Is Open Office Shelving Right for You?

Chances are, if you're reading Apartment Therapy, you're not the type to just accept what you're given with a home. You're always looking for ways to improve your apartment and make it all seamlessly fit your life. While you might have considered taking the doors off the kitchen cabinets (a great visual trick for renters in small spaces), you might not have considered that open shelving might work in another room in the home: Your office.

But before you make the plunge and start tearing off doors or switching out file cabinets for floating shelves, sit in your workspace and ask yourself a few questions.

Do you have a small office?
If feeling constrained is really cramping your office style, switching out closed-off storage for open shelves might help. Just like in the kitchen, open shelving in the office can create an airier feeling, as long as it's not overcrowded or cluttered.

Are you organized?
Open shelves mean there's nowhere to hide messes. If you're naturally organized--the kind of person whose cabinets would be spotless with or without doors--you'll do well with open shelves.


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Everything in its place in Maurice's loft office.


Do you work with lots of tools or references at once?
If you need instant access to lots of tools throughout the course of your work, open shelving can help. Without doors and compartments, you can see everything at a glance and grab what you need easily. It's like an expansion to your desktop space.

Do you actually use everything you store?
One of the biggest "cons" about open shelving is that you leave everything open to dust and dirt. But that's only a problem if you don't actively use most of what's on your shelf. If you've pared down your gear and only keep often-used items around, dust won't ever be a huge problem.

Is your work or hobby creative?
Professionals in creative industries are a more likely fit for open office shelving because they work with materials and tools that have inherent aesthetic qualities. Dull finance textbooks don't quite make the best backdrop for your workspace, but garments, jars of ribbon and colorful art supplies definitely do.


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Vintage clothes look great in the Adore Vintage studio.


(Images: Rosa's Wonderful Creative Space, Maurice's Chicago Timber Loft Office, Inside the Lovely Studio of Adore Vintage)