BHG Style Spotters

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Built-In Kitchen and Bath Shelving

Being a kitchen and bath editor, I see more kitchens and baths than I ever thought possible (I love my job!), and although each room is different, they start to feel and look the same. So, I’m always searching for something that makes the space stand out: a great use of color, an excellent tile backsplash, or, in this case, built-in open shelving. Open shelving never fails to provide an opportunity to personalize a space, while built-in shelving has a more high-end look (even when it’s not an expensive custom design). The result is a simple book shelf, bold accent wall–or somewhere in between–that looks great and lets you show off your character.

This setup takes advantage of a kitchen nook by adding countertop space and sleek storage. Essentials are kept behind closed doors below, while a cookbook library and stand-out serving pieces add color and texture to the modern design with traditional decor.

In some cases, it’s as much about what you have on your open shelves as what’s behind them. The unembellished cabinetry in this kitchen is clean-lined and contemporary, but a slightly rustic wallpaper keeps the space from feeling too edgy. The subtle pattern lets the items adorning the shelves take center stage in the decor.


Then there’s the pièce de résistance of built-in open shelving: striking composition, eye-catching location, and perfectly picked decoration. This floor-to-ceiling display creates an elegant backdrop for an in-kitchen breakfast nook. The furniture-like surrounding gives the table it’s own atmosphere that feels separate from the kitchen, enhancing the dining experience. The mix of colors, textures, and shapes used to decorate the shelves complements the room–and homeowner’s personality.

Finally, I couldn’t leave this exceptional space behind. Most often we see towels, glass canisters, and soaps on display in the bath–and rightfully so. But this bath uses a more sophisticated approach. Although I wouldn’t call this splash-proof or kid-friendly, there’s just something calming about seeing a tub designed as a quiet retreat.

While it’s admittedly easier to plan open shelving into a new kitchen design or remodel, you can add it to the space you have, too. Can you carve book nook into a wall that’s lacking character? Replace a portion of a long run of cabinets with open shelving to break up the dull doors? Maybe just give built-ins a try by removing a couple cabinet doors to open up shelving that’s already part of your space. Whatever you choose, it’s a blank canvas for you to perk up your kitchen or bath. And if you’re looking for tips to get your open shelving looking stellar, check out this helpful post from Centsational Style and BHG blogger, Kate. She’ll help you find the perfect things to display–and how to display them.

-Kristina McGuirk, Assistant Editor, Kitchen and Bath Ideas

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5 Responses to “ Built-In Kitchen and Bath Shelving ”

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  3. I recognize the bottom two photos – they are from interior designer Skip Sroka’s own home! He is very talented!

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