Spring has sprung, birds are singing and bright open kitchens are at the top of your client’s wish lists. And synonymous with open kitchens is the trend for open shelving. There are two opinions on this subject it seems, one being that “they’re amazing and beautiful” and the other being “who’s gonna clean that?” For the latter, the concern is dust collection and display etiquette, which has validity, and I’d suggest if the question is there, maybe it’s just not the right fit for the client. But for those who are interested yet uncertain, we’re going to do a little show and tell for the many ways open shelves on the wall can thrive in a design!
It’s easy to think “open shelving” and immediately picture contemporary, minimalist floating shelves, but there are so many more ways to use open shelves in your design, even in transitional and traditional styles. Take a look!
1. Corner Wall
2. Below wall cabinet
One or two shelves are placed where the bottom of a wall cabinet would typically fall. Wall cabinet height is reduced 9-12” for one shelf, more for two.
Design Tip! Medallion allows you to include an integrated matching bottom which is perfect when wall cabinets are located more than 18″ above the counters. (Shown in examples above and below)
3. Stacked Shelves
Option A: Connected
This type of arrangement is typically placed at the end of a run but works between cabinets/walls as well. We also commonly see this arrangement adjacent a window or cooking area. Shown below, we use two stacked shelves above a demi-height configuration of a pull-out pantry and built-in oven.
Using open shelving in this manner can fit a number of styles, from traditional to transitional to contemporary.
Open shelving in a stacked hutch style arrangement can break up repetitiveness on long runs of cabinetry.
Option B: Free floating
When most of us picture open shelving, floatingshelves are what usually come to mind: free-standing box-style shelves, free of brackets or other hanging systems. This is by far the most popular appearance, but as you can see from the pictures below, this can still take a number of different forms!
4. Above the sink (no window)
Add a little extra storage or display space and create a focal point at the same time!
This concept is so fun to work with for many design styles, but contemporary designs are particularly intriguing as you work to balance proportion and negative space within the composition.
6. In front of a window
7. Framing a hood
I’m a pretty big fan of this open shelving trend, and I personally think the sacrifice of a little dusting is well worth the reward of the many looks that can be created with these feature accent items. Of course, it’s always good to consider different ways to create unique design areas. And while this is not an all-inclusive list, I hope it inspires you to consider how open shelves can be used in a variety of designs and configurations. as well as with complementary materials, to make a statement that fits your client’s personal taste.