counters, brings contrast into the space with dark wood shelving that dominates the room. The pretty blue stoneware collection brings more attention to the shelves.

Coordinating Fresh Colors

White shelves, walls, and countertops create the perfect canvas for this kitchen. Aqua bowls, candles, and glasses effortlessly coordinate with the same color of cabinet paint. A few dots of green color add to this space’s fresh palette.

A Helping Hand

More proof that a small shelf can fit in anywhere there’s an open spot in a kitchen. The idea behind this low kitchen shelf is an extra surface to hold a small pile of dishes that are easy to grab for snacks. An open shelf system on the side holds the full set of dishes and glassware.

White And Wood

This contemporary kitchen found on Home Edit keeps its streamlined look with a stainless steel countertop and white cabinets. But above the immaculate surface is a beautiful and almost ethereal display of pure white dishware and wood bowls and boards, which becomes a refreshing delight for the senses.

Floating Shelf on Subway Tile

It’s possible to attach floating shelves to subway tile on kitchen walls. A pair of chunky rustic wood open shelves add contrast and warmth to a bare space between the window and door.

Old-World Charm

Old-world meets a modern kitchen for one of the most sophisticated kitchen shelf ideas. A marble backsplash topped by reclaimed wood open shelving that’s hanging off of a beadboard wall is the perfect pairing of elegance and rustic in this kitchen on Home Edit. Once again, the simplicity of open shelving comes to the rescue of unused wall space that begs for functionality.

Wall Of Shelves

The homeowner of this kitchen created a horizontal pattern of open shelving across an entire wall. Each pair of shelves alternates higher or lower on the wall to create a unique and eye-catching pattern without causing a busy background, thanks to the white-on-white shelving and wall.

Adding Sparkle In The Kitchen

A contemporary gray kitchen spotted on Home Edit gets the warmth of wood with open shelving that goes up to the ceiling. The translucency of the glassware never detracts from the modern feel of the space. In fact, the expanse of glassware helps the light bounce around the kitchen to make it sparkle.

Hanging And Sliding Shelf

Who said shelves have to be stationary? Grab a shelf system with components that move where you need them. Here, the rail system shelf has another simple single white shelf above it to hold glasses.

A Dainty Kitchen Display

This is one of the prettiest kitchen shelf ideas we’ve come across on Home Edit. It not only gives this kitchen extra storage, but also takes out of hiding the little gems of kitchenware you might be afraid to display in a busy space. Dainty teacups and one-of-a-kind fragile glassware come out into the open here, tucked away in open shelves installed in a protective and teeny alcove.

A Wall Of Reclaimed Wood

Two tones of reclaimed wood effortlessly go together in this kitchen on Home Edit. The wall of weathered wood complements the gray tones of the cabinetry. The golden tones of the reclaimed wood open shelving bring a welcoming contrast to the space.

A Place for Artwork

Exposed brass brackets holding ebony-toned wood add to the glamour of this open kitchen shelf idea on Home Edit. In addition, the shelves create the perfect place to display artwork in the kitchen. A bit of hook-and-loop tape or double-sided tape keeps the frames from sliding off the shelf.

A Vignette Shelf

Without a corner cabinet, the space of this kitchen on Young Love House looked forlorn and empty. But a single shelf transforms the wall with a charming and colorful vignette of plates and bowls topped with a hanging framed print. The homeowners even left plenty of space for adding another two or three shelves for additional storage.

Candy Store Display

Clear your countertop and open up space in your cabinets by putting beautiful glass spice and ingredient containers on designated open shelving. This kitchen on Home Edit takes on the look of a candy shop with its display of pastas, spices, flours, and sugars.

Tiny Pantry Shelves

Whether you have a tiny kitchen or pantry on the side, open shelving helps it function better. The shelves in this butler’s pantry can be replicated by taking off cabinet doors and hinges.

Styling For Holidays

Bring a festive note to your kitchen by treating it as you would a fireplace mantel. This kitchen found on Home Talk adds notes of holiday cheer, including wreaths and potted pine cones.

A Ladder Shelf For The Kitchen

Ladder shelving works everywhere in a home, even in the kitchen. If you’re not so keen about installing open shelves, this DIY solution is ideal if you have an empty wall that needs some functionality and décor. This open shelf unit is a cozy place for potted plants alongside handy spices and oils.

Simple Over-The-Sink Shelves

Many kitchens have fewer cabinets than expected. Fill in those empty spaces over the sink and to the side with shelves that help your kitchen function better. It’s a fraction of the price of adding cabinetry to do the same job.

Remembering Under The Shelf

The functionality of open kitchen shelf ideas wouldn’t be complete without taking advantage of the bottom of each shelf. Add puck lights, cup hooks, a place for wine bottles, and stemware for shelves that offer complete service.

A Bank of Shelves

The homeowner from the blog Twelve on Main intentionally tore out two upper cabinets and replaced them with stacked open shelves. She rearranged her everyday dinnerware and placed the pretty ones on the open shelves for quick access. Anything not-so-pretty still goes into other cabinets behind closed doors.

Filling Awkward Space

When you don’t have enough kitchen cabinets, add a shelf. This kitchen from h2o Bungalow uses every inch of the wall for storage. A single shelf is installed above the sink to hold glasses, putting the slice of empty space to good use.

Decorating By Season

Use your open kitchen shelving to signal the seasons. Here, the shelves on Tatertots & Jello are decorated for summer with white and shades of blue. But the shelves take on a whole new look during Halloween when orange and black décor becomes the backdrop.  

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