Is Open Shelving Going Out Of Style?

When considering redesigning your kitchen, you're bound to come across images of open shelving. Open shelving refers to a type of shelf installed in some kitchens. They can be floating shelves or held to the wall with brackets. They can also be cabinets without doors. Basically, open shelving is any shelving minus a cover.

Open shelves in kitchens are used to display anything, from everyday dishware to cookbooks to fancy vases. They can either replace closed cabinets altogether or be combined with such cabinetry, for maximum storage opportunities.

According to Apollo Kitchens, open shelving can provide kitchens with more storage. When styled properly, this design feature can be very welcoming for guests. It's also easy to clean and organize. And, it's much cheaper upfront than buying bulky cabinetry. However, at the same time, open shelving requires lots of cleaning and organization. If not displayed in the most aesthetic way, these shelves can also look cluttered or cheap. And, not everyone wants all their storage on display.

It's true, there are quite a number of both advantages and disadvantages that come with having open shelves in your kitchen. This design feature can be a polarizing topic — you either love it or you hate it. Because of this, you may be wondering, is open shelving going out of style? Below, you'll find the answer.

Open shelving: the verdict

As noted by Dans le Lakehouse, in recent years, open shelving has declined in popularity. The DIY blog links this partly with the early days of COVID-19, during which time, many homeowners stocked up on both groceries and random cooking equipment (I'm looking at you, breadmaker). Because of the increase in kitchen items, there was more of a demand for extra storage space — specifically behind closed doors, where items don't have to be perfectly arranged.

Also, according to Livingetc, many have found that having to clean their shelves so frequently just isn't worth the hassle. Therefore, open shelving has taken a backseat to closed cabinets. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that open shelving is going out of style. Some equate shelving with a fun feature wall (like one covered in wallpaper or bold paint), which definitely isn't not going out of style. Also, open shelves give homeowners the opportunity to add character to their space. And, these shelves can be quite fun to design

In sum, the opinions are split. While some believe open shelving is going out of style because it's impractical, others think it's here to stay. It seems like, no matter how many people dislike open shelves, there are always some fans. Perhaps, in time, we will discover that this design was a fad. However, for now, it doesn't seem to be going out of style.

How to decide if open shelving is right for you

If you're considering adding open shelving to your kitchen, you'll first need to carefully consider the pros and cons. While this design feature may not be out of style, it's still not very practical for the typical homeowner. Insider points out that those who naturally clean often may love open shelving; those who aren't very neat, however, may want to steer clear.

If you choose open shelving, you'll also have to be very intentional about the pieces you display. While they don't all have to look identical, they should appear cohesive. And, you'll have to limit your items to avoid making your space feel crowded. Even then, those who hate clutter and busy spaces might not enjoy open shelves in their kitchen. 

If you like displaying dishware but don't want to deal with the upkeep of open shelving, closed cabinets with glass doors may work better for you. For those who like a minimalist and simple style, completely closed cabinets are what you want, per Dans le Lakehouse.