Stylish Strategies for Open Shelving

When given the choice between open or hidden storage, most people choose the latter.  The rationale behind closed door storage is that mass amounts of material can be hidden from view, and closed storage certainly is a premium for the non attractive things we need from day to day or require as the seasons change. 

However when it comes to your keepsakes and memorabilia, displaying your favorites out in the open allows you to appreciate them on a daily basis, and also communicates to visitors your personal taste and sense of style.  Here are five great strategies for displaying your personal things out in the open.  

A Curated Collection.   Open shelves are the perfect opportunity to place your passionate pursuit on display.  Avoid the temptation to scatter your collection around the house and instead gather your objects together on one unit, displaying them at different heights and angles for all to appreciate.   

open metal shelving with cameras bhg


Subtle Shapes.  Geometry is your best friend when layering similar objects out in the open.  Notice how the individual pieces of coral on these shelves are placed in a diamond shape, and how the silver objects form an invisible triangle.   By making shapes up and down the shelving, you lay a foundation for order within your display.      

built in shelving dining room bhg


Group and Gather.   If closet or pantry space is limited, you can organize kitchen or other home goods effectively when you gather like objects closely together and in larger quantities, such as the bottles, dishes, and utensils cleverly grouped on this open metal shelf unit. 

open metal pantry shelving  bhg


Symmetrical Stacks.   When arranging books, consider laying them one way.  The purposeful placement of books stacked symmetrically creates a calming backdrop on a large freestanding shelf unit.  

stacked books bhg


Palette Precision.  Sticking to one medley of colors (pick only two or three) allows you to mix and mingle objects freely.  It doesn’t matter if they’re organizational or decorative if all of the objects on display wear hues from the same color family.  

blue and green palette bhg


How do you artfully organize and arrange your collections and memorabilia in open view?



13 Responses to “ Stylish Strategies for Open Shelving ”

  1. There is something so great about industrial metal open shelving!

  2. I’m loving the last photo! I just painted a wall in my office a rich turquoise and am planning to add white floating shelves mixed into a photo wall. I love this look.

  3. Beautiful pictures! I love open shelving- you can really show your personality.

  4. Great article!
    I love the collection of vintage cameras. I’m building a collection of vintage cameras for my mantel.

  5. Where can I find the shelving unit in the 4th picture? I’m loving it!

  6. I have the same question as @Ina – where did you get the wooden shelving unit?

  7. Where did you get that great shelf in photo 4? I saw 2 other people asked, but didn’t see an answer! Would love to know! Thanks!

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