February 20, 2021
How many of you have beautiful open shelving in your kitchen but don’t know what to put on them? I can help! It’s actually pretty simple to style open shelves if you follow this structure and plan.
I change my open shelves out every season. At Christmas they host my Department 56 Snow Village. In the fall the shelves reflect the warmth and coziness of autumn. Now in spring I’m wanting clean, simple styling with only two colors so it feels modern and uncluttered.
What to put on open shelves
- items that are special to you
- cutting boards
- drinking glasses
- unique pieces (ie. gold watering can)
- faux antlers
It’s not so much WHAT you put on the shelves but HOW you arrange the pieces.
Sometimes we learn best by seeing how other people do it. Let me show you two examples of open shelving styled beautifully.
The first is from @thehillarystyle
And this lovely open shelf styling from The Identite Collective
There are some specific design guidelines to help get the look you see but don’t know how to achieve. Let’s go over them.
Design Guidelines for Open Shelving
- Decide on a color scheme – neutrals and muted tones work very well. In my example I chose black and wood as my two main elements.
- Vary shape and height, or repeat patterns – Whether you vary heights of objects, or repeat a pattern, keep it simple. Mix large objects with small ones, pair items in odd numbers (ie. 1 or 3 of something looks best over 2), and add contrast in color.
- Add greenery & texture – greenery is a secret element to any space. So is black. It grounds a space. Add a little black and a little greenery to your shelves and you’ll like them more. I promise.
- Leave room for the eye to rest – If there is too much clutter on your open shelves, it looks crowded and nothing will be noticed, even if you have beautiful items. Leave space – it will make the grouping feel calming and beautiful rather than chaotic. I purposefully left the bottom left corner visually free. The wood tray there finishes out the wood theme well, while providing a “mail drop” and visual white space.