Open Shelf Kitchen: Pros and Cons

If you're planning a kitchen makeover, you or your interior designer might be thinking about adding open shelving to the design. It can be a game-changer! But not all modern trends are worth it. Is open shelving worth it? Read on to find out.

What is Open Shelving in Kitchens?

In a kitchen, open shelving is like a bookshelf, with dishes and silverware on display instead of hidden behind cabinet doors. These shelves have no enclosing parts, making them look attractive and instantly boosting your kitchen's charm.

Open shelf kitchen island

The Growing Popularity of Open Shelving

Open shelving has become a popular kitchen design trend in recent years. The functionality and style it brings to any kitchen are why people love it. With new designs coming out regularly, this trend seems to be around for a while.

Benefits of Open Shelf Kitchens

Here's why you should consider open kitchen shelving:

Good Looks and Feeling of Space

If you like a minimalist look, open shelving will win your heart (and your Instagram followers too). It adds a warm and friendly touch to your kitchen, making it look larger, brighter, and more spacious.

Easy Access and Better Functionality

No more searching through kitchen cabinets to find the perfect serving dish when guests arrive. Open shelving puts everything within reach and easy view.

Budget-friendly Option

We all enjoy a little renovation, but not if it costs an arm and a leg. Open shelves are more affordable than traditional cabinets, and installation is inexpensive.

Personalization and Display Opportunities

Open shelves are perfect for collectors who want to showcase their kitchen treasures.

Open shelf modern kitchen

Disadvantages of Open Shelf Kitchens

Unfortunately, open shelving has some drawbacks, just like any other traditional cabinet. Let's take a quick look:

More Exposure to Dust and Grease

If you like things super clean, be ready to do more cleaning because open shelving can get dusty or greasy due to constant exposure to dirt.

Potential for Clutter and Visual Chaos

Having too many items on display can make your kitchen feel cluttered. Crowding can make your kitchen look less tidy.

Risk to Fragile Items

Displaying your expensive and delicate items might not always be a good idea. There's always a risk of accidents in kitchens, especially with kids around.

Not Suitable for All Kitchen Styles

If your kitchen is small or cramped, open shelving might not work well for you. It's essential to consider how your kitchen will function with open shelving before deciding on it.

Open shelf kitchen chaos

Best Practices for Implementing Open Shelving

Get in touch with your inner designer, as we're about to discuss some tips for using open shelving in your kitchen.

Mixing Open Shelves With Closed Cabinets

If you already have traditional cabinets and want to add open shelves without removing the old ones, you're in luck. You can combine both! This mix can look amazing when done right.

Mixing open shelves with closed cabinets

Choosing the Right Materials and Shelf Brackets

Durable materials will last longer, so don't skimp on quality. We recommend solid, sustainable hardwoods like Alder, Walnut, Cherry, or White Oak that resist warping or bowing.

Using Vertical Space Effectively

Add tall decorative pieces or plants to make the most of your wall space. Combine decorative and functional elements to create a beautiful, practical space.

Open Shelving Maintenance and Organization

Want to keep your open shelves looking great? Here's what you need to do:

Regular Cleaning and Dusting

First things first, always be ready with a dusting cloth. But seriously, if you want your open shelves to look great, you'll need to clean them frequently to keep dust and grime at bay.

Using Storage Solutions and Organization Techniques

While there are many DIYs on YouTube to help make your kitchen more organized, here are some quick tips:

  • Add dividers to organize cabinets.
  • Organize lids with dividers.
  • Stack pots and pans using dividers.
  • Use risers to increase storage space.Open shelf kitchen light

Factors to Consider When Choosing Open Shelving

If you're still reading this, great job! You're one step closer to creating your dream kitchen. Keep these points in mind before you start:

Assess Your Kitchen Size and Layout

Get out the measuring tape and figure out your kitchen size. Don't guess; measure your kitchen's dimensions and decide on the layout you want. The rest will follow!

Evaluate Your Storage Needs and Preferences

Think about your storage needs and what you prefer. Are you okay with your kitchen looking crowded, or will the minimalist in you regret it later? Renovations aren't easy or cheap, so take your time before making a decision.

Balance Aesthetics with Practicality

Adding too many decorations or going for over-the-top designs might cause problems when you actually use your kitchen for cooking. Make sure you're creating a beautiful yet functional kitchen.

Consider the Impact on Resale Value

Open shelves are usually affordable, and installation costs are low, so the resale value might not be very high. If you spend your money wisely, your shelves will last until you're ready to sell, and they'll fetch a better price.


In a nutshell, whether or not to use open shelving in your kitchen comes down to personal preference. Don't just follow social media influencers; think about what will work best in your kitchen. Choose carefully; if you need more clarification, it might be helpful to consult an interior designer.

Read our article: "Kitchen remodeling: the most popular questions answered" to get more insight into the kitchen remodeling process