HOW TO STYLE OPEN KITCHEN SHELVES
Last year, my husband and I took on a DIY project (which we always love to tackle, especially him!), and built counter-to-ceiling open kitchen shelving. It was a budget savvy, one weekend project, that brought this corner of our kitchen from pretty, to pretty awesome. I usually keep the styling more or less the same on these shelves, only swapping out a few items in different seasons. Today, I’ll be showing you how to style open kitchen shelves 3 different ways, from an all neutral and clean look, to a collected and curated look. I’ve reused some of the staples that I love within each look, so you’ll see how I’ve incorporated different items in different ways – similar to my foyer console table post, and the four looks I styled for that space – you can read all about it here.Above is a shot from my blog post about the shelves when we first built them (read it here), where I kept the styling somewhat minimal and neutral, for a crisp and clean look for the Summer. I still keep many of these items displayed, like my cute little gourmet sparkling lemonade bottles.For the Christmas season, I chose to display seasonal decor on one shelf only, to keep it from feeling too kitschy or cluttered.
In my recent Spring Home Tour, I chose to add a few touches of blue and white to bring in the freshness of the season, as well as layering a few pieces on the counters to play off of the shelves. You can visit my Spring tour here.
Let’s have a look at the three ways I’ve styled our shelves – BLUE AND WHITE, ALL NEUTRAL AND COLLECTED & LAYERED.
Building off of my blue and whites from Spring, I decided to introduce mostly this palette in this set up, not just accents. You’d think with my love for this classic combination I would have it displayed here year round, but I’ve only ever used naturals until recently, because I thought it may be too much, and make the kitchen feel busy. I love it clean and neutral on these shelves, but I have to say, I’m loving the results of this setup and it’s not overpowering one bit. I wanted the to have a few other pieces mixed in as well, and as I mentioned earlier, I kept a few items from my previous display – like the silver tray at the top as well as the glass canisters.
Since my apothecary canisters on the bottom need to stay over here, I chose to keep them in their existing spot on the counter top. I love to mix my ikat prints with chinoiserie prints of dishes and bowls…I think they’re very interesting together. I created a similar mix with these same items in my Spring dining room post (read it here).I really love how crisp and refreshing it feels in this corner, and I love the juxtaposition of classic and contemporary. Everyday bowls, flatware and dishware are all handy in a pinch.
I love the yellow of the lemons and how they work with the gold flatware to bring a punch of warmth and brightness to this corner.I was unsure at first about displaying only the smaller blue plates on one shelf – I was concerned they’d look too small, however when grouped together, they almost create one large visual piece, giving them stature and visual weight, bringing your eye straight there.
GET THE LOOK :
Keeping some staples in this setup, as well as my canisters, I’ve also introduced a couple of large scale platters I typically keep stored away. I wanted this look to have a vintage feel, but still clean – which is why I kept the palette all neutral – focusing on texture and feminine shapes.I always use my cake stands in displays because they are the perfect item for adding height, as well as bringing importance to something beautiful – not just beautiful cakes! Everything always looks better when presented on a raised platform of some kind – cake stands are essentials for this reason!Because the top shelf is quite high (our ceilings in here are 9 feet), it needs larger scale items so they’re visible and make a statement as well. I chose to use a large white platter with a scroll detail along with my glass pieces to fill in the space, but not compete with it. I wanted the platter to remain the main focus on that shelf, so I kept the rest simple by using only glass.Here’s a detailed look at the curved pieces with have scalloped detailing and vintage inspired lines. Similar to the small blue dishes, these items have a greater impact together, rather than apart.My ‘vintage label’ tea towels, marble rolling pin and footed bowls by the sink, all help to reinforce the vintage look.
GET THE LOOK :
For the final look, I wanted it to create a curated and artisanal feeling – gourmet drink bottles, layered cookbooks and the wooden cutting board, are a few things that help build on this idea.If you’re not sure where to start with something like this, start from the bottom or the top, and work your way from there.
I started by breaking up my apothecary canisters – I knew I wanted to inject color throughout the shelves, and this was the best place to begin. I then grabbed some cookbooks to use as risers to display items (the same way I use the cake stands to display items) as well as add some color. The wooden cutting board was an important item for this look, so I wanted it centered and accessible. Blue and white is always part of my styling in some way, and the important thing to remember when creating a look like this, is visual balance. Staggering items visually and spreading them helps to balance the look so it’s not to heavy looking in one area. I did this with the blue and whites, cookbooks, cutting board and pewter urn (on the top shelf).My clear canisters help to fill in space without overwhelming, once again – remember, I’ve used them in each display today as a key item. The cake stands in this look serve the same purpose – white and glass – which helps to fill space, and are also beautiful for display on their own. Notice how they’re all balanced throughout the display.
I also added produce not just for beautiful color, but because I love to see it and have it at the ready – I snack on tomatoes a lot! Shelving like this can truly be both functional and beautiful. Mostly everything here is used regularly in our kitchen, and the shelves are also accented by beautiful pieces as well.
GET THE LOOK :
The most important thing to remember is to have fun when you’re creating and styling. Try things, see if you like them, move them around and try again if you don’t like it. I like to snap pictures as I go – you see your work form a different perspective in photos, and it helps you to see things you may not see when you’re standing in front of it.
This is what the kitchen looks like now, with the last display, and I’m loving the change in that corner! Tell me what you think and which look is your favorite, I always love to hear from you! Now go and style your shelves, and have fun :) xo
*Affiliate links are used as sources for some of my favorite items. These are either the same as the items featured in this post, or are similar options for your shopping convenience.
Thank you so much Nancy! I’m so happy you liked my post, thank you! SO glad you stopped in to say hi – thanks for taking the time to read! xo
Lisa you are so sweet, that means a lot to me – especially coming from a fellow designer!! Details are the most important and I know how detail oriented you are!! Thank you my friend!! xo
Mysha thank you so much!! I know you appreciate a good DIY built-in!!! xo
Tamara I love all the different ways you styled your shelves. Such a great post. Love this addition so much
I just love the blue plates and with the combination of the ikat bowls, it’s such a beautiful mix and looks modern. You have such a knack at taking traditional items and giving them a timeless and yet fresh appeal…I think that’s not as easy as you make it all look! lol. Your kitchen is so pretty, Tamara!
Thanks Terry!! The shelving is a big plus and they’re so fun to style :) Love you! xoxo
Thank you Angela!! I’m so happy you like what you see :) I always appreciate the positive feedback! Thanks for reading today!!
Thank you Sydney!! Btw that’s our daughter’s name too :) I truly appreciate your kind words, it means a lot to me! And yes, having a hubby that can build things really helps – even though it’s not his favorite thing to do! Thanks for stopping by today! xo
Joss thank you so so much! What a wonderful compliment – I am so happy that you found this so inspiring and helpful! And I’m even more glad you’re finding ideas! Thank you for reading! xo
Your kitchen is beautiful! Thank you for sharing the different displays. It is really helpful to see how you arrange different items/colors….very motivating! All the various photos, showing the different angles, really give you insight as to the size and understanding of your displays. You are very inspirational! You have given me several new ideas! Thanks for sharing.
Amazing! You are so good at making the same space new again, love your work. You are so talented and lucky to have a husband who is so handy.
Once again you have amazed me.
Keep it up I need more! :)
The kitchen was gorgeous before.. and the shelving brings it up a notch or two. Along with all the other details. Which to me makes a house even more special.
Looks clean fresh and classy ..
Like you xo
Trace I love you!! Thank you that means SO much to me!! I’m so happy you feel that way! xoxo
Organizing pretty shelving and displaying items have always been “not my best” thing, but I always love to come here and review past and recent posts on your tips. This one is a big help as well. I love the kitchen wall shelves and display tips and all of the others in your house. I’ve learned so much from you tam!! Xoxox
Hi Nancy! Thank you so much for stopping by to say hello – I really appreciate your time and kind words! I’m glad you found some inspiration!
Love your kitchen. Thanks for all the different ways to style a shelf.Your kitchen is fresh, clean lines and the shelving adds charm!