10 Fabulous Kitchen Shelving Ideas To Style Your Kitchen

by Ekta Poddar | February 27, 2024 | 6 mins read

Kitchen open shelves and racks design ideas

Our guide on kitchen shelves is guaranteed to help you introduce amazing style, freshness and openness to your kitchen.

Open kitchen shelves have been around from the time our cave dwelling ancestors came across a natural stone ledge and used it to store their rudimentary tools. The more evolved versions of kitchen shelves and racks are equally hard working and useful. They serve valuable storage function, do wonders to display your beautiful dishware, pottery and pantry items, and can make the kitchen look stunning. Small kitchens especially benefit from having open shelving as they make even tight cramped spaces look fresh and airy. Read DesignCafe’s guide on kitchen shelving ideas to recreate your own fabulous and stylish look.

A Line Up Of Open Rows of Kitchen Wall Shelves

Good line ups do wonders in a cricket team and in the kitchen! Install open rows of wall mounted shelves to generate an illusion of space and to store and display your precious kitchen items. Fix brackets to the wall and place the shelves across them. Use brackets creatively for an interesting detail or opt for floating shelves with concealed brackets for an ethereal look.

Kitchen wall shelves design with wooden shelves on black brackets with metal accents
Wooden shelves on black brackets with metal accents are brilliantly set off against a black kitchen wall

Add Charm With Wooden Kitchen Shelves

In love with the luxury of traditional richly grained wood? A big fan of the rustic charm of time worn and distressed wood? Installing wooden open shelves is sure to give your kitchen a distinctive touch. Given the wide variety of wood available and how versatile the material is, you will easily find ways to seamlessly incorporate wooden shelves into your kitchen – from the very simple to the uber-grand.

Wooden open kitchen shelves design gives your kitchen a distinctive touch
Match the brackets to your wooden shelves for a picture-perfect look
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A Corner Kitchen Shelf That Uses Every Inch

Real estate in the kitchen as anywhere else, especially in small homes, is premium. Why waste it when you can put it to good use? The corners in small kitchens can often get overlooked and open shelves are a great way to make the most of them. A corner shelf runs along two adjacent walls and keeping it open helps you access those hard-to-reach corners with minimum effort. Match the corner shelves to the rest of the kitchen and glam them up by installing lights under them.

Corner kitchen shelf, the corners in small kitchens can often get overlooked and open shelves
A set of corner shelves that float can be fantastic for tight spaces

Keep It Breezy With Open Cabinet Kitchen Shelf Design

Open cabinet kitchen shelves are ideal for those who want some closed storage and some open storage. Store your heavier pots, pans and appliances in the closed cabinets below and display the prettier dishware, wine glasses and items in the open shelves of the cabinets above the countertop. The additional benefit of such built-in shelving is that it is some of the most convenient to install.

Open cabinet kitchen shelf design with a section of the upper cabinet to open shelves
Devote the upper cabinet, or even a section of the upper cabinet to open shelves
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Stainless Steel Kitchen Rack Shelf for a Sleek Finish

We love stainless steel for its strength, durability and the sleek touch it brings to the kitchen. When it comes to using the material for open shelving in the kitchen, you can use it to build racks and to install shelves. You can even make basket shelves out of them and use them to hang items from rails or frames. Not in love with the sterile and rather industrial looking stainless steel can bring? Mix it up with warmer tones and richer textures of wood and fabric to make your kitchen welcoming and comfortable.

Stainless steel kitchen rack shelf brings a sleek look to your kitchen
Stainless steel can be used in several creative and utilitarian ways

Be Footloose With Hanging Kitchen Shelves

Do away with brackets and suspend open shelves from the ceiling using chain links, metal bars or even ropes. Hanging kitchen shelves are visually appealing and can bring a whimsical look to your kitchen. You can further customise them by using material of your choice – wood, glass or metal and restrict them to a few or go all out with many. Whatever you choose, remember to use them to store and display your lighter items as these are not master load bearers!

Hanging kitchen shelves bring a whimsical look to your kitchen by using material of wood, glass or metal
This cosy kitchen has multiple wooden shelves suspended using metal links

Use Open Shelving For Visual Interest in Your Kitchen

If you are looking to dial up the aesthetic appeal of your kitchen, the wall or space behind the open shelves can be your canvas. Paint them a different colour that contrasts with the rest of the cabinet or put up some interesting wallpaper that immediately draws the eye. Play with colours, patterns and textures to produce an unforgettable visual masterpiece.

Aesthetic appeal of your kitchen by using open shelving for visual interest
The brickwork behind the open shelves is left exposed with striking results

Open The Space Up With Glass Shelves

Enhance the sense of space that open shelves bring by using glass to make the shelves. Glass immediately opens a cramped space up and open glass shelves are a double whammy for small kitchens. Glass shelves can be installed in alcoves as built in shelving, on brackets and as suspended shelves. Putting in metal rims will increase their utility even further.  Such kitchen wall shelves work particularly well in modern or contemporary kitchens.

Glass shelves for kitchen by using glass mixed in with metal and wood, it's an innovative idea for kitchen shelves
Innovative and stunning use of glass mixed in with metal and wood

Break a Few Rules with Out-of-the-Box Kitchen Shelving Ideas

Think out of the box to create your own distinctive way of installing open shelves. Build them across window space, experiment by placing them at various heights, mix in materials in an unconventional way, mount wall shelves to make a pattern, and be imaginative with colours. Give free reign to your creativity to achieve a style with kitchen shelves which is one of its kind.

Kitchen shelving ideas to think out of the box to create your own distinctive way of installing open shelves
Narrow shelves built at different heights to create a spectacular effect

Free Stand Kitchen Storage Racks For Flexibility

Having the flexibility to move storage around can be a boon in the kitchen. Free-standing kitchen storage racks give you the choice to move them around. Since they are not wall-mounted, they are portable, and you can move them to a different section of the kitchen or even move them out. Since there is no installation required you can easily bring one into the kitchen to expand existing storage.

Free stand kitchen storage racks are placed next to each other to produce unique modular kitchen storage
Two free-standing racks are placed next to each other to produce unique modular kitchen storage

Hang them, wall mount them, or stand them free on the floor. Use wood, metal, glass or a combination. Go bold with multiple rows across the kitchen or stretch them from the floor to the ceiling. Or stay discreet with a few open shelves. Whatever your preference, open shelves are one kitchen solution that will add instant style and glamour to any kitchen.

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Ekta Poddar is a content writer at Design Cafe home interiors blog.

Ekta Poddar

Ekta is a freelance writer obsessed with good design and all things pretty. She is travelling, reading and eating her way through various cultures across the globe. Her inspiration comes from the great masters, Michelangelo, Anthony Bourdain, and Terry Pratchett. When not writing, she is crocheting, cooking or buying craft supplies.

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