Think of your open shelving like a bookshelf. Switch the directions of items to create interest, and consider incorporating art or small decorative objects interspersed with your kitchen tools and tableware.
Think of it like a wall art collage. When hanging objects on hooks or a pegboard, think about it like a wall art collage. Spacing can make a collage of hanging objects feel busy or relaxing, and the same sorts of ideas behind wall collages — having each item have something in common — can help create organization to something that could easily turn haphazard.
Leaning's a perfectly acceptable form of display and can add some depth to your space. Lean art on a shelf or on top of a cabinet or countertop, lean plates and platters on their sides, and consider adding layers by creating vignettes of leaning objects.
When in doubt, go for the combo. Who says you can't have hanging, stacking and leaning displays in one kitchen? Heck, maybe even in the same display area? Just keep in mind clutter when creating your kitchen display.
(Images: Marcia Prentice, Adrienne Breaux, Bethany Nauert, Andie Wurster and Eleanor Büsing)