Open shelving for the kitchen

I found a picture of my kitchen on my blog from right before we moved in. It was nice but not really me.

My friend Jenna was over and we were thumbing through the spring Country Home magazine. A kitchen with open shelving really caught my eye. She said “If I owned our house I would so have open shelving.” I was like “Me too. Wait a hot minute… I DO!” So I did it. That same day.

I have to say, it’s come a long way! I love the space now. And apart from adding a skylight and installing wood flooring it is DONE! When I told people what I did, the majority told me I was nuts for ripping out thousands of dollars in upper cabinets. Well I am nuts, so niener niener.

Besides, it’s not like I burned them so I could eat smores. That would be crazy. Smores are gross. I just moved them into my laundry room. More on that to come.

So, to answer your questions before you knew you had them…

All the stuff I think is ugly like kids plastic dishes and pots and pans are on the bottom.
I actually use my white dishes so they probably won’t get dusty between uses.
I only have a few small kitchen appliances. Toaster, crock pot, etc. I don’t even have a waffle maker because I prefer a turkey sandwich for breakfast and so do my kids.
Even if I did though, I still have an entire cabinet that’s empty on the bottom to put them in.

When I asked my husband how he felt about open shelving he said and I quote “My initial reaction isn’t negative”. So I ran with it. When he was helping me rip them out (which took about 15 minutes by the way) I could tell he was a bit apprehensive. But he loves it now that it’s finished. Plus he always says “Happy Wife= Happy Life”. And I am HAPPY so he is too! I love that man.

Now for the specs…

The color on top is (what else would I use) Swiss Coffee.
The color on bottom is Wexford Fog
The total price to install shelving and paint was around $200
The pulls are from Hobby Lobby (I got knobs there too but they didn’t have enough)
The white dishes with the beading are from Walmart. They are super inexpensive and look just like Pottery barns. Here’s the link.

If you have any other questions, feel free to comment here and I’ll comment back so everyone can see the answers. I hope you like it because I LOVE it now. It feels so much more open and light. If you’re thinking about installing open shelving, DO IT! You’ll love it too.

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  • wow… can I just say you are an absolute rock star? I was lucky to get 3 loads of laundry done this week, and you made over your kitchen in the wink of an eye! It is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!

    Question #1: I noticed you trimmed out each section of bead board between the shelves. Is that because you didn't run the bead board in one piece along the wall, or just an added detail?

    Question#2: Is the support for the weight of the shelf supported by the corbels only?

    Question#3: Did you use wood or MDF for the shelves?

    Question #4:Did you get any laundry done this week? 🙂

  • I trimmed out each section because I already had the bead board as a back splash and it was like that. So I added the bead board on top of the first shelf and it looked awkward not trimmed out like the bottom.

    The shelf is supported by brackets screwed into studs with long screws and those small wood pieces under the shelves along the walls.

    I used 1×12" board from Home Depot for the shelves. I thought MDF might bow over time.

    Yes. I got laundry done. But only because my rock star sister was here helping me with kids and painting. I also am selling my parents 4 border collie puppies so the kids were playing in the back yard ALL day with them.

  • I'm sure I'm missing it somewhere, but could you tell me where you bought your E A T letters…or if you made, do you have a tutorial? THANK YOU!

  • I got them at a store called Modern Manor in Phoenix. They have funky hours so you'd have to call first. Or I would check etsy. They're starting to sell more industrial type stuff there.

  • Beautiful! This is what I want in the next house we buy… I'm not so sure our landlords would appreciate me doing it to this house, although it would look so much better!


  • I love that you did this! I hate upper cabinets…too bad it'll be a long time before I have my own kitchen to do this to. I promise you though, that's the first thing I'm doing as soon as I do. Your kitchen looks awesome!

  • It looks amazing. I have gone as far as to remove the doors from most of my upper cabinets and have a section of shelving next to one of the uppers. This makes me want to rip that baby down and extend the shelving.

  • Stupendously awesome! You are seriously wonder woman. I was proud of myself for buying a new sugar bowl this week. Ok, so two questions: is there beadboard around your island too? And two: why did you switch from stainless to black appliances? I have nothing against either one, (although none of my appliances match at the moment and it's making me a crazy person), but anyway, just curious. And also, will you come makeover my house please. So I guess that was three questions. Or more like two questions and a demand.

  • wow good job doesn't even look like the before. Luckie you on the agreeable husband. mine even tho he is a keeper has opinions about this stuff [likes upper cabinets and not a fan of painted wood] hmmmmm really love the way you did the pantry. I have pantry envy ;).also in love with the samsonite train case [got 2 of the brown ones last one was $2.00]

  • Love the open shelving! Question-where did you get the swiss coffee paint from? Someone told me that Home Depot/Lowe's etc all have their own variation of it.

    I'm trying to talk my husband into letting me paint our cabinets with the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation's kit so I can skip the sanding! Otherwise my kitchen makeover will cost over $4k!

  • Gorg!!! I put open shelving in our last kitchen and will totally do it again. I didn't have tons of it, just on both sides of the sink. But I kept our regular white dishes there – the ones we use all the time. Super handy.


  • You drive me crazy! You are like the Mary Poppins of of interior decorating. You just snap you fingers and it looks AMAZING! EVERY TIME!!! I saw open shelving in a magazine literally last week and thought it was super cute but didn't know if it would actually work for real people. Question answered. Your kitchen is gorgeous. 🙂

  • I just found your blog today & scrolled down to find this post… I've been debating on whether to do this very thing to my kitchen & you've just talked me into it! LoL! =) I LOVE IT, TOO! Your kitchen is much bigger than mine, but I think it'll look good on a smaller scale, so I'm goin for it! Thank you! =)

  • Alrighty!!! I have been wanting to check out your blog… but I knew that if I did I would be sucked in and read everything since you started it. Well. I love it. Your kitchen looks like a floor plan I fell in love with a while back. I can't remember the builder. They were all over Mesa and Gilbert. So love your work! Thanks for being awesome and sharing.