8 Reasons to Consider Open Shelving in Your Kitchen

Reasons to consider open shelving in your kitchen

Open shelving, especially in a kitchen, is a trend that’s currently having a moment in the sun. Aside from suiting just about any style, whether it be contemporary, farmhouse, rustic or traditional, it also has some wonderfully practical advantages that make it that much more desirable.

Here are some of the reasons why our top designers are recommending it.

1. Open shelving can help you make the most of your small kitchen by using vertical space

Storage is prime when it comes to kitchens and, if you have a small one, using open shelving to fill your vertical space will help it to look bigger, brighter and roomier.

“Built-in cabinetry can be bulky and imposing in a confined area, especially if you have doors that open outwards. So using an open system instead will allow you to accommodate more shelves while creating a sense of airiness”, explains Christina Chirila, one of our interior experts.


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2. It’s a great way to show off your beautiful dishes and glassware

With open kitchen shelving, beautiful serving dishes, clever gadgets and stylish crockery are all on display, allowing you to show off your prized culinary possessions as you would with ornaments on a bookshelf.

It also gives you the opportunity to incorporate them into the day-to-day functionality of your kitchen, making them both utilitarian and ornamental. “Why hide your finest chinaware or Waterford crystal behind closed doors when you could use it as part of your décor?” Christina enthuses.

Reasons to consider open shelving in your kitchen
Reasons to consider open shelving in your kitchen


3. Open shelving can help you keep your kitchen organised and clutter-free

Kitchens are one of the busiest rooms in your home. So much activity requires many resources, from appliances and crockery to saucepans and food items. 

Modern countertop appliances seem to keep multiplying as innovative brands create more gadgets to make our lives easier. A simple toaster and kettle are now merely starting points. Microwaves, coffee machines, ice machines, soda streams and air fryers frequently live on our kitchen counters, causing clutter and chaos.

A clever way to reduce overcrowding on your counter is to allocate appliances that are used less frequently to your lower open shelves. This saves you from having to dig in a cupboard and haul it out, but it also prevents your countertops from becoming de facto storage areas. 

Whether you're shelving small appliances or kitchenware, Cristina recommends that anything you use daily should be placed on the lower shelves, while items of occasional use - like the fancy salad spinner you got for Christmas - should go higher up. 

4. It’s a great way to add personality and style to your kitchen

The lovely thing about having open shelving in kitchens is that you can style them to match your aesthetic. 

If your kitchen has a blue and white theme, you can paint your shelves in complementary hues or cover them with patterned wallpaper to add some texture. If you have a natural wood design, treated shelves in light beech or ash will enhance the appeal, especially if you add a few plants on top.

Although kitchens are designed to be more practical than the rest of your home, there is no need to sacrifice your style. Gone are the small white tiles and laminate countertops of old - your kitchen can be functional, useful and express your own unique personality all at the same time. Custom-designed shelves are the perfect way to do that. 

Reasons to consider open shelving in your kitchen
Reasons to consider open shelving in your kitchen

5. It’s perfect for displaying seasonal décor or plants

The biophilic trend - the movement towards bringing the outdoors in, usually in the form of indoor plants - shows no sign of slowing down. There is something incredibly calming about having lots of greenery dotted around your home.

Kitchens tend to get so cluttered that we often forget about adding plants, but, says Cristina, it's one of the best places to put them, especially if you have open shelves.

"Kitchens are usually built in such a way that they get a large amount of natural light. While many indoor plants don't need direct sunlight, they do need a certain amount of light to flourish. Therefore, adding pot plants to your open shelves will not only look amazing, but it's also the perfect environment to create beautiful indoor vegetation."

6. You can use open shelving to create a breakfast bar or dining area

The concept of a "social kitchen" is one of the biggest must-haves when it comes to modern designs, allowing family and friends to gather in the heart of the home and partake in both the preparation and consumption of a communal meal.

“This new trend revives the nostalgic charm of kitchens gone by where they were conceptualised specifically to host guests with convivial ease”, says Christina. Breakfast bars or open dining areas in the form of a central island are the ideal ways to do this.

Whether you’re looking for a glamorous aesthetic where modern equipment and glossy finishes are on display, or something more homely and paired back in the form of a wooden block at the end of an open counter, they’re easily achievable.

Just add barstools and your cafe-style eating nook will be perfectly composed.

Reasons to consider open shelving in your kitchen
Reasons to consider open shelving in your kitchen

7. It’s a great way to show off your culinary skills

But how, you ask? Surely a few pots and pans can't say that much about your cooking abilities. 

Cristina says it's all about appearances. Open shelves in your kitchen are the perfect places to store chunky hardcover recipe books, specialised cutting boards and a variety of unusual ingredients in uniform glass jars that line up in orderly rows.

Your extensive spice collection can be displayed here too, adding to the impression that you are a Masterchef with a few tricks up your sleeve. All you need is a foolproof go-to recipe for those spontaneous dinner parties and your culinary whizzkid makeover is complete. 

8. Open shelving makes it easy to find what you need when cooking

Another advantage of open shelving is that you can locate items without having to scrabble through drawers and cupboards whenever you need something - especially mid-cook.

“Accessibility is key in a kitchen and having everything where you can see it is a huge advantage," says Cristina. "You’ll feel more organised, use many of your dishes more frequently and save yourself an enormous amount of frustration. 

She suggests storing things like mugs, dishware and pans that you use daily on the lower shelves. Higher shelves can be allocated to lesser used items such as large serving dishes, cookbooks, plants and ornaments. 

In Conclusion

If you’re considering installing open shelving in your kitchen, you’ll find that it opens up a myriad of useful opportunities that optimise the functionality and enjoyment of your space, and adds a modern and varied design feature that will delight you for years to come.

The FCI London team are experts when it comes to conceptualising, building and installing bespoke shelving, so let’s put our heads together and convert your kitchen into a contemporary culinary masterpiece.

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