How to :: Style Open Kitchen Shelves


When we moved into our new house I was super excited to have a few open kitchen shelves… until I started trying to style them and discovered, much like my recent post on styling a mantel, it’s no easy task! So naturally, I scoured the internet for inspiration images and these became my go-to to figure out how to achieve the perfect look. After studying and analyzing these images, I discovered a few key tips for how to style open kitchen shelves ::

Figure out the “look” you want :: do you like the colorful, collected look? an orderly monochromatic collection of china and glass? Do you want to display dishes only or a variety of objects and items? There are so many ways to go but it’s important to decide what look ultimately reflects your style and the vibe you want for your kitchen.

Create balance :: balance is super important - balancing heights, visual weight, and intensity/color. You can achieve balance in a variety of ways, for example lining up pieces of similar heights is an easy way to create horizontal balance. Or if you have a tall piece on one end, offset that diagonally with another piece that has visually height or weight. If you have a piece that is a dark or bold color, balance that out with surrounding white or neutrals and a secondary dark or bold pop elsewhere. Can you see how that’s being done in these inspiration images?

Add interest and variety :: even if you are going for the more orderly monochromatic look, using pieces of varying shapes, heights and textures will give it an intentional look and keep it from falling flat. For even more impact and interest, add a painting, sculpture, or plant. Be sure to pay attention to the textures and tones – throw in something wood, like a cutting board, to offset the china and glass. Add something metallic or textured for added pop. Don’t group all the large pieces together or the small pieces together – you want your eye to flow naturally from piece to piece, shelf to shelf.







When all else fails? Find a great inspiration image that you fall in love with and do what they did! Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all!


/ open kitchen shelf inspiration image sources :: onetwo | threefour | five | six | seveneight /

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