8 Open Shelving Kitchen Ideas

Updated: Feb. 29, 2024

Find out how to add storage and style to your kitchen with these open shelving ideas from Instagram.

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Painted Open Shelving Courtesy @homeonthewirral Via Instagram
Courtesy @homeonthewirral/Instagram

Painted Open Shelving

This bright and airy kitchen from @homeonthewirral features open shelves painted gray to match the cabinets. Matching your shelves to your cabinetry creates a cohesive look, and helps elevate standard store-bought wood shelves to custom showpieces.

When using open shelves for everyday glasses and dishware, pop in a few decorative accessories like a vase or artwork to make the display more layered and interesting.

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Open Shelving Storage Courtesy @thetidyapartment Via Instagram
Courtesy @thetidyapartment/Instagram

Open Shelving Storage

Often, open shelves are more decorative than functional. But this open pantry by @thetidyapartment proves that open shelving can provide lots of useful storage.

Her small kitchen lacked cabinet space, so she built this “pantry” with shelving units from IKEA. Now packaged food, baking supplies and other kitchen essentials are always within reach. Well-placed baskets and tidy groupings ensure the shelves look great, too.

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Antique Open Shelving Courtesy @alodgeinlincolnshire Via Instagram
Courtesy @alodgeinlincolnshire/Instagram

Antique Open Shelving

Check local antique shops and thrift stores for distinctive open shelving ideas for your kitchen.

For her kitchen, @alodgeinlincolnshire installed this antique unit that holds items she uses almost daily. The piece brings old-world charm and character to her kitchen that standard shelving can’t. The mug hooks on the shelf edges are also fun and functional.

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Corner Open Shelving Courtesy @offwhitehome Via Instagram
Courtesy @offwhitehome/Instagram

Corner Open Shelving

Open shelving placed in the corner, like this example from @offwhitehome, is a great way to utilize an awkward area that often goes unused. We also love how the wood shelves (a DIY project by her husband!) don’t block the view of the gorgeous wall tile.

Unlike traditional cabinets, open shelves provide storage without covering up a dramatic paint color, pretty wallpaper or tile.

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Leaning Ladder Open Shelving Courtesy @chez Hanny Via Instagram
Courtesy @chez_hanny/Instagram

Leaning Ladder Open Shelving

Although wall-mounted kitchen shelves are great, consider a standing open shelving unit. The leaning ladder shelf unit in this kitchen by @chez_hanny adds plenty of storage space for cookbooks, and it looks great too.

An unexpected piece of furniture like this makes your kitchen unique. Snag your own modern ladder shelf here or make it yourself.

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Elegant Open Shelving Courtesy @lcinteriors Via Instagram
Courtesy @lcinteriors/Instagram

Elegant Open Shelving

For a more sophisticated look, consider an elegant shelving unit like this one from @lcinteriors. The glass shelves almost disappear, allowing the decorative accessories and dishware to take most of the focus. The sleek, modern gold framing provides an overall look that’s clean, not fussy.

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Mirrored Open Shelving

These open glass and brass shelves by @jackieleislerdesign are beautiful on their own, but the mirror takes them to the next level!  “One way to add drama; mount your shelving in front of [a mirror],” Leisler says. “It opens and brightens up the space! Instant magic!”

This would be a great trick in a small kitchen because the mirror makes the space feel bigger and reflects light around the room.

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Single Open Shelf Courtesy @hanwell House Via Instagram
Courtesy @hanwell_house/Instagram

Single Open Shelf

If storage space isn’t a concern, a single open kitchen shelf makes a cool, modern statement, as in this space by @hanwell_house. The thin yet solid wood shelf holds a few choice dishes and accessories, creating a photogenic, streamlined kitchen workspace. Keep in mind a kitchen shelf like this one should be installed about 18 to 24 inches above the counter.