Open Storage Ideas


Kitchens of every size can benefit from open storage solutions. See how open shelves and cabinetry can add both style and function to your work space.

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Dishware on Display

open storage

A small shelf that displays knickknacks elsewhere in the house can also work in the kitchen to display dishware, providing a handy arrangement for items used regularly. Bringing furniture like this into the kitchen makes the functional space feel less utilitarian. For a well-designed look, make sure the piece relates to the room's decor. Here, the dark finish and dramatic trim echo the elegant look of the marble countertops and furniture-style cabinetry.

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Hanging Pot Rack


A simple wrought-iron pot rack keeps oversize pots and pans within reach of this kitchen's main work zone. Hanging these large items from the ceiling frees up cabinet space in a small kitchen. The pots and pans also contribute to the cozy, lived-in character of the room.

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Combo Kitchen Storage

kitchen storage

Every efficient kitchen needs a combination of open and closed storage. This wall of cabinetry boasts storage for everything from dishware to table linens. To provide visual relief from the wall of closed cabinetry, the doors were removed from the upper cabinets to create cubbies that showcase cookbooks and other collectibles. The yellow interiors inject personality into the hardworking room.

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Contemporary Shelves


Simple wooden shelves lend a rustic touch to this modern kitchen corner. Thin metal wires suspend the shelves from the ceiling so they appear to be floating. The shelves' rough, unfinished surface adds another layer of texture to the kitchen's tiled walls, stainless-steel appliances, and stone countertops.

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Small-Kitchen Solution

Light Colors in a Small Kitchen

Open shelving and glass-front upper cabinets help to visually expand this small kitchen space. The open shelves hold everything from serving platters to baking supplies, while the cabinets store everyday dishware and other small items. The narrow island, fashioned from an old table, provides additional open storage without cluttering visual space.

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How to Convert Your Cabinets to Open Shelving

Watch this simple step-by-step to see how to convert your standard cabinets into beautiful open shelving.

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Working Kitchen


This small desk area makes use of an awkward kitchen corner to ensure every bit of square footage has a purpose. The built-in unit features two closed upper cabinets and an open shelf below that displays books and small storage bins. The desk area below is outfitted in the same marble countertop as the rest of the kitchen, which helps the desk blend seamlessly with the rest of the room.

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Above-the-Range Storage


Frequently used cooking supplies, such as olive oil and spices, are stored on a small stainless-steel shelf above this pro-style range. The shelf's stainless-steel finish allows it to blend in effortlessly with the rest of the kitchen's appliances, hardware, and decor.

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Simple Shelves


Three simple shelves mounted to a wall in this kitchen offer open storage space for small items such as teacups, saucers, and cookbooks. Mounted in front of blue mosaic tiles, the shelves are both functional and decorative elements of the kitchen. Two tiny lights installed on the bottom of each shelf ensure it's never hard to locate needed items.

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In the Mix


Simple white shelves hung on one side of this range keep everyday dishes and glassware handy. Pairing the open shelves with glass-front cabinets elsewhere throughout the kitchen creates a custom look. Decorative brackets adhered to the bottom of the shelves and cabinets ensure the storage spaces are visually unified.

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Decorative Shelving Options

White shelves holding white dishes

Beaded board behind these open shelves adds to this kitchen's cottage charm. Everyday items such as bowls and plates are stored on the lower shelves, while infrequently used items are stored on the upper shelf. Although the shelves answer the call for simplicity, the lacy scrollwork brackets add a touch of ornamentation.

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Serving Up Style


Remove the doors from a corner cabinet to visually expand the look of a small kitchen. Here, rows of open shelves lend storage and display space for a collection of colorful dishware. The bright colors of the dishes blend with the warm tones of the stain on the kitchen's lower cabinets.

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Easy-Access Storage


A row of open cabinetry along one wall of this kitchen stores the room's entire collection of dishware and glasses. The dishware, featuring a palette of blues, greens, oranges, and yellows, adds a splash of color to the otherwise neutral kitchen space. The stainless-steel backing plays into the contemporary vibe of the open shelving.

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Furniture-Style Shelves

Cottage Cabinets

Here, a wall-hung shelving unit provides storage for a collection of everyday dishware and serving pieces. Strips of crown molding were added to the top of the unit to give it a furniture-style finish.

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Layered Shelving

kitchen shelving

Layers of open shelving allow you to place items on upper and lower shelves according to how often they're used. Here, small, frequently used items are placed on the lowest level. Larger items or those used only occasionally are out of the way on the top

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Nifty Storage Niche

kitchen backsplash

A niche built into the range alcove creates the perfect spot to stow away everyday cooking items such as spices, condiments, and cooking oils. Create similar storage elsewhere in the kitchen by building shelves between wall studs.

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Stainless-Steel Shelves

kitchen shelving

A pair of stainless-steel shelves adds a splash of modernity to this traditional-style kitchen. The narrow shelves not only offer open storage space for decorative dishware, but they're also sturdy enough to support the microwave, which frees up counter space for food prep. Black wrought-iron brackets on the bottom of each shelf are a nod to the traditional vibe of the rest of the kitchen.

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Topping Off

Refrigerator Wall

The area above the refrigerator offers plenty of storage space that's often left untouched. Here, the fridge and adjoining pantry cabinet were topped off with a simple shelf. The area now holds cookbooks, serving pieces, and a large storage basket.

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Found Favorites

kitchen shelf

A vintage wine cage was repurposed to store the homeowner's collection of dishware. The caged-in upper portion boasts three rows of wire shelves to ensure everyday items have proper homes. The open lower portion is outfitted with shelves that stow away large items such as baskets, serving bowls, and a microwave.

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Industrial Edge

Kitchen storage

A sleek metal shelving unit matches the contemporary, industrial design of this kitchen and blends with the stainless-steel island, stainless-steel appliances, and concrete flooring. The unit provides overflow storage for food and dishware that don't fit in the kitchen's limited cabinet space.

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Plates on Display

Plate rack

A plate rack and an open upper cabinet keep dishes within reach in this tiny wall unit. The plate rack is built in to this cabinet, but freestanding options are available in a wide range of shapes, styles, and finishes. Plate racks are a popular choice for open kitchen storage because they allow you to turn your functional dishware into a decorative display.

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Depth & Dimension

Storage Galore

In a wall of solid white cabinetry, a vertical row of three small shelves gives this kitchen a sense of depth. The shelves offer a spot to display useful and decorative items. Beaded board on the back of the open shelving adds interest and subtle texture.

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See-Through Solution


Glass-front cabinets above a pass-through between this kitchen and the living room keep the two spaces feeling open and airy. The cabinets provide a pretty place to display decorative glassware and collectibles. A tall, narrow cabinet along the left side of the pass-through was outfitted with glass shelves to echo the look of the adjoining cabinets.

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Window to the World


In this kitchen, a window provides the perfect backdrop for a pair of simple white shelves. The shelves break up the heavy look of solid cabinetry, while the window behind them adds dimension. Coordinate the color of dishes on display to add style to your kitchen.

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Overhead Compartments


To increase storage space in a kitchen with limited square footage, look up. Here, a row of cabinets stop short of the ceiling to offer stowaway space for a trio of wicker baskets. An open shelf below, outfitted with more storage bins, helps break up the wall of cabinetry.

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Island Style


A pair of open shelves transforms one side of this kitchen island into a display space for cookbooks and cooking magazines. The beaded board and shelf are a rich brown color to emphasize the display.

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