It's no secret: we are totally stoked about the recent obsession with open shelves. After all, open shelving and floating shelves are our bread and butter! Still... what looks great in a lifestyle magazine or on Pinstagram (see what I did there?!) may not work for your individual style. Do you have an open shelving project that’s been tickling the corners of your creative mind for a while now? We’ve created this guide to help you decide whether or not you should bite the bullet and go all-in on open shelving! 

Here are some (almost) entirely unbiased “pros” and “cons” to open shelving that you may or may not have considered. And because we're cool like that, we have included some easy solutions to each of the "cons" to proceeding with your open shelving project. Enjoy!

Is Open Shelving Right For You?
Sharing is Caring! "Is Open Shelving Right For You?"

3 “Cons” of Open Shelving

Con #1 Kitchen Grease

Is Open Shelving Right For You? Con #1: Kitchen Grease
Modern Kitchen featuring Verne White Wall-Mounted Shelves

Are you a wizard in the kitchen? If so, then you may want to put some extra thought into your open shelving plan. Pan-frying and oven broiling can jettison tiny grease particles into the air, turning them into a mist that will stick to any surface it touches. If you’ve ever tried to clean the underside of your cabinets near your stove, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about: a tacky, yellowish, grungy goop. Now, imagine that all over your beautiful open shelving... not to mention all over your dishes. Yikes! 

Don’t get us wrong - lots of folks install open shelving near cooking surfaces and with a little maintenance and TLC their open kitchens turn out beautifully. Just keep in mind that your current cabinets are keeping your dishes inside protected from that goopy, greasy mess. 

The Solution: If you choose to install open shelving in your kitchen, consider installing it in an area that isn’t directly above or around your stove; or, ensure that you have a powerful hood above your stove to suck away that greasy mist (gross!).

Con #2 Mismatched & Disorganized Dishware

Is Open Shelving Right For You? Con #2: Mismatched & Disorganized Dishware
Open Kitchen Shelving featuring Aksel Walnut Floating Shelves

Open shelving is intentionally just that: open. It's designed to display your pretty things. But if your dishware is lame (or if you have a hard time keeping it all organized... no judgment), then you may want to put open shelving on hold. If you think you can make a commitment to maintaining an organized open shelf layout, go for it!

The Solution: You’ve been dying to go out and get some sweet new cookware anyway! And as for your hodgepodge of mismatched dishes, Rubbermaid, and Pyrex… KonMari your kitchen already! (side note: seriously... if you haven't already, check out Marie Kondo's book: "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing". You're welcome.)

Con #3 Open Shelving Needs to Be STURDY

Is Open Shelving Right For You? Con #2: Open Shelving Needs to Be STURDY
Contemporary Kitchen Shelving featuring Aksel RADius Floating Shelves in Walnut

If you’re trusting those shelves to hold up hundreds of dollars of stoneware and glassware, that shelf hardware needs to be incredibly sturdy and reliable. Don’t waste your money on cheap shelving units that have weak hardware! If you do, you run the risk of having your beautiful plates and bowls crash and burn. 

The Solution: Heavy-Duty shelving and shelf hardware is our bag baby! Our uncommonly good-looking Shelfologists geek on fabricating contractor-grade shelving that will keep your things safe and securely perched for all to admire.

Related Reading:

And Finally… The “Pros” of Open Shelving

Pro #1 Open Shelving Is Stunning

Is Open Shelving Right For You? Pro #1: Open Shelving Is Stunning
Trendy Dining Room and Kitchen featuring Aksel RADius White Oak Floating Shelves

Call us biased… but when designed well and coordinated with contrasting colors, open shelving can really define and elevate a space. They give a room an open feeling - this is especially helpful in stuffy spaces. Plus, when you have beautiful dishware and glassware to display on the open shelving, they double as a display surface.

Related Radness: Check out our Guide to Styling Floating Shelves

Pro #2 Open Shelving Creates Wall Space

Is Open Shelving Right For You? Pro #2: Open Shelving Creates Wall Space
Clean + Minimal Kitchen featuring Aksel Floating Shelves in White Oak

If you love texture or tile on your walls, open shelving just makes sense. Cabinets take up a ton of wall real estate with little visual or storage benefit. Open shelving can give you the visual satisfaction you want, especially after spending a bunch of time or money on tiling your kitchen wall!

Pro #3 Open Shelves Can Be Less Expensive Than Cabinets

Is Open Shelving Right For You? Pro #3: Open Shelves Can Be Less Expensive Than Cabinets
Crazy Modern Kitchen featuring Aksel Floating Shelves in White Oak + Book Wedgie in Concrete

You heard me right: open shelving tends to be cheaper than full, wooden cabinets - especially custom-designed ones. Why spend the extra to go “boxy” and less-than-modern? Open shelving is your ticket to a less-expensive-yet-more-awesome kitchen remodel. Spend the extra $$$ you saved on that farmhouse sink you’ve always wanted!

Open Shelving + Floating Shelves from Shelfology

Not to brag, but shelving is kind of our thing. We love seeing the wonders our customers accomplish with our pre-made shelves and floating shelf brackets. Our shelves look good online… but they look RAD on your wall!  So if you’re thinking about tackling open shelving as your next DIY project, check out our amazing selection of shelving for every budget and every space! Oh, and don’t forget to send us a picture of your handiwork so we can revel in the glory with you! #radshelfie

From all of us at Shelfology,

Happy shelving!

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