7 things to display on open shelving



According to the experts at B&Q‘s ‘Let’s Create With Colour’ event that I attended last week, the trend for open shelving looks set to continue (which I see as a very a good thing, seeing as we’ve built a whole wall of open shelving in our living space). Apparently it will extend to our kitchens, where homeowners are choosing to leave the doors off cupboards rather than hide their stuff away (this will not be happening in our kitchen as I can’t think of a single cupboard that contains contents worthy of being on display).

It got me thinking about all the different and wonderful things you can display on open shelves. We have a mixture of things on ours (the picture above is one from last year, so obviously the shelves have been rearranged since then – we all know what I’m like with constantly changing things around), but I love the cohesive look that displaying just one type of item adds to shelves. Here are my seven ideas for the things you could have out on show.

The graphic look of plates all stacked up really appeals, plus it’s a great way to free up cupboard space in the kitchen.
The reality check: The plates do get dusty (I say this from experience – see our shelves above), and they weigh a tonne, so do double-check your shelves will take the weight.

7 things to display on open shelving - crockery | Growing Spaces

Image: HonestlyWTF

7 things to display on open shelving - plates | Growing Spaces

Image: Idha Lindhag

We actually don’t have a lot of books out on display at home anymore (apart from kids’ books to encourage the twins’ love of reading), mainly because I think they can feel busy and cluttered. The two ideas below show that actually books can add a decorative element, without taking over a space.
The reality check: I know, I know – how on earth are you going to find the book you want if the spines are all facing inwards? This is probably an idea that’s better done with books you aren’t going to be reading regularly, as it’s definitely a case of style over practicality.

7 things to display on open shelving - books | Growing Spaces

Image: Trendenser


Image: Cate St Hill

The top shelf of the open shelving in our living room is where I keep all our glass decanters, large jars, and glass vases, because I have a lot of them and they would take up too much cupboard space otherwise (maybe I need a clear-out?). I really like the glass finish against matt walls – they add interest without being too in-your-face.
The reality check: My father-in-law thinks our glassware shelf looks cluttered and messy, and he’s probably right. Plus things need a really good dust when I get them down to use.

7 things to display on open shelving - glassware | Growing Spaces

Image: Coco Lapine Design


Image: Lonny

Some toys are so super-cute and design-friendly that it seems only right to have them out on display, rather than crammed in a cupboard. Plus it means that kids can easily see what there is, and pick something off to play with.
The reality check: The shelves would never, ever stay tidy. Not in my house, anyway. Plus my children’s toys are (on the whole) not nearly as attractive as the selections in the images below. But maybe if I had some of those gorgeous wooden boxes…


Image: La Petite Mag


Image: Cup of Jo

I love a decorative item (or knick-knack, as my mum would call them), so the idea of a whole set of shelving dedicated to a curation of my favourite ceramic pieces is very appealing, especially as I recently discovered a stash of the most gorgeous pots made by Ben’s gran, in a box during our garage clear-out.


Image: DesignSponge

7 things to display on open shelving - ceramics | Growing Spaces

Image: Apartment Apothecary

All your kitchen ingredients and spices, perfectly organised in jars that are easy to grab when you need them? Yes please. We actually have some open shelves in our kitchen where we’ve done just this, and I do find it both practical and visually pleasing.

7 things to display on open shelving - kitchen jars | Growing Spaces

Image: Femina

beautiful mess

Image: A Beautiful Mess

I couldn’t leave out plants, could I? They look fantastic grouped together on shelves, especially when you include some trailing beauties in the mix. They’re a great way to introduce life and colour, and can be constantly updated.
The reality check: Bit of a pain lifting plants down from the high shelves for watering I suppose.


Image: The Design Files


Image: My Attic


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