Padma Lakshmi's open shelves act as a two-in-one storage and decor solution – and they're painted this bold hue

Taste the Nation host and creator Padma Lakshmi utilizes open concept shelving in her kitchen for easy access to everyday items as well as display pieces

(Image credit: Photo by Olivia Wong/FilmMagic via Getty Images)

Open shelving is a popular fixture in spaces like the living room, where we often choose to display precious objects and memorabilia. On the rise, however, is open shelving in the kitchen, making for a storage solution that also allows for easy access and display.

Cooking aficionado and creator/host of Taste the Nation Padma Lakshmi utilizes open storage in her own kitchen, keeping her pots and pans within reach on her red-painted shelves. In a video posted to her Instagram page, we can see a variety of colored glassware, stacked dishes, and even a couple of plants acting as decor.

While Lakshmi's shelves contain mostly practical, everyday items among some decorative items, experts say that variety is imperative to making an open shelving unit look visually stimulating rather than simply clinical.

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'If you have open shelving in your kitchen, use glass jars as decorative accents,' says designer Nina Lichtenstein. 'Mix them with cookbooks, ceramics, or plants to create a curated display that's both functional and visually appealing.'

While closed storage in the kitchen can be beneficial from a tidiness perspective, open shelving offers the ability to curate a selection of items, almost like a gallery wall.

'What I really like about open shelves is the versatility they offer,' Devin Shaffer, lead interior designer at Decorilla. 'If you’re a plant lover, play around with small pots like succulents. There’s a wide variety to choose from and they’ll immediately add life and vibrancy to the room. If you’re more into Art Deco, adding colorful objects like vases, clocks, and perhaps pieces with different shapes and geometry will do wonders.'

Shaffer stresses that overcrowding open shelving is a common mistake; it's crucial to be thoughtful about what is going onto open shelves in the kitchen, so as not to create a space that feels cluttered.

'Another great advantage of open shelves is the optical illusion they provide,' says Shaffer. 'They are great for letting those specific and handpicked decor pieces breathe. The overall effect should be cohesive yet simple. Embrace minimalism by leaving some areas sparsely adorned, allowing both decorated and empty spaces to stand out.'

Shop the Lakshmi-inspired edit

Below, find some kitchen essentials that can easily be placed on open shelving units.

Hannah Ziegler
News Editor

Hannah is Homes & Gardens’ News Editor, with a focus on celebrity style and entertainment content. She got her start in media as a digital editorial assistant at ELLE Canada, and has since written about lifestyle and culture for publications such as Nylon and i-D.

Her love of film is rivalled only by one with a great soundtrack, and she hopes to someday decorate a Nancy Meyers-worthy kitchen.