5 Types of Open Kitchen Shelving: Which One Fits Your Kitchen?

Design By: Kate Marker Interiors

Open shelving in the kitchen has become very popular in interior design. It’s a great way to add interest to a kitchen and turn organizing into a design feature.

We all know that open kitchen shelving is trendy and looks great, but is it very practical? We have found it to be very useful and has actually created more useable space for our kitchen. It has also shown to be easy in organizing and putting up dishes. In most cases, open shelving is much cheaper than cabinetry. This is always a great benefit.

In our current kitchen, Henry made wood floating shelves. Wood shelves were perfect for our modern farmhouse and added the warmth our light color palette needed.

For our upcoming kitchen, we are going for a more rustic meets modern look. We have been debating several different styles of open shelving.

Although we love our wood DIY shelves, we probably will go with something a little different. Here are a few types of open kitchen shelves we are loving.

Glass Across Windows

I’ve been noticing a trend emerging over the last few years. It’s glass open shelving that overlaps the kitchen windows.

I’ve also seen wood shelves overlap windows, but it doesn’t give you the same effect. With glass, it almost appears as if the dishes are floating with nothing below them.

Design By: Katie Hackworth

It’s such an elegant and modern look. It’s becoming more popular amongst older home remodels and newer homes wanting a modern edge. This is another one I am leaning toward for our new kitchen, but I don’t have Henry on board yet.

These shelves pictured above are also suspended, which is what we’re looking at next.


Open kitchen shelving is a great place to add a rustic touch to a kitchen. The photo below is a butler’s pantry, but I love the combination of the black iron pipe with the rough-sawn wood shelves. I also like how the single black iron pipe is supporting the shelves in the corner.

Design By: Kate Marker Interiors

Floating Wood Shelves

Floating wood shelves are a great addition to any style of kitchen. We used this type of shelving in our modern farmhouse kitchen. The wood tones added to the farmhouse look, while the clean lines of the floating shelves added a little modern vibe.

Kitchen Pulls | Bamboo Shade | Dish Set

You really can’t go wrong with this look as it pretty much will go with any style of kitchen.


This look might be the type of open kitchen shelves that we are leaning towards the most. The shelving is suspended from the ceiling normally by piping, fabricated metal, or even wire hooks.

I really like it because it’s something different and unique, and with so much metal, it gives you an opportunity to make a statement by using brass or you can play it safe and go with black.

And the best part is that installation does not affect your backsplash. So no drilling holes in tile or laying tile around floating shelf brackets.


Corner open shelving in a kitchen is a genius way to make use of corner space. I’ve never been a huge fan of corner cabinets. When using regular cabinetry, the doors tend to hit the wall and the sides of the cabinets. Corner open shelves, in my opinion, are more usable and add more interest to the area.

Even though the kitchen layout in the new house doesn’t have a place corner shelving, we might be able to incorporate them in our pantry.

Designed By: Studio McGee

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  • Reply Abiade

    Hi Brooke, where did you get your floating shelves in your kitchen? Looks nice. Thanks

    October 14, 2019 at 5:51 pm
  • Reply lori cabrera

    I have been desperately trying to find the glass floating shelves and have been so unsuccessful 🙁 any help locating something like that would be so appreciated!!

    October 16, 2019 at 1:21 am
  • Reply Kru Satyr

    Careful with open shelving in a Kitchen where hot meals are prepared two or three times per day. Grease rides rising steam and settles everywhere, thence coating all with small but steady bits of household dust. Surfaces can get coated with layers of grease and dust, gradually getting stickier and stickier, even while using typical residential exhaust. Difficult to clean. May need an awesome commercial grade exhaust system.

    February 1, 2021 at 6:38 pm
  • Reply Nikki

    What color stain is on your diy pine shelves? They are pine, right?

    February 3, 2021 at 10:01 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    Thanks for sharing, I had no idea there were so many kinds of open shelves. I’m having my kitchen cabinets redone by a local cabinet refinisher in a few weeks, and I’m debating on choosing open shelves. They look so good in some homes, but I hate dusting and cleaning and I’m worried they will get dirty faster than regular cabinets.n

    December 13, 2021 at 4:37 pm
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