How To Style Open Kitchen Shelving
8 simple, universal tips & tricks for styling open kitchen shelving that can be applied to any shelf, in any room, regardless of personal style.
I am beyond excited to finally be sharing our open kitchen shelving on the blog! This is one of my favorite parts of our recent kitchen renovation and DIY’s that we have completed to date. I’ve wanted open kitchen shelving for years, so to finally have this in our kitchen is a dream come true for my shelf loving heart!
While this part of the kitchen renovation was just recently finished, I have already styled our open kitchen shelving two times! You can view the first photos I shared of our new open kitchen shelving here, in our summer home tour.
This past weekend as I was playing around with the décor on our open kitchen shelf, I thought I would share with you a few tips that help me to create visually appealing open kitchen shelves and will hopefully help you!
The Basics of Styling Open Kitchen Shelving
- Combine old and new objects.
- Use items of varying heights.
- Add layers to create depth.
- Stick to a color palette.
- Add natural elements.
- Mix materials. Wood, glass, metal, linens are just a few examples.
8 Tips for Styling Open Kitchen Shelving
The best part about these tips is that they are universal. They should not be limited to the kitchen or to a specific design style. These tips can be applied to any open shelving, in any room, regardless of personal style.
1. Find Anchor Pieces
The easiest way for me to style a shelf is to start with the anchor pieces. Anchors are items that first catch your eye, they are usually the largest objects, and they help to create balance on the shelf. For these shelves, the anchor pieces I used were, a group of cookbooks and a silver trophy.
I placed the group of cookbooks in the center of our shelf. Adding the tallest cookbooks in the middle of the grouping with the smallest cookbooks on the outside.
When I add books to a shelf, I make sure that they are not lined in uniform. Some books are forward on the shelf while others are further back. I also have some books with the spines facing forward, and others with the spines facing backwards. This all helps to add texture and depth to the shelves.
The other anchor piece I added on the right side of the shelf was a large, vintage silver trophy. I turned slightly so that the handles would be visible from all angles. And, I made sure the trophy inscription was facing forward (it adds so much character to this vintage piece and the shelf)!
2. Keep to a Color Scheme
I love a neutral color palette. I am drawn to woods and whites with a small pop of color (depending on the season). Whatever your personal preference, stick to a color scheme to keep your shelves looking neat and cohesive.
3. Create Layers & Add Height
This tip is essential to creating a shelf that has depth and interest.
Create layers on shelves by having some items pushed towards the back and other items toward the front. I also like to lean objects against the wall, stacking pieces to created a layered look. This creates depth and keeps the shelves from looking flat, dull, and boring.
Add items of varying heights. This helps the eyes to move from piece to piece on the shelf, creating visual interest. If something isn’t tall enough, don’t worry! Add a stack of dishes or bowls beneath the item to make it appear taller.
Instead of just adding a group of pears to the shelf, I placed the pears on a stack of dishes to give them height. Not only do the stack of dishes add height but they also add layers.
4. Mix Materials on Open Kitchen Shelving
Mix a variety of cohesive materials on open kitchen shelving for visual interest.
Add materials that compliment one another on open kitchen shelving. Wood, glass, metal, linens are just a few examples.
5. Use Groups of Odd Numbers
It is scientifically proven that our eyes are drawn to groups of odd numbers!
I like to group similar items in 3’s, but any group of odd numbers will keep the shelf visually appealing.
6. Decorate With Natural Elements
Natural elements are super simple way to add texture and visual interest to open kitchen shelving.
On this shelf, I added fresh pears and fresh hydrangea stems (cut right from our yard). Two of my favorite natural elements to decorate with, especially in late summer.
You do not have to use fresh natural elements. Faux fruit and faux/dried floral stems are great options as well. They can be just as beautiful and will last much longer. Afloral is my favorite go-to online shop for faux florals.
7. Make Open Kitchen Shelving Cozy
Create cozy kitchen shelving by adding new and vintage pieces to the shelves as well as decorating with pieces that are special to your family.
On our kitchen shelf, I used a mixture of new and old cookbooks. I also added a page from one of my old Julia Child cookbooks to the new gold frame leaning against the wall.
For another layer of coziness, I used our wedding china dessert plates underneath the group of pears. Small, simple touches like this are what make a home feel extra special and cozy.
Candles add coziness too! Just make sure the flame of the candle it not too close to the ceiling or any other pieces on your shelves (my hubby is good at reminding me of this…insert eye roll). This country pear candle from Antique Candle Co. is one of my current favorites!
8. Step Back & Take a Break
There are so many times that I become frustrated styling a shelf and I have to remember to stop, step back, and take a break. Styling a space doesn’t always come easy. Sometimes it can take days of looking, moving, and tweaking a space to get it styled just right.
If you find this happening to you, remember to give yourself grace. If you feel frustrated, take a break or move on to something else. This will allow you to clear your mind and when you go back to the space you were styling, you will have a fresh outlook and new ideas!
Final Thoughts on Open Kitchen Shelving
Remember when styling open kitchen shelving that it’s your home you’re decorating, and you should style your shelves the way you like! These tips should only be used as a guide. And if these tips aren’t for you, that’s fine! Your home should always reflect you and what you love. Decorate your home with pieces that are meaningful to you to create your own unique version of a well-loved home.
For more tips & tricks on how to style open kitchen shelving, be sure to download my eBook, “How to Style Open Kitchen Shelving“. It’s free to ERH insiders! Not an insider, become one here to receive exclusive content & weekly newsletters.
Shop Our Open Kitchen Shelving
You can shop most items I have styled on our open kitchen shelving, here. The glass bon bon jars on the counter can be found, here. Shop my favorite candles, here.
Shop Our Home
Links to products featured in this post can be found in our Shop Our Home page. I hope this page makes shopping our home a little easier for you! I earn a small commission when you make a purchase from one of our LTK & Amazon Storefront links. Your support helps me continue to create meaningful content for you!
I look forward to sharing more of my home with you and inspiring you to have a well loved home! Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and LIKEtoKNOW.it.
Wow great tips!
Thank you so much Kim!
You’ve shared so many beautiful ideas for styling open shelving. I love the pears and hydrangea branches. Every detail is so pretty my friend.
Thank you Michele, I appreciate that!
Thank you Renae, happy spring!
Such a beautiful kitchen Heidi. And as always, your styling and photos are perfection!
So many great ideas. Your kitchen is so beautiful. Happy Spring!
Thank you Jen!!!
Thank you Anne!
Thank you Wendy! Yes removing the cabinet here was one of the best decisions we made!
I absolutely love this area of your kitchen, Heidi! I love the way that you style these open shelves and I pinned to my kitchen board to share 🙂
Beautiful!! I love all of these ideas, Heidi! Thanks so much for sharing on the roundup today!
Your shelving style is perfect Heidi. I am contemplating removing a cabinet in my kitchen and you are helping me make that choice. I look forward to sharing your home tomorrow.
Thank you Rachel, it is going to be such a fun round up!
I love these ideas and can’t wait to share this on Tuesday.
Thank you so much Lynn!
The shelve styling is perfect. Love everything about it. Thanks for posting it to the Fabulous Friday Link Party!
Thank you Stacey! I’ve wanted an open shelf in the kitchen for years, it’s so fun to have one now!
Thank you Betty, I can’t wait to see what you style!
These are wonderful tips! I would love to install a shelf like this in our kitchen. So pretty!
Thanks, Heidi, for these tips. Can’t wait to style something!!
Yes!!! These tips can be applied to just about any styling! Thank you for stopping by the blog!
That is very true! Thank you for stopping by the blog Jen!
Beautiful styling, Heidi!! I LOVE all of the tips that you shared here today. It’s basically like creating a vignette on a shelf and I think it’s just fabulous.
Your shelves are so pretty, Heidi and these are such helpful tips. I always sruggle with shelves, so it’s good to remember that some of these same design elements can be applied to just about anything! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you Brittany!
I can’t get over how pretty they look Heidi!! ???? Just gorgeous!