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Open Shelves Add Function and Style

Open shelves, especially floating shelves happen to be all the rage at the moment, should you or shouldn’t you?  I often hear concerns about neatness.  Do we really want to see it all? Maybe we do.  Open shelves can greatly increase efficiency in the kitchen. Having our most used dishes, utensils and ingredients displayed and at our finger tips is very tempting!  This is how the chefs do it and there is even a term for it in French.

open shelving in the kitchen
From this glorious wall of open shelving isn’t for everyone but it does keep ingredients and handy and off the counter.


Mise en place is a French culinary phrase which means “putting in place”, as in set up. It is used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and arranging the ingredients and items that a cook will require for preparing the menu items of the day. We can also apply this concept in our own kitchens. Here’s an interesting story I came across on NPR about Mise en place. Listen and you will discover the perfect French pronunciation!

open shelves in kitchen
A visually appealing option from

Usually storage space in the kitchen is too dear to squander on an area strictly for show so I urge you to incorporate an open shelf  or open cabinet only if it will be useful as well as visually interesting.  When you get right down to it, kitchens are comprised of boxes and row after row of doors can get pretty boring.  I like to add some variety with open shelves and glass doors.

open shelves in kitchen
Functional and it looks great! From

That said, if you do have a collection that you love to gaze upon and showcase , open shelves are perfect is hard to reach areas such as high up or on the far side of a peninsula

open shelves in kitchen

This client is a talented potter.  What better way to show off her work?  Easy to get to for dusting when you’re on the other side of the peninsula but this area is not really accessible when you’re on the working side of the kitchen.

floating shelves in kitchen
A lovely solution for an awkward corner.


Gloria Graham-Sollecito

Gloria is a kitchen and bath cabinetry designer with AKBD certification from the National Kitchen & Bath Association. She has also served on the Florida Treasure Coast Chapter's Board of Directors as the VP of Communications. Her work has appeared on This Old House as well as in Florida Design Magazine, K+BB Magazine and the Palm Beach Post. She is co-author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Remodeling Your Kitchen, Illustrated, as well as a freelanced writer contributing occasionally to the Sun Sentinel in the area of kitchen design. She is a proud member of the Blanco Design Council and the illustrious Brizo Blogger 19.

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