Timeless or Trendy? Open Shelving in Kitchens

July 12, 2011

Hey all, thanks so much for the amazing feedback on the faux bamboo chest earlier today!  Thanks to many of you, I picked a bold color at your suggestion, and it’s actually one I’ve worked with before, can you guess it?  Oooh, I’ll leave you in suspense but it’s looking really good so far, can’t wait to show you when the paint dries!

Did you catch Design Star last night?  I did, loved it!  Great designer contestants this season, I have my top four picked out.  I completely agree with Julia’s assessment, loved David and Tamika, giggled at Kellie’s “confetti” analogy, and oh my, who dressed Candice? 

With all this talk about what’s good, bad, and current in design, I remembered I did a post a while back asking your opinion, do you remember this article:  All White, Timeless or Trendy?  It got a lot of feedback, you all certainly have opinions to share, I loved it !!

I thought it fun to run a series of these throughout the summer and take polls so you can all weigh in with your opinion.  This week’s topic is open shelving in kitchens.  I tend to be old school when it comes to cabinetry, I love a lot of glass fronts and traditional upper cabinets with doors, but no doubt you’ve noticed how many designers have been using floating or open shelving in kitchens, restaurant style.  You can’t deny when decorated with pretty dishes and accessories, they look amazing, and they do seem to make kitchens feel bigger and brighter.

I wonder about practicality, and would love to hear your thoughts.  What happens when there’s a gap when using the dishes, cups or accessories?   I don’t live with open shelves in my kitchen (except for one small cookbook and display shelf, seen here) because I know myself, I am not this meticulous or organized.  How often do you need to clean them, and what’s the secret to maintaining the look?


open shelving via decor8

via Decor8


This version seems a bit more practical.  Here cookbooks, baskets, platters and pitchers help to fill the void, while the daily use items appear on only the bottom shelves.

open shelving white kitchen

via Pinterest

I die over this look and love that paneled backsplash, but petite little me would need a footstool all day long to reach those lovelies on the upper shelves.

cottage kitchen bhg via hoturq

Better Homes & Gardens


Leave it to Martha to make perfection look easy. 

martha open shelving

Martha Stewart


Love the pops of color and mixed arrangement here.

open shelving with corbels

via Pinterest


I find it difficult to concentrate while I’m staring at this backsplash.  What were we talking about?  Oh yes, open shelving.  Pretty!

alice lane backsplash open shelving

Alice Lane Home

Here’s a more narrow display of open shelving in stainless steel.  I really admire the dramatic contrast between the dark glossy backsplash (to the ceiling!) and white countertops.

stainless steel open shelving

Apartment Therapy


This is a favorite look of mine, white with wood countertops. Those plates and glasses though, do they serve the purpose of looking pretty or do they get used?  I must know.

bhg open shelving

Better Homes & Gardens

Gorgeous dark cabinetry and shelving here, styled with white plates and accessories, design by Jeff Lewis.

open shelving house beautiful

House Beautiful


A rustic wood version, loving the gray and yellow combo.

open shelving kitchen

Country Living


With all this inspiration, are you ready to vote?  These polls are not meant to discourage anyone from embracing their own style and taste.  I’m convinced the best homes are the ones filled with the homeowner’s personality, and originality is to be celebrated, so let’s keep it fun.

There are two polls and your vote is anonymous, instant results as the votes come in.

(If viewing in a reader, visit the page to place your vote)


Poll#1:  Open Shelving in Kitchens, is it timeless or trendy?

Poll #2:  What’s your preference?


Any other design trends you’d like to see in this ‘Timeless or Trendy’ series?  Sunburst mirrors?  Stenciled walls?  Decorating with pallets?   Let’s hear your suggestions!  Got something to say about open shelving in kitchens?  Spill it. 






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