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  • Writer's pictureAlicia Winzeler

Styling Open Kitchen Shelves

We've come a long way with our fixer upper & while we still have a long ways to go - One of my favorite changes has been the switch from upper cabinets to open shelving! To some - the decision seems scary & extreme & I assure you for me it was too. Where would I put everything? How would it look? Would I get sick of it? After taking a leap of faith & going for it - it's one of the best decisions we've made! To ease the anxiety of others - I wanted to share my tips on how I style our open shelves to be functional & still decorative to the eye. 🖤


1. If you're embarking on open shelves in either your bathroom or kitchen - I highly recommend a hardcore de-clutter session! We cleaned our cupboards before removing them & I was embarrassed at how much clutter our cupboards just collected with things we never ate or used! Mismatching dishes that were too far out of reach for daily use, pantry food completely expired - just all completely unnecessary! Again, de-clutter your life first! Once you do this - you won't be as tempted to buy random things because open shelving kind of forces you to be more mindful and minimalist.

2. I use what I call the 80/20 rule - this is a rule I set when it comes to what I put on the shelves. The rule is that 80% of the items seen on the open shelving is functional & purposeful, while only 20% is for decor. While I want our house to be pretty - it has to remain as functional as possible as well.

[A lot of functional pieces mixed in with decorative pieces to add balance & softness]

3. Don't be fooled - your daily used dishes & other items can act as decor on your shelving! Often when people see our shelves that can't believe we use the things on them, but we 100% do! All our bowls, app plates, dinner plates, drinking cups, mugs, canisters & coffee mugs get used on the daily! But the better part? They're so much easier to access than digging through a cupboard! Like I said ^ 80/20 rule!

4. Spend some money to get clean & matching dishes. Now don't get me wrong - tucked below in my cupboards are a few mismatching Rae Dunn coffee mugs and random vintage floral dishes, but for the most part when we de-cluttered we made sure to restock our dishes with all things clean and matching. That doesn't mean you have to spend a lot though! You can go to the Dollar Tree or Ikea to get beautiful matching dishes on a budget! All of ours came from Walmart & Homegoods! But the best way to get your dishes to not only be functional, but also decorative - is to get them all matching. I do recommend avoiding patterns though to eliminate the possibility of making the shelves too busy & then cluttered looking. Glass jars or containers can also be decorative looking, but also be extremely functional too. Shop some of dishes & containers seen on the shelves below ⬇️ -

-Sea Grass Wrapped Glasses - I found mine at Homegoods for $2.50 each, these ones cost a lot more, but are very similar! The wicker sea grass sleeve simply slides off for washing!

5. Don’t overthink it! Just make sure to keep it functional for you and your family! There’s no right or wrong way to style open shelves as long as they work for your every day life!


And that’s kinda all there is to it! We still have a lot of changes coming in this space like a new counter top, faucet & sink, but for now I’m loving this current change! I’m so glad I swallowed my fear and just went for the look that I really wanted! My biggest pieces of advice would be to just go for it! There‘s no right or wrong way to decorate YOUR home! It’s all about what makes YOU happy! Since getting our little home, I’ve changed things a lot because I found certain changes would work better or the changes we made didn’t end up working out like I had hoped after all. You win some - you lose some! 🤷🏻‍♀️ Not all changes will be perfect or go according to plan - whether it be in your home or life, but that’s ok! You can always change things to be better! 😘


Mrs. Northern Belle

P.S - Stay tuned for a post coming soon on how we made our own open shelves for this space! 🖤


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