How to Decorate Open Kitchen Shelves

I love the look of open shelving in the kitchen so here are some of my tips and ideas on how to decorate open kitchen shelves.

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8 Steps to Style Open Kitchen Shelves

We have been in a constant remodel for the past several years. This space in our dining room has seen several different looks through the years including this one HERE and HERE.

Now that we have moved our home, we can start working on the actual kitchen area. We recently had the marriage wall removed and this really opened up our space.

So, while the main part of the kitchen area is being worked on, I created this pretty space. Because, I admit, I need some beauty in the chaos of remodeling. So, I hope that these tips can help you as I show you how to decorate open kitchen shelves.

Honey Pot Kitchen Open Shelf Style
How to Style Kitchen Shelves

How to Organize and Decorate Open Kitchen Shelves

  • Gather the items you use on a daily basis.
  • Choose items that are within the same color palette.
  • Use pieces that are of varying heights.
  • Use a mix of materials – glass, wood, copper, are a few options.
  • Keep items within easy reach.
Farmhouse Style Open Kitchen Shelves

Step 1: Start With Large Anchor Pieces

When styling shelves, the first thing I do is get my largest pieces to use as my anchor. For these shelves I chose the large ironstone platter and the wooden cutting boards that I made.

I place a large anchor piece in the middle of each shelf. You will notice that the ironstone platter and the wooden cutting boards are both placed so they lean against the wall instead of laying flat on the shelves. This gives more height and draws the eye around on the shelf details.

Rustic Farmhouse Open Shelving
Fall Farmhouse Kitchen Shelf Styling

Step 2: Use Odd Numbers

I don’t know why but almost everything looks better in groups of 3 or any other odd number. It can be similar items but always try to use items in odd numbered groups.

Rustic Farmhouse Industrial Shelf Style
DIY Cutting Boards on Farmhouse Style Rustic Industrial Shelves

Step 3: Use a Mix of Materials

Mixing a variety of materials that are still within the same color scheme creates a visual interest on the shelves. I love to use wood tones, white dishes, a few black dishes, metal and glass. Adding in greenery, real or faux, also gives a visual interest.

Wood and White Farmhouse Shelf Styling
Rustic Farmhouse

Step 4: Create Layers and Height

Layering objects creates interest and depth. You will notice that I have various elements further back on the shelf and then others pulled more towards the front. This creates depth and keeps the shelves from looking flat and boring.

Mix up the height of the items on the shelves. This again helps to keep the eyes moving from piece to piece on the shelves. You can create height by layering pieces like plates and the bowls. I also use small saucers in various sizes to creat height.

Rustic Style Shelf Kitchen Organization How to Style Kitchen Shelves
Simple Farmhouse Rustic Kitchen Shelves

Step 5: Style With a Purpose

In the kitchen, I style the shelves with a purpose. Almost everything on my shelves is used on a daily basis. Plates, bowls, coffee cups and the wooden utensils are all items that we reach for on a daily basis.

I like to stop and ask myself the question, is this important enough to have on this shelf? That helps me to evaluate what I am putting up and prevents me from adding a bunch of random things.

How to Style Open Shelving in the Kitchen

Step 6: Stick With the Same Color Scheme

I always choose to stick to neutral colors. Whatever your choice is, stick to the same color scheme to keep the shelves looking neat and tidy. My personal style is woods and whites with a touch of black.

Styling Open Shelving in the Kitchen

Step 7: Add a Touch of Cozy

I love to add a touch of cozy to my shelf space. Adding small plug in lights give a cozy feel in the evening as the sun goes down. I especially love adding this touch in the fall and winter months.

Step 8: Take a Step Back

Styling shelves can take time, and patience. One of the tips that I follow is to place something on the shelf, take a step back and look to see if it is pleasing to my eye. If not, move the item, step back and look again. I continue to do this until I get just the look I want.

Cozy Fall Kitchen
Simple Farmhouse Kitchen Shelves

The Ultimate Tip on How to Decorate Kitchen Shelves

I hope that these tips help you but ultimately, they are your shelves. You have to love your style and the way that you decorate your home. So, forget the rules if none of these tips work for you.

The best tip that I could ever give you, is to simply love the shelves you decorate every time you walk past them.

How to Style Farmhouse Style Open Shelving

One of the most asked questions that I get over on Instagram, follow HERE, is where my dishes are from. My favorite place to find dishes is at vintage antique stores. I look for ironstone pieces that are in a solid white pattern. And, that goes back to tip #6 where I keep with the same color scheme.

Simple Tips to Styling Open Shelves in the Kitchen

Shop This Post

Here are some links for you to follow if you are interested in shopping like items that you see on my shelves.

Mixing Bowls: I have two sets of mixing bowls that I love. Both sets are made in Texas and are quality heirloom pieces that can be handed down for generations. These are the kind of quality bowls that can’t be bought in a big department store.

Black Stoneware Crock: Another piece made here in the USA, that I love for an added touch of black on my kitchen shelves.

Salt and Pepper Stoneware Cellar

Honey Pot with Dipper

Sugar Cellar

Camano Coffee Mill: Another great made in the USA product. This coffee grinder is just beautiful and has a fully adjustable grind from Turkish to French Press. It is hand built and high quality.

Stoneware Utensils Crocks: Crocks are perfect for holding all of the utensils in the kitchen. I have a variety of sizes that I use in my kitchen.

Striped Dish Towels: I love a pretty set of dishtowels to use and display in my kitchen. There are several options online that I love like these HERE and HERE

Wooden Cooking Utensils: I have been collecting wooden cooking utensils from online and local small shops for quite awhile. There is a wide variety online that can be found HERE.

I hope that you are inspired and hopefully these tips will help you to understand how to decorate open kitchen shelves in your own home. Thank you so much for stopping by the blog today!

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8 Simple Tips to Styling Open Farmhouse Shelves

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13 thoughts on “How to Decorate Open Kitchen Shelves”

  1. Hi Sara, In your decorating open shelves post you mention that your mixing bowls are made in Texas. I was wondering if you could tell me the brand of the plain white ones you have pictured here? So beautiful, I love items that are simple and functional.

    • The plain white ones were a thrift store find. I have a cream set almost identical to these that are made in Texas. Let me see if I can find the company.

  2. You are proof positive that you don’t need a fortune to
    decorate and make a house a home. You have great style
    and everything you have and do is meaningful. I like your

  3. Love it! Thank you for sharing… I don’t have open shelving in my kitchen, but gave me some ideas when styling bookcases, a buffet in my dining and breakfast room.


  4. Thank you for sending me this, i am glad you have a blog,i have been following you on instagram and like to see all you are doing.

  5. Your shelves are beautiful. I am redecorating my kitchen and dining room and I am going to be adding open shelves. I really love your white shelves – would you mind sharing where you bought them?
    Thanks so much for your inspiration!

    • I think the brackets were from a local hardware store and so is the lumber. I screwed the brackets to the wall and then screwed the boards to the brackets.

  6. We recently renovated our kitchen and I added two open shelves. This post is the most helpful one I have found. I love all your tips and am using every one of them to populate my new shelves. Thank you.

  7. Good Day
    I am in love with your countertop. Could you tell me what it was made, what type of wood, and brand/color of stain? It looks like an old rustic piece of wood in which case I am hoping that I am wrong and that you were able to achieve that look with new wood somehow. Thank you for the lovely post!


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