Open Shelves in the Kitchen

Our kitchen renovation is still on stand-by until further notice due to The Great Slab Leak of 2016 and the broken foot that followed shortly thereafter but that won’t stop me from pinning inspiration and working out all of the details of our maybe-one-day kitchen in my head. Two friends of mine are hanging shelves in their kitchens and it prompted me to think about the different options when it comes to open shelves. We all know that replacing upper cabinets with open shelves is not a new concept by any stretch but that doesn’t mean kitchens worldwide are tiring of them. So although we’ve already talked about pretty shelves and dreamy kitchens, it doesn’t hurt to dive into the world of shelves in the kitchen.

white kitchen shelves

Sources: one | two | three

White Shelves. Open and airy is the name of the game when it comes to open shelves, and white shelves only add to that concept, especially when paired with white brackets. When installed on a white wall, they become a blank canvas to house eye candy for the kitchen. Swapping out white brackets for black ones add another layer of interest (plus these are only $7!). White shelves are an inexpensive solution to open shelves since there is no need for specialty lumber, as they will just be covered with paint. One concern I have with white shelves in the kitchen is the durability of the paint, I’d imagine that they would be prone to visible marks and nicks especially with daily use.

wood kitchen shelves

Sources: one | two | three | four

Wood Shelves. I love the warmth of wood shelves add to kitchens without being overly heavy. When installed in a kitchen with white cabinets and white counter tops they are a welcomed point of interest. Since I’m a fan of woodworking, my timber choices would be between hickory, oak, or teak. Some of my favorite kitchens sport thick wood shelves and although I love the look of floating shelves, I am intimidated by them. These special brackets would solve any difficult installation issues but the costs can quickly add up. Alternatively, utilizing this faux-floating shelf trick would help keep the kitchen budget in check. Although, aren’t these brackets are just so good? Another detail I’m swooning over is the addition of swing arm sconces over a stack of shelves, especially if they come in brass.

If I’m being honest, I’m slightly biased towards thick wood shelves but white shelves are a close runner up. What side are you on? White shelves or wood? With brackets or without? Or are you just shaking your head no to open shelves in general?


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  1. Thanks for curating all this great inspiration! I like how you broke it down into color and style groupings. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you, I’m happy you enjoyed it!

  2. Oh tough call! I love the floating wood! But the white is pretty too!

    1. It is such a tough call!

  3. Love this look! Just beautiful. Especially with attractive dishes.

    1. I agree, the dishes our the shining stars of open shelves.

  4. I like the “clean” look of white cabinets but sometimes it also resonates a coldness that I don’t like. So I prefer warm wood cabinets. Just my 2 cents. Thanks for your insights!

    1. That’s a good point. Thanks for your feedback.

  5. Yvonne says: Reply

    Floating and white for me. This has given me great inspiration thank you.

  6. Dorothy says: Reply

    Great post! My parents are really deep into home renovation and I think it will be useful to them

  7. Oh! it must be hard to stay motivated, but I love these choices you have here! Open shelves are amazing – I love the white shelving!

  8. I like the wood floating shelves. I wish I could do open shelves. I don’t have any pretty dishes though! Good luck with the rest of your renovation.

    1. I know how you feel, I may put very little up at first until I can get around to collection beautiful dishes. Thank you.

  9. Great post! Thanks for the ideas I love open shelves !

  10. I believe we pin the same type of inspiration. I also love the wood shelves and white walls, so fresh and open looking.

  11. Gorgeous! I love the wood shelves too… and those dreamy swing-arm sconces. I would almost do open shelving just to have an excuse to get those amazing sconces. 🙂

    1. Exactly! I’d totally do it for the sconces.

  12. Great breakdown and inclusion of photos for the options you’re considering! I think I’d go with white shelves with no brackets!

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