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What You Need to Know When Styling Open Shelves in The Kitchen

Bright kitchen with open shelves. Beautifully styled with white plates, colourful mugs, sugar bowl, plants and vase.

Styling any empty space including open shelving can be an overwhelming task mostly because we are afraid we might make mistakes. I'm sure we will and that's the fun part! Learn to embrace your "styling mistakes" because they are unique just like you. I am someone who thinks there are no wrong ways of doing it as long as it makes you happy. However, if you are wondering what differentiates cohesive from not so put together looking shelf, there are a few tricks you could use to get that magazine-ready look. After implementing the following styling tips I'm sure you'll tell yourself at the end - Hey, I think I just became a designer! :)

6 Tips For Styling Open Shelves Like a Pro:

1. What goes on

You might find yourself staring at the empty shelf for a while and think - Now what? What do I actually get on there? Keep in mind, it's an open shelf and there is nothing to protect it from dust falling, faster than on the regular closed cabinets. You want to make sure you place only those items you use regularly. Dust won't stand a chance with your favourite mug when you're using it every morning.

2. What about the colour scheme?

Choose one or two colour schemes and stick with it. You will be surprised by the end result. There is nothing wrong with having it colourful either. In case you really like all the colours of the rainbow I would suggest to pick the pieces from the same collection family.

Open shelves in a kitchen filled with colourful china, plates and green glass bottles

3. Rule of odds and layering objects

Now that you've chosen your colours it's time to dot those items right. The common design rule of odd numbers and different heights will apply. For example, you could get the group of three objects - the large one goes at the back, the medium-sized in front of the large one and the smallest closer to the front edge. That way, it will look like a happy stylish little family. :) It works the same way if you choose 5 or 7 items.

4. Much needed gaps

You want to make sure you leave some room between the decor, so the work you did prior to it actually shows. Otherwise, it will end up looking too busy. You want your items to enjoy the privacy of their own personal space, just like you. :)

5. What geometry has to do with it?

Most likely you are styling more than one open shelf. When they are parallel to each other geometry plays an important part. You need to follow a diamond shape path when deciding where to dot the objects. In simple words - if you put a cookie jar on the top shelf, don't just place another item underneath in line with the jar. Move it diagonally either way, even if it's few centimetres. Trust me - it makes the difference.

6. Greenery makes everything better

Because we are styling a kitchen shelf it would be handy to put out a few potted herbs (depending on remaining space left). If you don't really use herbs much, how about getting a pothos - it grows fast, easy to maintain and it looks so beautiful with a vine hanging from the top.

If you are a plant lover like me, you might find interesting my previous article - how to choose the right plants and the importance of them.

Dark wood kitchen open shelving nicely decorated with white china and two pothos plants.

Well done, you did it! Now, all there is left to do is to take a step back, look at your masterpiece and see if there is anything you would like to add or take away. There are two methods that work for me: the first one - I would take a picture of all the shelves from different angles and stare at it for a few minutes to get the feel; or I would walk out of the room and come back later to get my own second opinion LOL.

Items You Might Like For Your Own Shelf Styling Project

Click on the image to shop

To summarise  - the overall cohesive visual effect you will get by combining the items with different heights & shapes, but the same or similar colour, following some basic geometry.

Do you have any shelf styling tips to share? Feel free to message me on and the best tip will be added to the article (with credits of course).

Are you looking for Eco-Friendly or Sustainable home decor? Take a look at carefully selected beautiful handmade products that can be easily purchased online. Do you need some interior design inspiration for your home? You might find your perfect style within these Mood Boards.

To Get Styling Tips and Inspiration The Green Way, simply subscribe and join the Green Creative Community.

Other articles you might find interesting:

Thank you for visiting! Till the next time - be kind and be creative. :)

See you soon! x



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(This article does contain affiliate links. I may receive a small commission when you click the above links and make purchases (at no extra cost to you). I try my best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you).


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