Is Open Shelving in Your Kitchen a Great Idea?

The open shelving trend has dominated kitchen design over the past few years, creating new ways of organizing dishware and small appliances. However, before you add open shelving to your kitchen, you need to consider the pros and cons of saying goodbye to enclosed cabinets. So how can you decide whether the open shelving trend suits your home? Here are a few things to consider.

Pro: You’ll Have A Larger Looking Space

When you head to your local kitchen and bath design center to check out cabinet options, the first thing you’ll notice about open shelves is how much less bulky they are than standard upper cabinets. In addition, the open design makes your space feel larger, adding an airy appeal. This is ideal for kitchen spaces that serve as the hub of a busy household.

Con: You’ll Have to Dust Regularly

Open shelving isn’t ideal if you’re looking for a low-maintenance design. On the one hand, open shelving is easier to clean, as you don’t have to navigate around doors and framing. If the shelf is empty, you can simply swipe dust and grime off the edge. However, enclosed cabinets offer greater protection from dust and grime floating around the kitchen. With open shelving, dust can gather quickly, and splatter may be an issue. This also means you’ll have to dust and clean regularly, and you might want to rinse dishes before use.

Pro/Con: You May End Up with More Storage Capacity

Whether your kitchen is small or you have ample cabinetry with extra storage with your kitchen island, open shelving gives you more storage capacity. Win! Yet…it is easy to have those perfectly clean open shelves get overwhelmed. Kitchens are the notorious catch-all of the home. So, on the one hand, pro because open shelving lacks bulky framing. They can run right up to window frames and hood vents. This provides more area for storage. However, filling those dead spaces could also mean more things can clutter the area. Just be intentional about what you want to store.

Tip: Be Intentional About What You Display on Open Shelving

If your collection of dishes is a mishmash of hand-me-downs and cheap purchases, you might not want it on display for visitors to see. To have the beautiful airy kitchen open shelving look, you’ll need to spend some time considering what you’ll place on it. If you have heirloom china or retro Fiestaware, or you’re planning to use part of your reno budget to upgrade to a matching set of dishes, you can make a gorgeous statement with your shelving display.

The Right Materials, Hardware, and Placement Are Essential

Planning is the key to getting the most out of your open shelving. For starters, you need to choose solid and durable materials. Because shelving is simple, it can look cheap, and if you start with budget materials that are easily damaged, it won’t be long before shelves become an eyesore. Robust hardware is also essential. You must adequately anchor floating shelves if you want them to support the weight of dishes and small appliances. Be careful to check the weight limit of each shelf and take pains not to exceed it.

Finally, you should plan the placement of shelves carefully, whether your layout is entirely open or you’re mixing and matching open and enclosed uppers. When you know where shelves will go, you can plan for a full or partial backsplash installation and make the best overall use of your space.

Design Your Perfect Kitchen With Friel

Are you ready to choose open shelving for your kitchen? The experts at Friel Kitchen & Bath Design can help. Contact us today to learn more, or stop in to speak with a design professional.

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