• MG Home Chicago

Open Shelving - love or hate?!

Updated: Jun 11, 2019

Seems like I've been spending every free minute consulting people on kitchen designs. Our kitchens are the heart of our homes. Kitchens are where everyone congregates no matter how many charcuterie platters we put in the living room. Big open counter tops and sprawling islands have been the dream for every kitchen owner. Why? Counter space. Counter tops used to be the only multi purpose aspect of a kitchen. They have served as catch-alls for mail/coupons, dining tables, prep areas, seating (us shorties love to pop up and sit on the counter top), and general assembly halls for every important discussion. Now, in part to trend setters like Joanna Gains, and a general shift towards modern clean lines, our cabinetry is suddenly multi-functional too! Well - if you aren't too scared that is. How do cabinets have multiple functions you ask? Welcome to open shelving.


I'm going to start this off by saying the following: I'm a big fan BUT only if done properly. The number one question I have gotten in 2019 when discussing kitchens, "Should be ditch some cabinets and put open shelves instead?" Well, it depends.


Open shelving is great to break up the monotony of endless upper cabinets. It's a way to bring some airiness and openness to an otherwise overwhelming and endlessly boring kitchen. Open shelving gives you an opportunity to mix textures and make a kitchen match the uniqueness of your home. It also, in my opinion, is the best thing to do next to a window. I can not stand cabinetry framing both sides of a window in a kitchen. The cabinets absorb so much of the magical and rare, natural lighting you've been gifted in that particular kitchen. Let the light in! Now - multi functions you ask? Open shelves allow for storage just as cabinets but you can now use the storage as a way to bring color into your space. Also, you can now add plants, books and create defined spaces and nooks in your kitchen all with the items you already had. This is expert level designing without spending a dime!


Single family perfection featured in @Dominomag.


My condo owners, we've got you covered too!

Andrea Van Soest at @vantagedesign studio nailed it.



(Zillow also thinks its a top way to make your home sell faster!) https://finance.yahoo.com/news/listing-features-could-help-house-130954438.html


How open shelving becomes a big, fat NO....


1. Open shelving is like colors in your space. These shelves need to be used in moderation and with proper placement. Having an entire kitchen with open shelving will make you the most stressed out person. You'll have nowhere to hide the mess, and we all have some mess.

2. Items places on the open shelving need to have been placed with a reason. Your open shelving is not for a miss matching of every brand of cooking spices. This will make your kitchen look cluttered no matter how tidy you make it.

3. Do not crowd your open shelves. The beauty of them is making your kitchen feel open. Don't make it over flow with every bowl and plate you've ever bought, been gifted or taken home from a dinner party and forgot to return.


Zillow and I agree - this version of open shelving will NOT sell your home faster!

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By Michaela Gordon. Proudly created with Wix.com

Tel: (847)821-0853

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