How to use shelving in your kitchen design

Years ago, a kitchen always included shelving and then we got all contemporary and kitchens became sleek with everything put away and in its place.  For those of you who don't like clutter and prefer simple clean lines, this is probably the best design solution for you.  However, even with some ultra sleek kitchens, I am noticing the odd shelf or two creeping into the design.

Recently though I have seen the evolution of the kitchen into being more of a family space where books, artworks and collections of ceramicware can be showcased.  People are keen to have a modern functional space, but with the edges softened and the opportunity to make this area their own.

I really like this transition as it creates a homely space that is less clinical.  I have some ideas to show you below of how you can incorporate kitchen shelving into your next design.

Creating a line with the range hood

How to use shelving in your kitchen design
Image: Sosey Interiors

A simple plasterboard range hood casing looks great with shelving either side.  At this height, the cupboards are often too high to be of much use and so this is a good opportunity to introduce kitchen shelving.  This also keeps the look of the kitchen open.  This is a great opportunity to showcase books, ceramicware and even artworks.  This wouldn't be for everyone, but it is a very homely space.

Another option below keeps the range hood as the focal point.

How to include shelving into a kitchen design
Photographer: Toa Heftiba

Related: Kitchen range hood designs

Shelving in place of cupboards

How to include shelving into a kitchen design
Collov Home Design

In the kitchen above, the designer has chosen to forsake the upper cupboards for shelving.  The cupboards are not deep and in a kitchen this size there would be quite a bit of storage, so I don't think it is a big loss.  However, you need to consider how much you need to store and whether this is a good use of the space.  It certainly is a nice opportunity to add some colour and personality to the space.

Kitchen shelving can also be useful as a design tool.  In the kitchen below, closed in cupboards to the wall may have been too close to the window, but this is a good solution to overcome this.

How to incorporate kitchen shelving
Image: Studio McGee

The alternative is to use open shelving as below.  Essentially this is cupboard space without the doors, so you get to keep the space but you have to be tidy!

How to add shelving to your kitchen design
Photographer: Callum Hill
How to include kitchen shelving into your design

Related: My guide to contemporary timber kitchens

Consider the style of your kitchen

If you like a farmhouse country style look, then simple open style shelving as below is perfect.  Always remember though that with open shelving, everything does get dusty and also in a kitchen environment, greasy, so you need to keep on top of cleaning when you have so much on display.

How to include kitchen shelving

Pantry shelving

What is more satisfying to a cook than a well stocked pantry with rows of canisters, all neatly labelled?  It would be a travesty to put these behind cupboard doors!

How to use shelving in your kitchen design
Photographer: Heather McKeen

Tom and Sarah Jane's winning kitchen on The Block also had a fabulous walk in Butler's pantry with built in timber shelving that was beautifully styled.

How to add shelving to your kitchen
The Block Shop

Or even bring your pantry canisters into the kitchen:

How to include shelving in your kitchen design
Homes to Love

I hope that this has given you some inspiration for your next kitchen design or makeover.  If you are just updating a kitchen, then pulling out tired or dated overhead cupboards and replacing with some nice shelving is a budget solution that will also look good.

How to use shelving in your kitchen design


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