Style guides

How to choose and style your perfect kitchen shelving

Exposed Kitchen Shelving

Pots, pans, utensils, appliances, cooking trays, dishes – there’s an awful lot that needs to fit into your kitchen shelving, and that’s before we get onto all of your food cupboard essentials! Basically, you can never have enough storage space for the kitchen – so if you’re thinking you could use a little more organisation, you’re in the right place. It’s time to liberate your homeware from the back of the cupboard, and make your shelves work even harder. We’ve got plenty of organisation inspiration, and lots of kitchen shelving ideas for how to make your kitchen really work for you.

How to choose your shelves

Don’t just leap into buying the first kitchen shelving you see – there’s a lot to consider before you start. Don’t forget, if you’re thinking of buying a Wren Kitchen, book an appointment today to speak to one of our kitchen experts, and see if shelving can be integrated into your chosen kitchen design.

Look at what space you need

A lot will depend on the size and layout of your kitchen, particularly if you’ve got some space limitations – if you’re working with a long, narrow space, edge to edge open kitchen shelving might be helpful, and will open up some overhead space. However, if you’re short on square footage, you might want to consider tall tower open shelving to give you some vertical space. Another thing to consider – what do you want to put on your shelves? If you’re going to be storing things like plates, bowls and cups, you probably don’t need very deep kitchen shelving. However, for items like cooking or serving trays, cast ironware or mixing bowls, you might want to invest in some deeper, heavier shelving for the kitchen – depending on what your countertops are made from, it may be worth looking at a solid material like timber that can really take some weight.

Open vs closed shelving

The first decision you’ll have to make is a big one – do you want open kitchen shelving or closed-off cabinets? Kitchen shelving with a cover or with doors allows you to keep things neatly tucked away and out of sight, avoiding a cluttered kitchen. As neat and tidy as this might look, it can result in the dreaded hunt across all of your kitchen shelving for that one serving dish you haven’t used since last Christmas! On the other hand, open shelving kitchen storage looks a bit more modern and on-trend, and allows you to see your kitchen storage in a single glance. Of course, open kitchen shelving doesn’t have to be just one or the other – one kitchen shelving idea we love takes a more balanced approach, with cabinets for practical-but-boring items, and a row of open shelving for things you want on display, or high-use items that you reach for most often.

Match or contrast your kitchen style

Break up a space in your kitchen without pulling focus with open kitchen shelving in the same colour as your worktops or cabinets. This creates a calm, easy space that allows pretty possessions to take centre stage – and if you like your kitchen shelving to look uniform, with everything in its right place, this might be the style for you. If your home style is a little bit bolder, thin about kitchen shelving ideas that are a little bit different. Whether that’s a dark treated wood against white subway tiles or even maybe painting your shelves in a bright accent colour that contrasts with your backsplash, some quirky kitchen shelving ideas can make a real statement and a focal point in your kitchen.  

Make sure they’re sturdy enough for what you need

Whatever system or style you go for, make sure your new kitchen wall shelving is secure for your kitchen – the very last thing you need is for your shelves to slip, or come crashing off the walls with all of your plates and bowls. If your shelves will just be for light storage – some mugs, planters, a few plates – you won’t need anything as heavy duty as if you’re planning on keeping cast iron or heavy cookware on them. If you are planning on keeping heavy items on your kitchen wall shelving, invest in some really sturdy anchors when you drill into the walls, and consider using more brackets to support the shelves at multiple points.

How to style your shelves

You bought your kitchenware because you liked how they looked – so show off your good taste with open kitchen wall shelving. If you delight in owning pretty plates and bowls, then they’re a great choice for you – your beautiful items can take pride of place, and become like little works of art on your shelves when they’re not in use.

What’s your kitchen style?

For kitchen shelving ideas, take inspiration from the rest of the room. If your kitchen style is sleek and modern, add some points of interest with bold art prints in square frames that can prop against open kitchen shelving. For a shaker kitchen, you can get away with cute little trinkets, framed family photos or even vintage crockery that will make your kitchen feel homely and welcoming. Traditional kitchens with a neutral colour scheme can create a calm vibe with neutral-coloured accessories, or you can enliven your look with matching kitchenware in a bold shade – like bowls in a bright blue and glasses to match.


Maybe you’re the proud owner of a huge collection of pretty crockery, or a keen collector of recipe books – whatever you want to have on display on your kitchen shelving, it’s going to end up becoming a focal point for the entire room. If you’re a fan of the modern Scandi-minimalist style, stick to a simple colour palette with natural, warm tones. Embrace some smart kitchen storage ideas, and decant your dry goods in to matching glass jars that will look aesthetically pleasing all lined up. For a modern, Instagram-inspired style, consider adding some greenery to your kitchen wall shelving, with potted plants (real or artificial) and trailing hanging plants that will break up the horizontal lines.

We hope we’ve given you plenty of open shelving kitchen ideas, to give your kitchen a new lease of life. It’s time to let your kitchenware out of the cupboards, and let it out into the light – newly accessorised with some fun new ideas! However you decide to style your kitchen shelving, get in touch with us and find out how we can help create the kitchen of your dreams.

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