To See or Not to See

We know you’ve seen them, and maybe even secretly want them somewhere in your home… Yes, open shelves are popping up everywhere. Whether you like Industrial, Farmhouse, Transitional, or Modern, you will find a variation available for every design style!

Open bookcases are nothing new. We are fairly accustomed to seeing displays in our living rooms and dens. Open shelves in a kitchen are an entirely different animal. How do we incorporate this feature without creating clutter? Here are a few ideas and tips for incorporating this most current home fashion trend into the heart of your home.

Pipe & Plank: Metal and wood are a favorite combination to create Industrial- or Farmhouse-style shelving. You may use lumber or natural slab wood to create your shelves. Black or galvanized pipe and flanges are readily available at your local hardware store. Most will cut and thread these pipes for you! Use: The rustic nature of this style lends itself to a more casual use. It is okay to have a mix-and-match appearance. Great choice for a pantry, craft, or laundry room, too!

Floating: Floating shelves are mounted to wall studs with a hidden support bracket or wooden ledger board. These are available through many cabinet manufacturers and are available in a wide array of stained or painted finishes as well as metals. Because they are hollow, you may consider installing low-voltage recessed puck lighting. Use: This style is often associated with a more pared-down Modern aesthetic. Simplicity is the key. They look best when there are fewer but matched items that are deliberately organized. Everyday dishes stacked next to the range for ease of plating, for instance.

Captured: Captured simply means the ends of the shelf tie into either a wall or a cabinet. You may use a floating shelf in this manner. Consider glass or stainless steel as an interesting mix of materials next to your wooden cabinets. Use: Glass is a great choice for indoor herb garden pots. Create a little coffee center within easy reach, with coffee cups lined up on the shelf above.

Of course, it is very easy to design open shelves in a kitchen if you are building a new home. It takes a little more thought to incorporate this feature into an existing home. We offer some helpful guidance.

Test Drive: Think about removing the doors from a cabinet in your kitchen to see if you like the idea of everyone seeing your “stuff.” Maybe this is the cabinet to show off cookbooks or your favorite colorful decorative mixing bowl. If you change your mind, simply reinstall the doors.

Take It to the Next Level: Remove the doors and insert a fun wallpaper behind your shelves on the back wall of your kitchen cabinets. Or perhaps paint the interior of your cabinetry a fun accent color.

Bold Move: Remove one of your cabinets and install shelves that bridge the adjacent cabinets. Generally, you will be able to fit two or three shelves on a 36” tall wall cabinet.

Tile Backsplash: It is fun and functional to carry the tile backsplash up between open shelves. It adds both texture and color and protects the drywall from becoming dented from dishes.

Simplify: Display only what is needed to accommodate each family member at a meal. Example: Four members = four plates, four bowls, four glasses, etc. It is not necessary to display the entire set on your open shelf. Keep the rest behind doors. This will visually maintain a sense of order.

Containment: Keep clutter under control with matching baskets on open shelves in a laundry room or open locker shelves in the mudroom.

No Wall Cabinets at All: You may have noticed this trend in modern kitchen design. While it appears to be an exciting option, remember that photos are styled and staged to create the impression of a lifestyle. Think carefully about how you and your family actually live in your home. A cool trend should not create chaos for you.

Finally: Remember that you may always consult an interior designer. Professional guidance will save you time and money and help you produce the most exciting result!