At CliqStudios, our design team specializes in helping homeowners discover the perfect kitchen design ideas to fit their unique needs. Most often this includes kitchen cabinetry and storage solutions, but also open kitchen shelving ideas.

This design idea isn’t for everyone and doesn’t work for all situations (House Beautiful) listed a few pros and cons of open kitchen shelving), but when properly planned and installed correctly, it can transform your kitchen in unexpected ways. Our top 5 favorite open shelving ideas represent just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, but we think they’re among the best examples of how and when to include open shelving in your kitchen design.

HGTV Design Makeover

Cliqstudios austin harbor
Cliqstudios austin harbor

When Velinda, the business manager of HGTV Design Star winner Emily Henderson’s design studio, reached out to us about her tiny 49-square-foot kitchenette, we were ready for the challenge. Henderson routinely does makeover takeovers for her employees, and Velinda wanted to renovate the dark and outdated kitchen in her bungalow’s cramped basement. 

After much deliberation, Velinda decided on open shelving to keep the space light and airy. For base cabinets, she chose Austin style in the color Harbor as the best fit. Harbor kept the small space light and bright, allowing her to incorporate color without making the room appear smaller.

Sparse Floating Shelves

brightly lit white galley kitchen with black base cabinets, white apron sink under a window with floating wood shelves on both sides
polished kitchen with black and white cabinets opens to a dining room with a large window stretching to the ceiling

Black and white cabinets create a neutral backdrop that works with styles ranging from traditional to industrial. This polished industrial style kitchen includes bike-chain stools, metal accents, and sparse floating shelves.

Since this is a smaller kitchen, the floating shelves open up the space quite effectively. Plenty of tall windows let in natural light, making the room feels much larger than it actually is. CliqStudios cabinets shown here are Rockford style painted in Carbon and Cloud White.

Bright White Open Shelving

Kitchen with White Inset Door Shaker Cabinets, Large Island and Custom Build Range Hood
This dream kitchen came to life with gorgeous White Shaker cabinets and custom built details.

The homeowner dreamed of remodeling her North Carolina kitchen for years. When it was time to start the project, she had every design detail planned out. Walls had to come down to accommodate everything she wanted. Having a cabinet front refrigerator and a massive island were among the items on her list for a dream kitchen, and opening up the space to include the seldom-used formal dining room worked like a charm.

White Inset Door Shaker Cabinet Drawers with stainless steel Wolf range
CliqStudios austinCH White

Bright open shelves surround the range hood, helping to keep one of the busiest parts of the kitchen clutter free. They also work to keep daily-use items handy and to display decorative pieces up high.

The base and wall cabinets she chose were our Austin style painted White.

Modern Minimalist Shelves

White Cabinets with Legs in a Modern Minimalist Kitchen
A unique combination of new and historic creates a truly one-of-a-kind kitchen.

This homeowner wanted a transitional look that preserved the existing woodwork and character of the 100-year-old home, while adding a modern, minimalist style.

Transforming his ideas into reality turned into a year-long journey of finding just the right people and products to make it happen.

Dayton White Kitchen Cabinets
Carefully curating a kitchen design that fits your lifestyle is what remodeling is all about.
Open Shelves Surround Large Kitchen Window
A new picture window floods this white kitchen with sunlight.

The homeowner heard about CliqStudios from one of his contractors, and he like the internet-based cabinet idea. He combined our cabinets (Dayton style in Urban Stone paint) with locally sourced wood for the island, and light fixtures recreated from those he liked at a local restaurant. 

As a part of his minimalist style, the homeowner opted for no wall cabinets. He also chose thin countertops that nearly match the cabinets.

Natural Wood on White

Dayton Cabinets in Cloud White, a herringbone backsplash, and pendant lighting.

The herringbone backsplash and beautiful pendant lighting definitely take center stage in this kitchen. The rustic wood flooring carries over to the open shelving over the spacious peninsula. Dayton cabinets painted in Cloud White add just the right touch of elegance and comfort to this small kitchen space.

Large peninsula in white kitchen.
white kitchen with peninsula.

Open shelving doesn’t have to be extensive to make a statement — it can be as subtle as you choose. As Ken Kesey once said, “You don’t need a big tuning fork to find E.”

Open shelving and floating shelves can do a lot for a kitchen design; however, they’re not for everyone. To find out more, and to see if they’re right for your unique kitchen, talk to a CliqStudios designer about these and other storage solutions.