Shelves are back taking pride of place in both stylish and quirky kitchens.

Once the only storage option in a kitchen, exposed shelves were shelved as runs of sleek cabinets became the ideal of modern design. But now shelves are back in multiple forms and colours and are a key element in giving your kitchen that personal touch.

Cool and quirky or sturdy and traditional, the choice of shelves is all yours. How hard you make them work is up to you. They can be your main storage space for most-used items from ingredients to mixers and crockery – or simply a focal point with artfully arranged plants and a few collectables.

There’s lots of types, shapes and colours available at Wren from single floating shelves to curved towers that end a run of units. Ask your designer what will work best for your space and design and have a look at some of the options here.

Shelf Shapes

Find the right shelves for your space.

Tall and taller

Stylish open shelf units can be built into a run of units or standalone as a feature to provide storage, interest and break up a space. Think about integrated lighting to spotlight your treasures and add ambience.


These slimline open shelf units can be cut to fit any space but are perfect for slotting into the wall space between worktops and wall units. Use for displays or ingredients.

Walls and dressers

Beautifully lit open wall shelf units make a great focal point especially in compact spaces. Customise with a plate rack – 1 or 2 shelves- for a period feel. Or build your own dresser or bar with an open shelf unit that extends to the worktop.

Floating singles

Open up the space in a dark or narrow kitchen with floating shelves rather than wall unis- and create storage and a stylish focal point. Match your shelf to your worktop, backsplash, or units for a sophisticated look.

Island and base

Use open shelves to add interest and useful storage to an island. Add a horizontal single shelf from 500mm to 2250mm- great for books and laptops. Or incorporate a set of open shelves or cubbies at the end of your island- choose from 2 or 3 shelves.

Curved ends

Fabulous for arty displays of ceramics, pix and plants, curved end tower shelf units with fan-shaped shelves are a smart way to end a run of units and if you have the space you can position at either end of a bank of units. There’s a base unit option too- perfect for cookbooks or work from home files. Towers have up to 7 shelves and base units up to 2.

Choose your colours

Your choice of colour and finish will make a big impact – so you need to consider the rest of the room as well as what you plan to display before you pick. A wood effect works well with traditional or modern Scandi interior styles; a dark matt finish will showcase bright light ceramics and glass. Achieve different looks by complementing or contrasting with your unit or worktop colours and finishes.

Practical points

  • Instant access to things you need every day.
  • Less worktop clutter- keep things close by but tidy.
  • Keeps you organised- good for managing food stores.
  • Display- the perfect way to display the pieces we love the most- that makes us happy.
  • Opens up spaces- adds interest and light.


Open shelves come in all manner of materials and sizes so ultimately, it’s up to you how you use them. Here are a few ideas to help you bring your vision to life…

A natural look

Wooden shelves fit right at home in a traditional or country-style kitchen. They add to the overall look and appeal of the design. Shelves lined with pretty glass jars filled with cooking ingredients, herbs and spices will create that homely, feel-good vibe while little trinkets and plants will bring a touch of your personality.

Make a statement

There are a variety of ways you can make a statement with your shelves. Bespoke shelving added to the end of tower units to display cookbooks and cherished pieces makes a stunning show. Tall ones make a real impact in a seamless modern kitchen and contrasting colours work beautifully. If you have a white or grey kitchen than a dynamic colour like black will make a stylish statement. Fill with plants and ornaments for a chic look.

Use your island

If you’re planning on having a stand-our island in your new kitchen, then why not ask your Wren designer about adding in some stand-out shelves too!

Filling one side of the island with open shelves or a part of it is a great way to bring some colour and interest to the design, as well as offering a practical solution for more storage space- something most household’s wont shy away from.

Think about your needs when planning what you want the shelves for. If you’re a budding chef, then housing easy-to-reach recipe books is perfect or if you’re a keen host then a built-in wine rack will be invaluable!

Make a splash

Why not add a shelf to the top of your splash back or break it up with one? This works incredibly well for a modern or minimal kitchen with a clean and simple design because the shelf offers extra storage while staying in line with the seamless look.

Feeling inspired? Book your free design appointment with one of our talented kitchen designers or visit your nearest Wren showroom!

Take a look at our instagram for more kitchen inspiration.

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