Ina Garten's open shelving proves that the most simple storage can still feel personal

We're putting our most-used kitchen dishware on display with inspiration from Barefoot Contessa's functional design feature

Ina Garten
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When it comes to kitchen inspiration, we're constantly coming back to none other than The Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten. While her Instagram page boasts a wealth of delectable recipes, the design of her culinary space is just as bookmarkable. We're particularly into a recent video she posted with her husband, which showcases her lovely open shelving unit.

A home trend everywhere from the living room to the bathroom, open shelving is beloved for its sleek appearance and showcasing abilities. If you've been considering trying it out for yourself, the experts remind us there are a few strategies to keep in mind. 

'Styling open shelving comes down to your own personal style,' says String Furniture CMO Bo Hellberg. 'Experiment with your style, and don’t overwhelm the shelves.' While it can be tempting to utilize open shelving as an opportunity to display tons of prized possessions, less is often more. 

'When it comes to styling my own shelves, I have found that selecting just a few beautiful pieces to display can make the most decorative impact and be the most sentimental,' Bo says.

Bo Hellberg
Bo Hellberg

Bo Hellberg is the CMO at String Furniture – the storage powerhouse hailing from Stockholm, Sweden. In 2020, String Furniture was awarded Furniture Supplier of the Year, but the basis of String's designs has shaped storage habits since 1949. In 1952, String shelves (now String Furniture) were ordered to decorate the newly built UN headquarters in New York City. 

To narrow down what you want to display, Bo suggests thinking about the different tones we want to work with. 'Coordinating different colors on your shelves is another simple and effortless way of making these pieces stand out and decoratively tie a room together,' he explains. 

Ina's approach of neutral, ceramic dishes along with glasses is a foolproof plan for those wanting a simple, refined appearance on their shelves.

kitchen open shelving

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Finally, going back to basics can be one of the best ways to look at open shelving; everyday dishes and glassware often get thrown behind a cupboard door or into a dishwasher, so if you have pieces you are particularly fond of, open kitchen shelving could be the solution.

'Many forget that storage can be part of the interior design scheme, and by displaying and styling our objects, we can merge function with decoration,' Bo says. 

Shop the Ina Garten-inspired edit

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.