Open Kitchen Shelf Ideas DIY

Open Kitchen Shelf Ideas DIY

Originally contributed by • last updated 6/2/2021

Beazy
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Unsplash

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.

01/21

Contrasting Wood Shelf

Dane Deaner
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Unsplash

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.

02/21

Coordinating Fresh Colors

White shelves, walls, and countertops create the perfect canvas for this kitchen from Dans le Lakehouse. 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.

03/21

DIY Kitchen Shelving Ideas

Becca Tapert

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.

04/21

Black And White And Wood

This black and white kitchen shared by @home_with_isabel keeps its streamlined look with a stark color palette. Against those contemporary shades, wooden shelves lined with more wood and natural fiber items are a refreshing delight for the senses.

05/21

Floating Shelf On Subway Tile

Becca Tapert
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Unsplash

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

06/21

Old-World Charm

Old-world meets a modern kitchen for one of the most sophisticated kitchen shelf ideas. A brick backsplash topped by reclaimed wood open shelving over a marble counter gives a perfect blend of elegance and rustic in this kitchen design by Amber Interiors. Once again, the simplicity of open shelving comes to the rescue of unused wall space that begs for functionality.

07/21

Wall Of Shelves

Beazy
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Unsplash

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.

08/21

Adding Sparkle In The Kitchen

This rustic and industrial pantry wall by Lovoni's Lark balances the warmth of wood with stark blacks and whites. The magic comes from subtle lighting installed along the back of each shelf. 

The mix of glass storage container makes the light bounce around the kitchen and makes it sparkle.

09/21

Hanging And Sliding Shelf

Good Soul Shop
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Unsplash

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.

10/21

A Dainty Kitchen Display

This is one of the prettiest kitchen shelf ideas we’ve come across on The Sweet Escape. 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.

11/21

A Wall Of Reclaimed Wood

Different tones of reclaimed wood effortlessly go together in this bar from @advancedesignstudio. The wall of weathered wood complements the blue-gray tones of the cabinetry. 

12/21

A Place for Artwork

Homedit

Exposed brass brackets holding ebony-toned wood add to the glamour of this open shelving kitchen 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.

13/21

A Vignette Shelf

Young House Love

Without a corner cabinet, the space of this kitchen on Young House Love 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.

14/21

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 display from @a_house_in_frome has all the spices lined up on rustic reclaimed metal shelves. The spices take on the look of a candy shop!

15/21

Tiny Pantry Shelves

Callum Hill
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Unsplash

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.

16/21

Styling For Holidays

Worthing Court Blog

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

A Ladder Shelf For The Kitchen

Beazy
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Unsplash

When considering kitchen shelving ideas, ladders usually don't come up. They feel more living room or bathroom-friendly, but that doesn't have to be the case.


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 decor. This open shelf unit is a cozy place for potted plants alongside handy spices and oils.

17/21

Simple Over-The-Sink Shelves

Andrea Davis
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Unsplash

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.

18/21

Remembering Under The Shelf

Photoholgic
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Unsplash

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.

19/21

A Bank of Shelves

Sara
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Twelve On Main

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.

20/21

Filling Awkward Space

H2OBungalow

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.

21/21

Decorating By Season

Tatertots and Jello

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 decor becomes the backdrop.