Open storage can be a beautiful thing – a way to showcase your favorite items or visually open up a space. Or a disaster – too many items on the shelf create visual chaos. Here’s how to make it work for you.
Open Storage 101
1. Only use your prettiest or most colorful display pieces on open shelving.
Rather than cluttering the display wall with lots of small items on each shelf, only one perfect accessory is featured. In a small space like this one, simplicity is more effective in highlighting the focal wall and using pieces that pick up colors from the art work is perfect!
One pretty piece of glass per shelf so each can shine. Literally. Keep them dust free and sparkling!
2. Keep balance and scale in mind.
3. Don’t overcrowd each shelf.
Like the glass display in #1, displaying a collection with lots of breathing room lets each piece make its statement.
4. Keep the display items clean and sparkling.
5. Find attractive storage baskets or bins that blend with your decor to hold unattractive things like toys, magazines, remotes, etc.
There are so many pretty storage containers available these days that it won’t be hard to find ones you like to hide the ugly parts of every day life. Whether they all match, like above, or whether each bin is distinctive, choose what suits your style and then fill them up with clutter (that is no longer clutter!).
In the Kitchen
The main challenge with open storage in the kitchen is keeping the items clean. It seems no matter how far away from the stove the display storage is, grease and dust accumulate. Make sure to clean the open shelving items regularly, especially if it’s glassware or dishes – you want them to sparkle!
Open shelving seems most suited to country or very modern styled kitchens. The items displayed on these shelves appear to be regularly used items (except maybe the top shelf) consequently keeping them clean shouldn’t be an issue. Notice how the items are somewhat color coordinated to reduce the visual clutter.
These boxy open shelves and displaying only clear or white dishes adds a distinctly modern vibe to this kitchen.
With the open shelves right above the sink/dishwasher, putting things away would be quick and easy. Note how the chunky shelves are of the same material as the cabinets below.
Open shelving could serve as a room divider and excellent place for storage of platters or oversize serving pieces. Those are often the prettiest dishes we own and worthy of display.
In the Bedroom
A great space-saving idea is to use a bookshelf or other open shelving as a headboard. I recommend not using anything too heavy or too fragile, just in case it falls out while someone is in bed – think safety with this headboard idea.
Open shelving can be a great architectural feature addition to a room. Whether a custom built-in like above, or a budget version you make yourself with bookshelves flanking a daybed, the open shelving provides interest and storage.
In the Bath
Open shelving in a bathroom can be very attractive and spa-like when all your linens match. When you display a lot of mismatched linens, the effect becomes cluttered and jumbled. Don’t use open storage to display hair or bath products or appliances – use pretty boxes or bins to hide the tangle of cords or bottles or put them behind doors.
Open Shelves Around the House
Instead of a traditional china cabinet or armoire consider open shelving in the dining room to display your serving pieces.
Matching storage boxes in this home office certainly make for a pretty wall of organization. What it really does is keep all those open shelves cohesive and a design feature instead of a design disaster.
Open Shelving Makes Practical Storage
We’re always looking for additional storage and often times our cupboards and closets are stuffed full. One remedy is to utilize open shelving, whether built-in or free-standing, to create additional storage. It has the added benefit of offering a place to display your favorite pieces. Do you use open storage in your home? Do you feel like it’s only for the kitchen or can open shelving work in other rooms? Drop us a line in the comment section below and let us know your thoughts on open shelving.
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