The open kitchen look—it's fabulous, but requires an almost obsessive disposition for tidiness and a propensity to love dusting. But hey... nobody's saying you have to dive head-first into open shelves in the kitchen. If you like the look of stacking your best wares out in the open in the kitchen (or if you just need a little extra room), look for a small (or big!) nook where you can squeeze in a few floating shelves to extend your kitchen storage.
With just a tiny space next to the end of their upper cabinets, Greg and Ashley cut store-bought floating shelves in half to create compact spots with just enough room for dish towels and dog treats in their Hanover, Virginia, ranch home. I just love how it's a functional way to balance out the space around their kitchen window (who doesn't need more storage?). Check out their process on 7th House on the Left.
Kerry and Andy built floating shelves from scratch to fill a space in their Cleveland home between the upper cabinets and a floor-to-ceiling exposed brick chimney. It was a huge effort (read about it here on Burritos and Bubbly). But when the result is perfectly-proportioned shelves that work great and look great? Well worth the effort.
If there's lots of open space, say, on either side of a range hood, it's the perfect spot to fill in with a symmetrical arrangement of open shelves. The ones in this University City home featured in San Diego Magazine are attached on one side to the upper cabinets and to the boxed-in fridge on the other, creating a built-in look for spices and other gear for easy access during cooking.