Open shelves are not only convenient, they add character and charm to your living space..
Own a beautiful collection of crockery and glasses? Invested in the best pots and pans? Love cooking and enjoy finding food inspiration in a colourful set of cook books? Don’t hide them all away behind closed doors. Put them on show and have them where you and your family can easily reach them.
We all like things to look neat and tidy but having only cupboards and bare surfaces creates a sterile, soulless space reminiscent of a developer’s show home.
Open kitchen shelves filled with frequently used cooking utensils, favourite foods or pretty plants and pots of herbs immediately injects life and personality into your kitchen and makes it feel cool rather than clinical.
Of course, you don’t want things gathering dust, so choose what you like and use most to display and then decide where and how much shelving you need.
The options are vast, so think about what would suit your kitchen and your lifestyle. Do you want to create an industrial look or do you prefer it to be sleek and smart? Do you like the idea of a professional cook’s kitchen or hanker after a homely style, where friends can grab a glass and top themselves up?
The scaffold style shelves below are designed by an architect but it’s a look that’s relatively inexpensive to emulate. Ditto the timber shelves on brackets. Both have a homespun vibe that’s simple to create. Just ensure your shelf supports can take the weight of whatever you intend to stack on them.
Display shelves are not just for walls either, we love the example suspended over the kitchen island. In a room with high ceilings and not much wall space it’s a clever and charming solution.
Perhaps you’re less hung up on the practicalities and are aiming for individuality over utility. In which case displaying an offbeat collection like the one at the end of this post, beats kilner jars and crockery..
These bespoke shelves are made from scaffold clamps and faux scaffold boards, and sport a coral-shade trim that’s prettier than the building-site versions. The worktop, sink, upstand and splashback are in stainless steel.
Get the look: The kitchen is from John Lewis Of Hungerford. The island is from Peppermill Antiques. The shelving is by Alexander Owen Architecture. The flooring throughout is Dinesen.
This kitchen has been given a radical new look thanks to a wall of bold striped tiles and stainless steel shelves. The whole kitchen was done on a budget and cost about £2,000 thanks to a few clever ideas.
Get the look: The kitchen was designed by Rory Robertson. The cabinetry is painted in Chia oil eggshell by Bert & May, which also supplied the concrete fittings. The wall and splash back are clad in Pesadilla tiles by Bert & May. The Danish table and chairs are from Béton Brut.
Designed to suit the needs of a large family who are all keen cooks, the kitchen includes a range cooker, deep larder and chalkboard for recipe essentials. The simple scaffolding shelving make it easy for to grab utensils when they’re needed.
Get the look: The range is from Everhot. This is a bespoke kitchen from Holloways of Ludlow. Shelving, Holloways of Ludlow.
Industrial meets vintage meets modern in this bright and airy open-plan kitchen.
Get the look: The bespoke cabinetry is made of metal: for similar, check out the Phoenix design by Varenna/Poliform. These are H stools by Chantal Andriot for Tolix. The suspended storage-cum-display unit is bespoke– to create something similar, see Ikea’s Omar modular shelving system.
Tiling is taken up to the picture rail to accentuate the height of the room, while vintage lighting, fluted glass-fronted cabinets and shelves that replicate luggage racks add extra gleam.
Get the look: The cabinetry is bespoke by Barkerdesign. The Zellige wall tiles are from Habibi Interiors. The Holophane pendants are from Felix Lighting Specialists. The shelving is from Alex MacArthur. The vintage bar stools are from Two Columbia Road. The range cooker is by Smeg.
The open, white oak shelves with custom-made brass brackets and eclectic piles of crockery add a softer, more domestic vibe.
Get the look: The Honed Petite Granite floor tiles are from Integrated and the Grove wall tiles are by Waterworks. The white oak shelves and brass brackets were all custom made. The collection of crockery is by Sir/Madam. The Tolix bar stools are from Antiquaire.
The standout island worktop was crafted from reclaimed parquet flooring, while two structural beams became the perfect spots to hang lighting and a quirky display shelf from.
Get the look: The bespoke kitchen was built by Gregos Builders and is painted in Farrow & Ball’s Black Blue estate eggshell. The pendant lamps are vintage German Bakelite found at Sunbury Antiques Market. This is the Grottesco tap from Stockholm-based company Tapwell.
In this sleek kitchen, crisp white Corian contrasts with the deep matt texture of a black polished plaster splashback and a limed oak joinery box.
Get the look: The kitchen was designed by The Vawdrey House and made by Higham Furniture.
Instead of pots and pans, the offbeat dolls on these shelves make it feel more integrated with the rest of the house – less like a kitchen, more like a display space.
Get the look: The kitchen cabinets is a custom design by P&T Interiors, with a black lacquered finish. The worktop is made with Black Corian. These are Subway wall tiles in Black from Waterworks. The Hob is from Bertazzoni. These are Randa K taps from MGS. The extractor hood was a custom design by P&T Interiors, using a hood insert from ProLine Range Hoods. The ceiling lights are from Delta Light. The jars on the kitchen island filled with sea shells are antique.