Illuminated glass shelves for kitchen

Kitchen storage: 5 reasons kitchen open shelving is popular for 2014

2014 is seeing the increasing emergence of open kitchen shelving within kitchen design and furniture options, a stylish yet practical trend we expect to continue.  

Kitchen island with open shelving

Kitchen and kitchen island with built-in open shelving

 Standard kitchen items such as wine glasses, jars and dishes are now not just functional as cooking or serving aids, but increasingly decorative and pleasing on the eye.  This means where previously stashed away behind closed cabinet doors, they are now more often celebrated on open display!  Just take the beauty of Le Creuset cookware, instantly recognisable and known the world over for both its quality and looks. This cookware exudes status, class, and as with other highly decorative kitchen features is wasted if hidden away in a cupboard….which is where open shelving comes into its own!

Here are 5 benefits of open shelving within kitchens:-

1)      Open plan shelving is functional
Open shelving has the obvious purpose of providing space for storage.  Whether as an alternative to wall cabinets, shelving beneath wall cabinets, built into a kitchen island, or as a glass shelf breakfast bar, it introduces the means for storing items in a visible manner, and often introduces additional storage within a kitchen. 

Kitchen with open shelving

Kitchen with open shelving

For kitchens lacking a generous light source, under-shelf lighting may prove advantageous, bringing warmth at the same time as ensuring a kitchen bright enough for comfortable use. Open shelving also provides quick and easy access for people so open storage integrated within furniture is popular for cook books or wine shelves, and especially within base units and kitchen islands. 



2)      Open shelving can make a kitchen space look bigger
Open shelving works in kitchens of all sizes but is particularly effective within small kitchens as it can make the physical size of a kitchen space appear larger.

White kitchen with open shelves

Open shelving can break up a run of wall units to prevent them overwhelming the space.

 Lacking the solid presence of wall units is an advantage because you can make use of upper kitchen regions for storage but without the risk of wall cabinets making your kitchen feel enclosed.   Glass open shelving will further enhance this effect as glass surfaces reflect light and create a perception of added depth.


3)     Kitchen  Open shelving is highly versatile
Open shelving for kitchens is a highly versatile option and can be used for creating a range of very different kitchen looks.  For example, open shelving is available in a range of colours and finishes, and in conjunction with lighting options.  It works for both traditional kitchen and contemporary kitchen styles; integrated open shelving very much suits traditional or country kitchens, and in a modern kitchen open shelving helps create a sleek and fresh appearance.  Open shelving is also very effective for two tone kitchen styles or works well to break up a run of wall units and in doing so can bring a new dynamic to a design. Suitable for both large and small kitchens, and for open plan arrangements, the same choice of shelving within the living area as well as kitchen will introduce a flow of continuity from one room into the other. 


4)      Decorative open shelving for kitchens
Aside from being practical, open shelving enables you to express personality and easily put your own stamp on your kitchen, making it feel like home. 

Two tone kitchen open shelving

Two tone kitchen with open shelving

For example, hanging art work behind open shelving, storing cookbooks, family photos, travel mementos or personal artefacts will all reflect character if on open display. This also allows for a quick and easy kitchen update if you decide on an inexpensive refresher, as you can easily swap what’s on display, or replace one colour scheme with a new one.

 Open shelving offers the means for showcasing possessions, but can also form a decorative feature or statement within itself. For example, tall open shelving won’t fail to catch the eye (and is ideal for bookcases) or else glass open shelving is extremely elegant and a popular choice for kitchen feature pieces.  Illuminated open shelving will draw attention and can also include LED lighting, with an option to change colour according to your mood. 


Feature kitchen shelving

Open shelving can be designed specifically to make a statement within a kitchen

5)      Open shelving can be less costly
Open shelves are usually less costly than wall cabinets, largely because there is less material and no handles present. You might choose open shelving in place of wall cabinets, or else intersperse open shelves amongst wall units.  In either scenario, doing so is usually a less costly option.   Two-tone kitchen shelving arrangements are also an opportunity for reducing costs as you can combine different priced finishes within your open shelf arrangement.


A word of caution for open shelving in kitchens…
The LWK Kitchens team love the current open shelving kitchen trend…but we should advise this is perhaps not the best option for the more untidy of homeowners (which I will admit myself to being guilty of!)  Open shelving is stunning and ideal for display, but you must maintain clean and clutter-free shelves, or sadly risk spoiling the look. 



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