- view all thumbnails
A small shelf unit that might display knickknacks elsewhere in the house works in the kitchen to display collectible dishware, an especially handy arrangement for items used regularly. Bringing into the kitchen a piece of furniture that's normally used in the living room makes this functional space feel less utilitarian.
For a well-designed look, make sure the piece relates to the room's decor. Here, the black finish and curved ends of the shelving unit play off a nearby island, while the crown molding links to cabinets and gives the shelf architectural presence.
A simple wrought-iron rack shows off oversize bowls and pitchers and adds to the kitchen's country charm. The items supplement the room's decor and are also available for use.
Every efficient kitchen needs a combination of open and closed storage. This beautiful paneled cabinetry hides a refrigerator behind armoire-style doors, while small appliances, a wine cooler, and an icemaker reside behind cabinet doors above and below the microwave.
To provide visual relief from all the paneling, a column of open shelves fills one corner and a large, open display area sits above the refrigerator. These openings in the cabinetry facade provide interest and keep the kitchen from feeling closed in.
The lowest shelf is shallow, allowing more room for food preparation. The upper shelves are a standard 12-inch depth and can accommodate dinner and salad plates. Brackets are anchored securely to wall studs to make sure they can bear the weight of stacked dishes.
Open shelves replace upper cabinetry in this century-old kitchen, giving it an airy, clean feeling. While the shelves answer the call for simplicity, their lacy scrollwork brackets nod to an era that favored ornamentation. Lighting strips under the lower shelves provide helpful task lighting for the countertops.
Three layers of open shelving allow you to place small, frequently used items on a lower level. Larger items, used occasionally, are available when needed but are out of the way on the top shelf.
A pole-mounted shelf continues the theme of multilevel curves established by the wall cabinets and island, as does the mix of ceiling light fixtures. Dishware and glassware seem suspended in air, displayed on three thick glass shelves that carry the curves across the space between the wall cabinet and a wood wall panel.
Walnut shelves stacked with sculptural supplies stretch to the ceiling in this kitchen. The dramatic effect is achieved by stacking objects so they occupy the space instead of simply filling it. A tall bookcase with adjustable shelves can serve this pantry function in any kitchen. Be sure the shelves and shelf supports are sturdy enough to bear the weight of dishes and food supplies.
They're popular because they allow you to turn your functional dinnerware into a decorative display, and they're safer for dishes -- china is less likely to chip and crack when stored this way.
This shelving unit, a modern take on a plate rack, plays off the grid design of the cabinets and windows. With a unit like this, it's best to display a set of dishes, cups, and saucers that share a common design idea or pattern. A random collection of cups and mugs would create a less refined effect.
Look for vintage pieces that you can repurpose for kitchen service at flea markets and thrift shops. Giving an old piece new life is creative recycling and adds one-of-a-kind character to your kitchen.
Try our FREE ultimate decorating toolbox to design your kitchen. Imagine it, plan it, then do it with Decorating Inspiration!