Open shelving in the kitchen is a tricky proposition, and some of us tend to strictly stay away from it because we are simply not organized enough. Closed cabinets offer a far safer storage option that lets you tuck away the mess and makes maintenance a lot easier. But adding open shelves to the kitchen island is a completely different proposition that unravels an entirely new world of possibilities. While the traditional approach to kitchen island design has always relied on closed cabinets, drawers and a few appliances being tucked away underneath, open shelving brings a refreshing new look to the classic island.
Kitchen islands with open shelves come in a diverse range of styles, forms and finishes, and if you do not find what you are looking for in the market, there are always bespoke solutions that one can turn to. These 50 exquisite kitchen islands with open shelving should inspire you to reconsider your kitchen design as well!
Books, Books & More Bookssmart-kitchen-island-offers-ample-space-for-both-prep-and-serving.jpg" alt="Smart kitchen island offers ample space for both prep and serving [Design: Modern Design Cabinetry]" />
gorgeous-globe-pendants-for-the-stylish-contemporary-kitchen.jpg" alt="Gorgeous globe pendants for the stylish contemporary kitchen [From: Susan Teare, Professional Photographer]" />
marble-top-kitchen-island-offers-ample-space-for-your-kitchen-cookbooks.jpg" alt="Marble top kitchen island offers ample space for your kitchen cookbooks [Design: Palmerston Design Consultants]" />
gray-with-granite-worktop.jpg" alt="Kitchen island in gray with granite worktop [Design: jordan peterson interior design]" />
Kitchen islands with open shelves provide a perfect canvas to showcase your cookbooks beautifully while combing them with some decorative pieces. This is a trend that is catching on in most contemporary kitchens, with sleek open shelves at the front being filled up with colorful books that add a hint of uniqueness to the space. The size of the kitchen island, its shape and the design of the kitchen can determine where these open shelves filled with books sit so that you achieve the best aesthetics. For the large kitchen islands, a combination of open shelves and closed cabinets means you get the best of both worlds and do not waste all that space with empty shelves.
Another great idea here is to place the family room right next to the kitchen so that you can turn the kitchen island with open shelves into your small, personal library wall as well! Instead of cookbooks, fill these empty shelves with your personal book collection and create a cozy reading nook in the family room to make the most of it. Since kitchens in open plan living areas are often the social zones and heart and soul of the home, this makes perfect sense ergonomically as well.
Creative Use of Spaceclassy-contemporary-kitchen.jpg" alt="Sleek kitchen island is perfect for classy contemporary kitchen [Photography: Elad Gonen]" />
versatile-addition-to-the-kitchen-island-in-gray.jpg" alt="Walnut cabinet on casters offers a versatile addition to the kitchen island in gray [From: Bay Cabinetry & Design Studio]" />
cheerful-beach-style-kitchen-with-smart-shelving.jpg" alt="Cheerful beach style kitchen with smart shelving [Design: S+H Construction]" />
breakfast-bar-and-open-shelving-at-the-end.jpg" alt="Craftsman style kitchen island with breakfast bar and open shelving at the end [Design: Celeste Lewis Architecture]" />
Think of ways to highlight those open shelves that go beyond the obvious like books. The ingenious and exclusive element can come from the shape and contours of the kitchen island and open shelves, or could be because of how you choose to utilize this new-found space. A good idea for foodies is a fabulous wine rack or even a curated display that proudly showcases their own little collection of intoxicating delights. Others have gone down the eclectic path and filled these open shelves with some firewood, turning it into a truly one-of-a-kind decorative piece! You can even throw in a few baskets to give it a more organized look while hiding away the contents.
A Charming Display!concrete-with-open-wooden-shelves.jpg" alt="Kitchen island in stone and concrete with open wooden shelves [Design: j witzel interior design]" />
using-perforated-aluminum-panels-and-steel-structural-beams.jpg" alt="Kitchen ceiling crafted using perforated aluminum panels and steel structural beams [Design: Eck MacNeely Architects]" />
gives-it-classy-appeal-of-a-beautiful-display.jpg" alt="Open shelving for the kitchen island gives it classy appeal of a beautiful display [Design: Archipelago Hawaii Luxury Home Designs]" />
dining-area-of-the-contemporary-home.jpg" alt="Sweeping kitchen and dining area of the contemporary home [Design: Workshop/APD]" />
midcentury-modern-kitchen-with-pops-of-yellow.jpg" alt="Beautiful midcentury modern kitchen with pops of yellow [Design: Klopper and Davis Architects]" />
A kitchen island with open shelves gives you a great opportunity to add that gorgeous display to your kitchen that will steal the spotlight and end up becoming the visual focal point. With open shelves, the first thing you need to do is completely empty them before you actually chalk out a plan. This will give you clarity on what you wish to achieve. Apart from books, think of vases, pots, pans and chinaware that will energize the kitchen island while blending in with its color palette. Alternatively, you can also give the display a theme, color scheme and style of its own that offers contrast and textural beauty. But this is an approach that requires plenty of precision and the perfect balance of elements in the kitchen.
Small and Open Islandscopper-pendants-and-central-island-steal-the-show-in-this-kitchen.jpg" alt="Copper pendants and central island steal the show in this kitchen [Design: Redesign London Limited]" />
light-and-breezy-ambiance-along-with-smart-kitchen-island.jpg" alt="Eclectic kitchen with a light and breezy ambiance along with smart kitchen island [Photography: Adrienne DeRosa]" />
shabby-chic-kitchen-with-pops-of-color.jpg" alt="Shabby chic kitchen with pops of color [From: Love, Thomas Creative Interiors]" />
functionality.jpg" alt="Modern industrial kitchen that places emphasis on functionality [Design: PLACE architect]" />
elegant-island.jpg" alt="Beach style kitchen with a simple and elegant island [Design: Jordan Design Studio]" />
You need not give up on a beautiful kitchen island with open shelves just because your kitchen is really small. Even tiny kitchen islands can come with open shelves, and they tend to accentuate the breezy and open ambiance of your kitchen in an elegant manner. Another fun approach is to simply opt for the open kitchen island that seems like an industrial table and still has the aura of a lovely kitchen island. Instead of the traditional open shelves that adorn larger islands, the openness of the tiny open island gives you the opportunity to add a shelf or 2 below with ease to stack your pots and pans. Practical and striking, this will completely revamp your kitchen and make it far more efficient.
Complement your Kitchen Stylecomplete-the-contemporary-kitchen-island.jpg" alt="Built-in shelving for cookbooks complete the contemporary kitchen island [Design: Madison Modern Home]" />
seating-for-2-at-the-end.jpg" alt="Custom contemporary kitchen island with open shelves and seating for 2 at the end [Design: Studio Bergtraun]" />
rolled-into-one-in-the-rustic-modern-cabin.jpg" alt="Family area and kitchen rolled into one in the rustic modern cabin [Design: Kate Gangi]" />
workspace.jpg" alt="Eco-friendly kitchen design that also doubles as home workspace [Design: Interiors Unleashed]" />
There is little doubting the fact that islands with open shelving seem perfectly at home in kitchens that embraces styles such as industrial, shabby chic, farmhouse and contemporary. If your kitchen has a distinct style and flavor, then the open shelves of the island will add to it with just a few tweaks and changes. While industrial and shabby chic kitchens look great with open shelves filled with pots and pans in steel and copper, their contemporary counterparts embrace refinement of porcelain ware. Open shelves filled with corals, conch shells and maybe a ship wheel as well will highlight the beach or nautical overtones of your kitchen, while Scandinavian settings demand more frugality and panache.
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