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Beautiful open shelving ideas for kitchens – with advice from the experts

Open shelving is a great option if you are the proud owner of an impressive crockery collection.

Open shelving for kitchens is a great way to add extra storage space to a room, as well as wow factor. Adjustable shelves, lighting and neat joinery will enhance the look of a piece like this, as well as offering a way to group favourite items and add impact to a scheme.

OPEN SHELVING FOR KITCHENS

'Open shelves often reflect the temperament and personality of those who use a kitchen. In a busy chef’s kitchen, they provide ample space to quickly reach frequently used kitchen equipment. Whereas, in a family kitchen open shelving provides the opportunity to curate a beautiful still life display with decorative objects and artwork – blurring the distinction between cooking and domestic areas with a balance between storage and aesthetics,' says Merlin Wright, Design Director at British Standard by Plain English.

1. USE SHELVING TO CREATE INTEREST

Shelving doesn't have to always be practical, it can be used to house quirky curios and objets. Try mixing large statement pieces with smaller items grouped together. When grouping, consider the shape that the objects create collectively and play with colour and form to keep things interesting. Glass lidded pots will look more enticing if filled with colourful props, whether they be functional or decorative.

Open shelving for kitchens

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2. KEEP IT COHERENT

Keep things organized. Items placed in groups or in lines of threes, fours or fives will prevent the shelves looking untidy. When choosing the overall look, decide if you want the shelves to be made in a material which is a statement in itself, or if you want them to have a less prominent role, allowing your display to do all the talking.

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3. WORK IN RECLAIMED WOOD

Think carefully about the thickness you want each shelf to be. If you’re using wood, it pays to choose a chunky option, giving a strong, clean, confident appearance. Think too about whether you’d like shelves with adjustable heights to allow for flexibility.

4. EXPERT EYE

Commissioning a display piece from a furniture maker will make the very best use of a space. A joiner will work around awkward shapes in walls and conceal service pipes or wall boxing. Large pieces will be fixed and scribed to the shape of the wall and skirting, which gives a very neat finish. If shelves are to be adjustable, look for neat and unobtrusive methods of adjustability such as 5mm shelf pegs with a limited number of peg holes for each shelf.

Open shelving for kitchens

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5. SEE THE LIGHT

The materials and colours you opt to use for an open shelving unit can really make a difference to the overall scheme. And think carefully about what you are displaying - this will ensure each shelf is made to allow sufficient depth and to carry weight without warping.

Open plan shelving ideas

6. FIT IN

Open shelving can create a real statement in a room and is both practical and visually pleasing. It is also a more economical option than a fully enclosed storage unit. It is particularly suited to small recesses in areas such as either side of a chimneybreast, helping to visually correct uneven proportions.