8 Secrets to Styling Open Shelves

AKA how to master the art of the shelfie

You love the look of open shelving, but attempting it yourself feels a tad overwhelming. (Wait, what are you supposed to do with all those mismatched plastic novelty cups?) But don’t give up just yet. Here’s how to style open shelves in an Insta-worthy way that won’t drive you totally bonkers.

Show Off Dry Goods

Instead of tucking away your rice and pasta, keep them in large glass jars that showcase their diverse colors and textures (hi, red lentil beans). And who knows? Seeing everything on display might even make you more inclined to cook.

Divide The Space

Tension rods inside a fixed shelf create slots for corralling and separating dishes, making it easier to grab a plate when you need one.

Let Your Backsplash Do The Work

Number one rule of a beautiful backsplash: If you’ve got it, flaunt it. By staggering shelves around those tiles you paid an arm and a leg for, you’ll be able to better see the pretty design.

Consider A Contrast

Have cool white walls? Add an element of warmth--say, rich walnut or mahogany shelving--to make your kitchen feel extra inviting. Bonus points if the wood matches your flooring.

Be Scary Organized

Symmetry, symmetry, symmetry. And also, glassware.

Focus On Your Cookbooks

Stock your shelves with mouthwatering cookbooks for serious design and cooking inspo. It’s also a great way to add some color if the other things you’re showcasing are mostly white or glass.

Don't Forget Accessories

Tasteful trinkets--like a copper cocktail shaker or a kitschy figurine--are always welcome.

Crate & Barrel

Go Low

Who says shelves have to be high up? Display your nicest cookware underneath an island or cart for a unique take on the whole open-shelving concept. People will wonder where you went to design school (it’s cool to go along with it).

jillian quint

Editor-in-Chief, Avid Reader, Wallpaper Enthusiast

Jillian Quint is the Editor-in-Chief of PureWow, where she oversees the editorial staff and all the fabulous content you read every day. Jillian began her career as a book editor...