In my kitchen we used to have a cabinet on the wall next to our window and it was sooooo dark! Plus, that cabinet was hard to get to so we never stored anything in it. The obvious solution- TAKE IT DOWN!!! It was the best decision ever. Suddenly, the sun could fill the room much easier. Plus, I installed open shelves so I could have a pretty place to decorate!
this is a picture of the house when we bought it. Obviously we’ve changes a lot of things. Here is a summary of our budget kitchen updates.
So, if you’re like me and have open shelves in your kitchen, I wanted to share the formula to perfect open shelves. It involves three layers that you put together to create a beautifully styled presentation.
the formula to styling open shelves
First off, you’re going to want to clear off everything you might already have on the shelves and give them a thorough dusting. Mine were pretty dusty!
I like to redo the styling on my shelves every month or so just to freshen things up and make sure everything is clean. I rarely buy new things for this exercise, but like to shop my house to give it a new look.
level 1- ART & ANCHORS (back items)
First off, start by gathering the back items. This’ll be things like art, cutting boards, propped trays, and tall items like a vase. This is what will go closest to the wall. It’ll also be what adds height to fill the vertical space. When pulling items for your shelves, pay attention to the colors and make sure you’re repeating the same few colors for a beautiful final result.
Place these items on the shelf first.
level 2- PRACTICAL & PRETTY (middle items)
Next, it’s time to grab the items that will fill the bulk of the shelves. This’ll be items like bowls, stacked plates, glasses, smaller vases and vessels. Layer those onto the shelf while making sure to pay attention to the height of the pieces- put short items by the taller items to get the eye moving from art to bowls.
Also verify that the practical items that you use are on lower shelves so that you’re creating a functional display. You want it to be pretty, but it also needs to work for your family! This is why the rainbow vases always stay up top on my shelves- those are just for display.
level 3- FUN & FILLERS (front items)
Finally, the last items! This is where you’ll add your personality with fun and playful accents. Pineapple bell- check! 😉 Grab some leaves from your garden that you could throw in a vase of water or faux plants to add softness. Finish the shelf by tucking these into the display. Make sure no items are touching, just layer them with space so everything has room to breathe.
This was my first try at the styling. I didn’t end up liking the green leaves and faux peonies on the same shelf. So I switched things up a bit.
I like to group an odd number of items together. I usually layer three objects- one from each of the above group- and create a triangular grouping with them to balance out the shelf.
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Once everything is up, stand back and evaluate your work. Have a critical eye and make sure the shelves aren’t overcrowded. How does the shelf flow? Make tweaks until there’s a nice balance between the colors, texture, and heights of the objects. Taking a picture can help you see it from a point of view so that you can style everything beautifully.
The tweaks are the most important part! But having the basic formula for styling open shelves with the three layers should give you a really good foundation too! Here’s the formula summerized-
Alright- there you have it! It took me 15 minutes to get these how I wanted, plus it was a free change! I was looking through my archives and have a few more kitchen shelf styling tips here. I want to hear from you- how often do you switch up your decor? Do you have open shelves in your kitchen? Let me know in the comments!
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