HomeDesignPros and Cons of Open Kitchen Shelving

Pros and Cons of Open Kitchen Shelving

With character-filled kitchens surging in popularity, this has impacted everything from benchtop materials to appliances – and has seen open shelving become a lot more popular, too. 

Whether you want to do away completely with cupboards, or simply like the idea of a cluster of shelves in a corner, this trend ticks both the style and functionality boxes in custom made kitchens.

Considering implementing open shelves in your kitchen? We’ve listed the pros and cons for you below. 


Pro: It increases your storage options

If you opt for a wall of open shelves above a cooking station or your sink, you’ve essentially got full accessibility within an arm’s reach.

There’s no need to worry about reaching into difficult corners or behind awkwardly-placed items to get what you’re after.


Con: Too much storage may not be a good thing

Just because you’ve got the space for something, doesn’t mean it should be on display. 

Open shelving is prime real estate in custom made kitchens. If you’re going to install open shelves, make sure they’re reserved for the items you use most frequently.


Pro: It’s warm and inviting to guests

Open shelving invites visitors into the kitchen, and clear visibility means no one needs to ask where something is kept, creating a sense of familiarity and comfort.  


Con: Everything is on display

As with anything, you should choose wisely what you have on display. 

Unless it’s part of the aesthetic you’re going for, refrain from storing things like souvenir cups and mismatched bowls on your open shelves as it creates visual clutter.


Interested in other popular kitchen trends? Download your exclusive kitchen design guide now.


Pro: Cleaning is a breeze

With no doors or partitions to get around, cleaning your open shelving is simple and easy. 

Because you’re likely using the items stored on your open shelves quite frequently, they’re less prone to gathering dust, and you can simply wipe your shelves down whilst your dishes are being washed. 


Con: Dirt has nowhere to hide

With open shelving, unfortunately, you can’t simply shut the cupboard door and hide the dirt. 

This means you have to be vigilant about keeping up with your cleaning, especially if you like to entertain often.


Pro: It’s easier to organise

Open shelving is convenient for entertainers, as it means guests who help with the tidying up know where every item lives. 

A good organisation tip for open shelving: keep like with like. Place bowls, plates, glasses and other dishes together for a uniform and neat look. 


Con: Shelf depth can be a curse

When choosing your shelves, it’s important they’re not so deep that you can fit too many items behind one another. 

Opt for shelves that are narrower than your lower cabinets, because if you can store too much on your open shelves, you risk making your kitchen look cluttered and crowded.


Pro: It’s cost-effective

Open shelving eliminates the need for complete cabinetry, shaving off a large chunk of your total bill. 

Because of its simplicity, open shelving can also be installed in a day, making it one of the simplest kitchen design updates you can make.


Con: It can look cheap

Because open shelving stands out against the rest of your cabinetry, it’s likely to draw the most attention, and as such it’s important to choose materials that look and feel high-quality. 

This also means it’s probably not suitable for the entire kitchen. Instead, choose one wall space that you think would look good with open shelves and that’s convenient for accessing the items you use most frequently, and create a feature wall with your open shelving here. 


If your kitchen needs a storage overhaul, let us help you! With over 50 years’ experience, we’ve helped countless Sydney homeowners to transform their kitchens in functional spaces they’ll enjoy for years to come. Let us help you, too – get in touch with us now.

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