Open Shelving Ideas And Considerations

So you’re tired of the standard cabinets with boring ole’ doors on them. We get it! You want to showcase some of those prized possessions, make the room feel lighter, and mix it up. Sometimes it’s as easy as adding glass to an existing door or taking it off altogether. Other times, you need to remove a cabinet or two and replace it with shelving. But, what works best for what you are trying to do? Here are the different ways you can achieve this open shelving look and some pros and cons for each method.

Exposed Shelves

Open shelving by way of exposed shelves has become a more common ask in recent years. Floating shelves are the most common approach – either to match your cabinets, be in an accented wood color, or even a metal like stainless steel. This type of shelving is usually thick and has a hollow core so you can install a mounting bracket to the studs and slide the shelf right overtop. Floating shelves are a little more contemporary and less fussy. You can also use brackets or exposed bars to create a more traditional or industrial look. Brackets also allow for additional material options, like glass, that are thinner and frailer and cannot be installed as “floating” without support. Cabinet boxes that are completely open are also fully exposed.

What to consider:

Exposed shelves are the easiest way to access items. There is no need to open a door or drawer in order to get to things, but they still keep things up off the counter and out of your workstation. Think easy to reach oils and spices, cookbooks, mixing bowls, or dishes. What you should consider though is that these things will be constantly seen, so they should likely be good-looking. If you are keeping flour on a shelf, you will likely want to put it in a good looking glass jar first. Since these things are highly visible, you also have to keep it organized or your kitchen will look like it’s in despair. Cleaning can also be an issue since exposed shelves easily attract dust. You may need to wipe things down regularly. If your items are used enough you may just need to rinse dishes off before use.

Behind Closed Doors

Closed-door cabinets can also achieve a lighter and more open feel while keeping items safe. Our cabinet lines have options for doors that are “prepped for glass” essentially meaning the center panel of the cabinet door is missing. You can then install any style of glass imaginable. Clear, patterned, frosted, and colored are some of the most common. The interior of the cabinet can then make the space more interesting. It is very easy to upgrade to glass shelves or add fun lighting inside of the cabinet to illuminate your belongings. You can easily and effectively create this open shelving option in both wall and base cabinets.

What to consider:

Unlike exposed shelves, you have an extra layer of protection, so items inside remain cleaner, longer. You also have more control over how exposed the items are. For example, with clear glass, you will be able to see everything. However, with a fully frosted glass panel, you may only be able to note colors and general shapes. On the downside, you still have an extra “step” in order to get to your items – you have to open doors to get to them. Because of this, glass cabinet doors are typically better for items that you don’t need to get to as quickly, like china.

Which open shelving option do you prefer? Or would you rather keep everything hidden and in its place? Check out some other Ways to Elevate Your Kitchen or learn more about your Glass Front Cabinet options.