In Design/ Favorites/ Kitchen Series

For the Love of Open Shelves

Open shelves are not a new concept. They’ve been around in kitchen design for years, but I think it’s safe to say that Joanna Gaines popularized this design feature again and launched it to a whole new level.  

Fixer Upper

When designing our kitchen, I knew I wanted to include open shelves somewhere in my design, but I didn’t want them to completely replace my upper cabinets. I ended up included one shelf under a wall cabinet. You can check out our full reveal here.

There are several reasons why I’m a lover of open shelves.
They can:

  1. Open up a cramped or small space.
  2. Showcase your best or most unique serving ware/décor.
  3. Keep your most used dishes in clear sight.
  4. Motivate you to keep your dishes organized.
  5. Break up a wall full of cabinets for visual relief.

My original plan for my single open shelf was for it to be floating. Of all of my favorite open shelves below, the ones that are visually floating without brackets are my favorites. I’m embarrassed to tell you how much time I wasted trying to create a floating shelf. I bought materials, followed tutorials, and after spending many hours on two different floating shelves, it was a big, fat failure. Personally, it was one of the most frustrating projects in the kitchen.

My expectations were too high. I wanted the shelf to be 14”-15” wide and roughly 34” long so that it would blend in with the surrounding cabinet dimensions. The size of my dream shelf was just too large to hang on a wall without sagging. We ended up using metal brackets that a friend made for us, but it is still not sturdy. We cannot place anything heavy on it, nor can we sit anything in the middle or front of the shelf due to its sagging.

Two things I would do differently:

1.      Adjust the size of my shelf so that it would be more sturdy and usable.

2.      Take away the current cabinet above our shelf and leave that wall available for at least 2 shelves.

In lieu of my mistakes, I still love how our shelf breaks up the monotony of cabinets and visually opens up our kitchen.

For your inspiration, here are some open shelves done right.


Our Vintage Home Love

This has got to be one of the most pinned kitchen images of 2016. I see it just about every time I scroll through Pinterest, but it’s obvious why it’s so popular. The rustic charm creates a warm environment in this space that so many of us want for the heart of our home.

Danielle Oakey Interiors

This is an example of how open shelving can break up a wall full of cabinets and also organize your daily dishes in an easily accessible place. The natural wood is a favorite of mine as well.

Jones Design Company

Emily of Jones Design Company magically completed a mini-makeover in, what seems to be, overnight. I’m a firm believer that she does an open shelf better than anyone around.

Styled by Emily Henderson

This a gorgeous use of gold brackets, which would be great if you’re wanting to use white shelves.

Maison Depax

Amber Interior Design

I went back to this image so many times while designing my kitchen. I wanted the exact stain of the wood and also no brackets. I’m not sure how she did it, but I’m in love.

My Domaine

Studio McGee

Studio McGee is a master of kitchen design and styling open shelves. She has an excellent video on how to style open shelves that you should definitely check out.


Maybe one day we’ll “snazz-up” our open shelf to be exactly how I had in mind, but for now I will be thankful with what I have and gawk over the beautiful images above.

Have you implemented open shelves in your kitchen? If so, upload your picture to Instagram with the hashtag #dahlialovesopenshelves.

You Might Also Like

Scroll Up