20 Kitchen Open Shelving Ideas To Organize Your Home Cooking Space

Fitted kitchen interior with gas hob and shelving

What's the first thing you do when you walk into a kitchen? If it's to look for where all of the dishes, mugs, pots, and pans are, then you need some open shelving in your life! 

These 20 kitchen open shelving ideas will show you how to create an organized home cooking space so that everything is within easy reach, without having to bat an eye every morning.

1. Go rustic with floating wooden shelves

The dark, aged wood of floating shelves is often used in the farmhouse-style kitchen. If your design goals are more modern or edgy, you may consider live edge shelving instead for that rustic charm!

The cost will be higher than regular metal ones. However, it'll make an excellent statement piece when seen against any other type of wall decor.  This idea fits new homeowners who still need to find their style and those long retired citizens looking back fondly over what has come before them.

2. Maximize negative space

Those with medium to large kitchens with some negative space turn it to a trusty corner for open shelf storage to double up on the storage capacity. Try to keep everything as organized as possible by creating zones with similarly priced items together.

Ensure they are within arms reach, so you don't have to fumble around looking for spices, etc., when preparing a meal.

3. Try alternating open shelving with pipes for hanging

Open shelving can be both attractive and functional. If you're looking for a way to make your kitchen more open-concept. Using pipes and finishing them with gold or brass is an excellent DIY, to begin with. 

A few smaller shelves that take up one cabinet will give just as much impact. In terms of space and installing tons of extra cabinets, smaller shelves will allow it without any cleaning or styling required on their behalf either (unless we're talking about painting them!).

4. Take out the cabinet doors if you can

You don't have to go through an entire remodel if you want a makeover for your kitchen. If that sounds too drastic, try removing the doors from existing cabinets and giving them a facelift with different paint colors!

Add Decorative Paneling for an extra-unique look that is still functional. Try incorporating some decorative paneling to the inside cabinets. It's also a great way to cover up any unsightly hinges you might have!

5. Go for waterproof shelves over the sink

Modern kitchen sink

In most traditional kitchen layouts, a shorter cabinet is placed above the sink. To create a more airy feel and because you'll be storing dish soaps in this area anyway to make room for plants it would probably benefit your houseplant too!

Adding floating shelves over the sink is a great way to make your kitchen more convenient. If you prefer using wooden panels to hanging them up, be sure to use a waterproof adhesive.

6. Maximize corner spaces 

When you're looking to store your pots and pans, the corner spaces are often some of the most forgotten about. If utilizing one or more corners is important for keeping smaller appliances like kettles, it's easy enough to add a series of floating shelves around these nooks so that they can be used as well.

7. Create variations

Open shelving is the best way to maximize your storage space while remaining stylish. You can have a few closed cabinets for things like dirty dishes and other kitchen essentials, but make most of it open! 

This will allow you more flexibility in organizing because there’s no set system or layout that needs attention every time we change our minds about what should go where- which means less work on our end, too (which nobody wants).

8. Make the most out of odd spaces

Everyone knows that kitchens are the most expensive room in your home to renovate, so maximizing space for storage is essential. This means utilizing every nook and cranny you have- which might include some unconventional areas! 

Whether it’s a section of wall behind an oven or microwave, or even underneath cabinets if there's enough depth, a little DIY installation won't hurt to make the most out of your kitchen.

9. Incorporate Vignettes in bright kitchens

Vignettes are small collections of items that tell a story- and they can be used to add character and style to an open kitchen shelving idea. Incorporating them will also give you more room for storage, so it’s worthwhile!

10. Fix in some fun design accents

Kitchen shelves with various food ingredients and utensils

Your kitchen is a place of creativity and freedom. You don't need to be limited by the traditional, especially when so many options are available! 

Mix different styles for an added appeal or use shelves as storage space - either way, it'll feel like home right away with some personal collectibles displayed for a nostalgic accent.

11. Add your take on Taupe

Taupe is a very popular kitchen color to work with, and it’s easy to understand why. It goes well in the transitional category, which means it works for any design style of shelves you choose to install. Not to mention, it's a great color that will compliment your Chinaware.

12. A Lamp Above Your Shelves Will Add Ambiance

Lamps are an excellent addition to shelving units because they provide a nice bit of lighting that can be used to set the mood for your dinner party or get-together. Plus, it's a great way to save electricity!

13. Add open shelves under your upper cabinets

This is an exciting idea because we don't see these types of projects. For those who don’t mind a bit of excitement for DIY handyman work, adding open shelves under your upper cabinets could benefit limited kitchen spaces. 

The unique aspect of this option is how the open shelves still maintain the same feel as your cabinets while making some room for essential cooking items like spices and condiments. 

14. Use glass tiles to create a kitchen credenza

This is another unique idea that isn't thought of very often. Because most people don't realize you can use glass tiles for things like this! 

The best part about it is how easy they are to install and clean, so if there are any spills or messes, you'll be able to clean them up very quickly. You don't need to be limited by the traditional, especially when so many options are available! Mix different styles in for added appeal or use shelves as storage space - either way, it'll feel like home right away

15. Use open shelving as a kitchen island

Modern kitchen interior with center island and hob

This is an idea that we've seen around for quite some time now and the reason why people love it so much is because of how versatile open shelving can be! In addition to that, this will be great for those who live in smaller homes or apartments as it can double your dining room table.

16. Add Open Shelving Under Your Kitchen Sink 

Another way to make the most out of limited kitchen space is to open shelving under the kitchen sink. With this, you'll be able to store all your cleaning supplies in a place that's easy to reach, and it will also make for a significant decorative aspect of your kitchen!

17. Add Pattern or Color to the Backdrops of Your Shelves

You can never go wrong with adding pattern or color to the backdrops of your shelves. It adds a splash of personality and will make you want to look at it every single time! 

Who doesn't love a sound color palette? Why not go with something bright and cheery for kitchens that don't get a lot of natural light. The shelves will be easy to spot and will be highlighted with the complimented color of your choosing.

18. Let Light Bounce-Off Each Other

You know what they say: lighten up your kitchen with white cabinets and open shelves. Cabinets can make a space feel heavy, so play around with the bright colors or dark finishes for added brightness!

19. Opt for Metallic Touches

Metallics like silver, brass, or gold add a bit of glam to the space while still functional for storage! You can have them added to your staple wooden planks and finished in a hardware shop or DIY them yourselves; either way, you can't go wrong with a bit of glam in your kitchen space.

20. Deck Out the Whole Wall 

Rustic kitchen interior with white brick wall and white wooden shelves

A simple design that is easy to maintain and looks great is to use up a whole chunk of your wall to hang up long wooden planks. This open shelving idea can be installed with ease, even if you are not the handiest person in your home. Best of all? Wood is DIY-friendly.


Whether you need some tips on how to decorate your kitchen or are looking for inspiration, this list is sure to help! Open shelving in the kitchen has become very popular over recent years, and it's not hard to see why. 

If you're thinking of redoing your space but aren't quite ready- open shelving can be a new trendy, and budget-friendly way to go.

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