Kitchen trend watch: Open shelves and cabinets

Expose some of your kitchen storage for a trend-setting space.

Kitchens can be busy places – not surprising considering they’re often called the heart of the home. And because you do so much work in your kitchen, you probably see it as more of a utility space than a decorative one. However, modern kitchen trends elevate already-beautiful spaces into true works of art. One way to do this? With open shelving.

What is open shelving?
Open shelves can take many shapes and maintain a variety of styles, but in general, they’re any shelves that leave the items on them exposed. In fact, kitchen cabinets that don’t have doors or include glass panes rather than wood ones count. Floating shelves, or boards attached to your wall without standard brackets, are another, more modern, form of open shelving.

Choosing a spot for open shelving
You might be thinking, “But I have so much stuff – won’t open shelves just expose the mess in my kitchen?” That can be true, but like with any other kitchen remodeling project, you have to plan ahead. You don’t have to fill your entire kitchen with open shelves. Rather, install standard kitchen cabinet styles to store your supplies, and choose one area where open shelves would really pop. For instance, a small wall space would be a perfect fit! Or, hang open shelves on either side of your vent hood. Some homeowners even limit their open shelving to the space above the wet bars in their dining rooms.

The right shelves for your style
The kinds of shelves or cabinets you choose will determine where you place them, and they should reflect your personal style. For instance, if the rest of your kitchen is traditional, upper cabinets that don’t have doors might be a better aesthetic fit than simple wood planks. If your tastes are more modern, a sleek set of shelves would make more sense than traditional cabinets.

Take a look at images online and in magazines, and mark the open-shelf designs you like best.

Decorating your shelves
Once your kitchen remodel is done and your shelves or open cabinets are in place, you can start filling them! Open shelves are perfect for storing fine dishware, like your china, crystal pitcher or wine-glass set. Basically, pick the dishes you think are the most beautiful and display them. Or, use the shelves to store dishes of a certain color. For instance, if your kitchen color scheme is white, wood and yellow, place yellow and white dish sets on your open shelves – they’ll look more like decoration than utilities.

By planning carefully and choosing the right kind of open shelves and cabinets, you can design a utilitarian space that’s also aesthetically pleasing.