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Kitchen Inspiration: How to Display Dishes on Beautiful Open Shelving

Entry #293, October 7, 2010

I am always in awe of kitchen’s that can pull off beautiful organization and display on open shelving. For one, you can not just throw everything on the shelf and leave it, as it is now display too.  Then, you can’t just have the Scooby Doo collection of glasses with the 10 different color bowls sitting in the same area – it will look haphazard!

open shelves_aqua

Love how these shelves are simple

Here are open shelving tips from houzz.com, that will help you pick the right dishes to display. It may help you figure out if open shelving is for your home.

Tip 1:

Your biggest enemy is dust. If you don’t use the items often, you will have to keep them free of dust. Also, you should take them all down a few times a month and give the shelves a quick dusting.

open shelves_yellow

This all white kitchen only has the pops of yellow for accents

Tip 2:

Arrange items with similar shapes or colors to keep it looking like a total mishmash of clutter. For example, you might want to show off your collection of sugar bowls and creamers, or stick to all-white items on the shelves.


Treat each bowl, glass, or plate like a piece of sculpture when you are arranging. Take a step back and check out the composition n as you go along. Leave ample space between items.

open shelves_red

These simple wood shelves match the countertops

Tip 4:

Getting tired of the look of your kitchen? Switch the shelf arrangement around! If you have a neat row of clear wine glasses on the open shelves, you can switch them out with a colorful set of mixing bowls from the cabinets below to get a totally new look.

Tip 5:

There are no rules. Don’t be afraid to try different arrangements and mixing and matching different objects together. Check out the images below to steal ideas!

open shelves_blue

Perfect blue dishes amongst a sea of white

For more open shelving ideas, visit the organization area of Stagetecture.

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  1. rachel

    Do you guys have any sources on some of the shelving pictured above? I’m trying to find places to get deep shelves like (really any of) those that can handle a little bit of weight. Help!

  2. Post author

    Hi Rachel, no I don’t have sources for these specific shelving options. I would suggest Ikea, West Elm or the Shelving store for the wire type shelving. West Elm and Ikea have more of the chunky wood varieties. Hope that helped Rachel, good luck! :)

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Stagetecture combines my passions - architecture, home staging, organization, food recipes, decor, and everything home! Poke around, stay awhile, there's something here for you!

-Ronique Gibson, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP

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