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Practical and Trendy: 40 Open Shelving Ideas for the Modern Kitchen

Modern kitchens are much more than just places where you just cook. They are increasingly becoming smart, functional and stylish social settings where the entire family can come together after long, hard day. Combine it with a smart dining area and you have the perfect space to host parties over the weekends and through the Holiday Season. This is precisely why your kitchen needs to be as aesthetic as it is functional and open kitchen shelves make a big difference in this regard. Open kitchen shelving gives you ample storage space even while turning it into a chic and elegant display without trying too hard.

The idea that open kitchen shelves are not for everyone is a bit far-fetched. Even if you are not the most organized person around, there are plenty of easy way in which you can decorate the open kitchen shelf without creating a clutter. All it needs is a bit of planning, the right style of open shelving and of course, a dash of inspiration. We are here today to offer you all the inspiration you need along with the 40 coolest open shelving ideas that we believe will hold sway in the year ahead.

A Hint of Color

Open shelving is as much about the overall kitchen aesthetics as it is about practicality and a sense of spaciousness. This year, consider adding a bit of color to your kitchen with open shelves that go beyond the mundane. Colorful and sleek open shelving looks as much at home in contemporary, minimal and modern kitchens as it does in retro and shabby chic spaces. Since the rest of your kitchen is likely to be largely neutral in hue, open colorful open shelves in mellow yellow, bright orange or even cool blue can make a big difference to the ambiance.

RELATED: Trendy Display: 50 Kitchen Islands with Open Shelving

Innovative kitchen counter design and open shelving from Scavolini
Modern kitchen in lime green and white with plenty of shelf space
Open kitchen and dining area idea for the small modern apartment

If the shelves themselves are not colorful, then take a different approach and turn to a colorful backdrop coupled with dashing floating shelves in gray or white. And for those really adventurous, there is the option of combining those fabulous, brightly colored floating shelves with ones in neutral tones to complement the color scheme ad style of your kitchen. Get creative and the options are endless!

Lighter shades of blue, gray and pops of color give the kitchen a retro touch
Quirky and curated use of open floating shelves in the uber-minimal kitchen from Ballerina Kuchen
Small wall-mounted shelves and a single large floatings helf above the kitchen counter bring space-savvy style
Cheerful kitchen in yellow and gray with modular shelving
Industrial style sconce light illuminate the dashing kitchen shelf

It’s All About Lighting

If you have heard us harp endlessly about how essential lighting is in any room of you home, then let us reiterate this by saying that it is twice as important in the kitchen. Combining aesthetic elements with task lighting is essential for the perfect kitchen and open shelves with beautiful LED lighting or cleverly placed recessed lights add to this ‘picture-perfect’ look. Trendy modern options like LED strip lighting have made open shelving into a more attractive proposition in the last few years. Not only do they give the kitchen, a refined, curated vibe, but also turn even the smallest niche above the kitchen counter into cool shelf space.

RELATED: 15 Lighting Ideas for the Perfect Kitchen

Open shelves and cupboards in the kitchen help create a lovely display
Sleek floating wooden shelves allow you to create a visual connection between the kitchen and open plan living space
Slim floating shelves in gray create a smart and space-savvy kitchen display
Smart hanging boxes and open shelves shape a fabulous kitchen counter that is super-convenient
Stack your precious china in style with custom shelves from Leicht
Translucent glass doors bring visual lightness and organizational ease to the small kitchen
Beautiful kitchen fom Schuller has a classic modern vibe along with gray goodness
Beautifully lit floating open shelves are perfect for the small contemporary kitchen

Maximizing Space

When we talk about kitchen shelving, it is undoubtedly space that inevitably defines what you can or cannot do. Open kitchen shelves give you the perfect opportunity to maximize display and storage area in your kitchen without having to waste precious square footage. Fabulous open shelves from the likes of Leicht and Scavolini fully utilize the vertical space on offer as they grace the walls of your kitchen! From the small corner that is forgotten to the little nook above the prep zone; these open shelves fit in pretty much anywhere and everywhere.

RELATED: How To Make Small Kitchens Feel Bigger

Hexagonal wall-mounted shelves bring geo style to the modern kitchen
Neo Lith creates an open and exclusive kitchen island fill of contemporary charm
Scavolini Diesel series creates a space-savvy and stylish kitchen that doubles as the family zone
Simple and elegant open shelf design for the small modern kitchen

Open shelves and small kitchens go hand in hand. It is in those small studio apartments and tiny kitchens where every inch matters that open shelves make the biggest impact. They not only offer priceless additional shelf space, but also ensure that the small kitchen remains cheerful, breezy and visually open – something that you simply cannot achieve with closed cabinets.

Stunning contemporary kitchen with a versatile island from next 125
Use the space above the kitchen counter to cultivate your own herb garden!
Wooden shelves usher rustic beauty and thetural contrast into contemporary kitchens
Dashing kitchen in gray also comes with a cool home bar
Extensive series of kitchen shelves make great use of the ample wall space
Glass front cabinets for the contemporary kitchen from NEFF

Open Shelves and Closed Cabinets

Trying to find the balance between an attractive and an organized kitchen? One of the easiest and bet ways to get this done is by bringing together open shelving and closed, wall-mounted cabinets. This allows you to tuck away all those extra pots and pans with ease, hide away any mess and keep the kitchen organized and neat even as the few open shelves display your best silverware and chine ever so proudly.

Combine open and closed shelf design to create your dream kitchen
Create a balance between open and closed dynamics in the elegant kitchen
Dashing kitchen in black and charcoal gray with wall-mounted cabinets and wooden shelves
German made kitchens from Hacker are both functional and fashionable

The last few seasons have seen designers take a turn towards the use of more natural materials and wooden floating shelves coupled with woodsy cabinets can give your modern kitchen this warm, texture-filled upgrade. And if you are still squeamish about open shelving, then start off with cabinets that feature translucent glass doors before you take the big plunge.

Open cabinet is the perfect place to proudly display your nice china!
Space-savvy modern kitchen design with modular shelving from Howdens
Wall of wooden shelves from floor-to-ceiling make a grand style statement
Wall-mounted cabinets from Zeyko also offer ample display space
Wooden kitchen with a smart island and open shelves from Team7
Bold and gorgeous modern kitchen in marble and wood

Industrial Kitchen Shelves

A hot trend in kitchen design, industrial style open shelves are both easy to incorporate and plenty of fun. The best part of it is that you really do not need an industrial kitchen to add one of these to your kitchen. Industrial-styled shelving looks equally good in modern kitchens and their inherent simplicity and minimalism make sure they fit in with even the most polished kitchens. The dark, metallic frame coupled with wooden boards of these shelves also adds textural and visual contrast to an otherwise seemingly monotonous setting.

Gorgeous cabinets with etched glass doors coupled with open shelves to create a functional kitchen space
Metallic frame and wooden boards combine to shape an industrial style open shelving in the kitchen
Modern industrial style kitchen shelving from Sachsenküchen
Black metallic frame gives these kitchen shelves a modern industrial style

Sherry Nothingam

Sherry is a blogger who loves to live her life to the fullest. She enjoys everything associated with design, décor and stylish modern trends. Born in California, Sherry has grown up on open ranches and in a wild setting, which has defined her taste for design and developed her interest in examining how structures and homes interact with the beauti[...]

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