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We aspire to be women who arrange their kitchen shelves as though curating an upscale cookware gallery. In reality, we thank our lucky stars every day for the cabinet doors concealing our mismatched Tupperware collection. Which is why we’re cautiously enamored by the kitchen design darling of 2019: Single open shelving.

That’s right, many the buzziest kitchens right now have one thing in common: One airy, minimalist ledge in place of traditional cabinetry.

On the one hand, Hello gorgeous. On the other, Really though, where do I put my mixing bowls? Whether you’re team pro or con (or torn), there’s no denying that this take is chic, affordable and suited to all styles. But don’t take our word for it—see for yourselves.

RELATED: Is *This* the New White Kitchen? 

single shelf kitchen storage 4
Courtesy of Marie Flanigan Interiors


Naturally, this choice looks right at home alongside sleek lines, polished materials and slick hardware. In the neutral kitchen that Marie Flanigan designed for Whitney Port, a pop of single ledge shelving provides a spot for a little color injection.

single shelf kitchen storage 1
Courtesy of deVOL Kitchens


Layer in paintings and potted greens—and install a hanging rod below for even more quirky character.

single shelf kitchen storage 2
Courtesy of DeVOL Kitchens


The single shelf looks totally old-world when supported with architectural brackets and set against shaker cabinet fronts. How quaint and rustic is this single upper situation by British cabinetmaker deVOL?

single shelf kitchen storage 3
Courtesy of Amber Interiors


Note to self: The single shelf pairs beautifully with trendy matte black fixtures and a warm, oriental runner. In this bohemian tinged kitchen by designer Amber Lewis, a corner of single upper creates an ideal moment for a potted cacti, coffee carafe and pinch bowl vignette.


It’s elegant, it’s minimal...and it’ll probably help you KonMari your kitchen. However, without the option for storage elsewhere, and if you’re worried about ROI, it’s a definitely a gamble.

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