How To Style Kitchen Open Shelving

Hi! I hope y’all are having a great night.

I have a little problem in my kitchen. There is this one weird, completely solitary, upper cabinet to the left of my kitchen sink. It is a mystery really and serves no purpose other than holding a bunch of cookbooks that I rarely use and about 5 million sippy cups. It is hard to reach anything in it and I am just tired of looking at it!

Ever since I’ve seen all of the beautiful, light and airy kitchen photos flowing around the internet I have wanted to create some open shelving and this was my perfect opportunity. So yesterday morning I took the cabinet door off. Side note: sometimes if I can’t jump off the ledge into a project I will do something like take off a door or paint a big swatch of color on a wall so I know there is no turning back. Even as simple of a project as this I still had to do it. Jump all in.

I was undecided if I want to remove the cabinet altogether and replace it with floating shelves or if I just wanted to remove the door. I have seen it done both ways and I think either can look great. I was leaning towards the floating shelves but realized it was going to be difficult to find the size I needed and let’s say it together…spend less, use what we have. That is the 30 day mantra. So, I did the prudent thing and started styling with what I had.

I don’t think there is a scientific formula for styling a shelf or bookcase or vignette but it does get easier the more you do it. I think the number one tip I can give is to use what you love. If you have a few cookbooks that you love and use often display them. If there is a pile that you don’t like or don’t use store them or get rid of them altogether.

Also, there are reasons why some items travel with me from place to place that I can’t seem to let go of and those are the things I want to use in my home. My Incredible Chocolate Recipes cookbook is one of them and my big river rock from Jackson Hole, WY is another.

The second and last tip is don’t stuff the cabinets or shelves full, leave some white space. Room to breathe. I am guilty of this. You saw the bookcases in my office before picture, right?

So let’s have some fun with it. Here is my now open cabinet styled three different ways and I have named them accordingly :)




Simple Open Shelf Styling: Day 15 ~
Simple Open Shelf Styling: Day 15



Simple Open Shelf Styling: Day 15 ~
Simple Open Shelf Styling: Day 15



So which one is your favorite? I will let you know which one sticks…or maybe a combination of all three. Do you have any great styling tips or ideas?

I hope this was a fun and low intensity post to start the weekend! See ya tomorrow!


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  1. I’m going to be different and say #3 because I know how much you are into the mason jars and I love the sentimentality of the rock. The pumpkin is very fallish for now. I agree that it is a great space to redesign for each season/holiday!

  2. Hi Summer, I like the first one the best (maybe with the martini glasses on top for color). As you know I am not the best decorator so I can’t wait to see what you will come up with in the end.
    By the way, I love your blog.

  3. # 2…………..mostly because of the Season! But also really like #1 for year-round!! Love ya’!

  4. I like holiday glam for the holidays and rustic retreat for remainder of the year! It would be a totally perfect space to redesign seasonally. Love!

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