Open Shelves

The Pros and Cons of Open Shelves: Is This Design Trend Right for You? {2023}

Open shelves have been a trend in modern interior design for a long time. This is a challenge to habitual storage, a constant subject of controversy and questions. Let’s figure out whether open storage is really a luxury or a very real opportunity.

is open shelving still in style

Advantages and disadvantages of open shelves in the interior

Advantages of open shelves:

  1. At the visual level, they perfectly unload the space, which is especially important for small rooms.
  2. Everything that lies or stands on the shelves is clearly visible enough. Visibility and accessibility reduce the time to search for the desired item.
  3. Corner shelves visually take up less space, but at the same time create a strong effect and allow rational use of storage space. Whatever the collection of boxes in your closet, you can make a showcase to display items that are special to you, even in the hallway.
  4. Aesthetics. The contents give character and personality to the interior of the room, and the shelves themselves can also be a bright modern accent if they are made in an unusual shape or from an atypical material. Another interesting idea is to highlight the wall behind the shelves with a different color, supporting, for example, the color scheme of the textiles in the room, or playing on the contrast.


  • Require more thorough cleaning, as the dust settles on all items, and it will take more time to keep everything clean.
  • They do not tolerate chaos and clutter. Think about whether you are ready to maintain order and put things in their place, maintaining harmony and visual balance on the shelves.
  • This is an ideal option for storing books, dishes, various little things, and beautiful gizmos, but not very roomy.

Open shelves for the kitchen: pros and cons


  • Shelves as an interior accent. Beautiful dishes, bright vases, and cereals in transparent jars will turn any, especially restrained, kitchen into an interesting modern location “with character”.
  • Everything you normally use is at your fingertips.
  • If the kitchen is small, open shelves look lighter and more airy without visually cluttering up the space.
  • This is a more budget option compared to standard cabinets.

Open shelves for the kitchen pros and cons


  • Shelves lose wall cabinets in terms of capacity. The dishes look good, but for kitchen utensils and small household appliances, you need to look elsewhere than a cabinet with open shelves.
  • You need to spend more time on regular cleaning, maintaining order, and putting things in their place.
  • If you plan to place cookbooks on the shelves, they may suffer from soot over time.

Tips for Styling Open Shelves

Designers have come up with various tricks that will allow you to decorate open shelves with taste and avoid chaos and a feeling of clutter. What are these tricks?

  1. Seek balance. Place heavy and large items on the lower shelves, and smaller and lighter items – above. If you have one shelf, leave heavy items on the edge, and elegant light items closer to the center.
  2. Create layers. Compositions look voluminous, in which large details (for example, books) are located in the background, and small ones (frames with photographs, boxes) are in the foreground.
  3. Leave space. A shelf that has too much on it looks overloaded, so leave “air” between items. Including in the hallway, because it is she who affects the first impression of the house.
  4. Add speakers. Group objects of different heights so that the composition is modern, rather than looking monotonous and boring.
  5. Use baskets and boxes. Little things that are “lost” against the general background, memos, a stack of postcards, or photographs can be laid out in beautiful boxes and lined up in a slide. When you want to sort through your treasures, they will be at hand.
  6. Don’t be afraid of large decor. If you decide to place books on an open shelving unit, do not turn it into a branch of the school library, where books are in rows – and that’s it. The interior is a reflection of the owners, so fill it with yourself. Do you collect any items? Place your collection next to books. Have you brought a mirror or a reproduction of a painting from your trip? Find a place for them, for example, on a cabinet with open shelves.
  7. Set the color. Color allows you to play and create different modern compositions. You can group items in shades of the same color or build a gradient, such as from beige to chocolate. The latter looks especially impressive on bookshelves, just like the “rainbow” of book spines. Look around and think about what color in the interior of the living room (or the room where you conceived open shelves) you can “support” the decor on the shelf. White or gray walls? Let the figure of the corresponding color appear on the shelf. Blue curtains? A “marine” photograph or a reproduction of a painting in blue-blue shades will fit perfectly.

Shelves for different interior styles

If you want to create a loft-style setting, pay attention to the most simple cabinets with open shelves and shelving. Most often they are made of metal or metal and wood, and bolts and screws can be added as parts.

It will be interesting Tips and Tricks for Making Beautiful DIY Flower Shelves 2023

If you appreciate minimalism, simplicity, and cleanliness of lines, you will most likely like the Scandinavian style. It is characterized by shelves made of wood, on which flower pots with plants, candles in clay pots, and posters or postcards in white, gray, or black will look great.

Romantic, cozy Provence style welcomes wooden shelves, painted white with the effect of scuffs and bumps. Copper dishes, jugs, bunches of dried herbs, and lavender look great on them.

Shelves for different interior styles

As you can see, for every possible disadvantage of open shelves, there is an advantage. If you’re dreaming of the most practical, discreet interior possible, the idea of ​​open storage may not be for you. If you want to go beyond the usual limits, give your home a special character, and are ready to periodically spend a little more time maintaining cleanliness and order – go for it! Comfort and beauty to your home.