This Is the One Item You’ll Want to Collect for Your Kitchen’s Open Shelves

published Dec 13, 2022
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Open shelves are a controversial topic, especially when it comes to kitchens. That’s because kitchens get messy, whether you’re an avid home cook or not. They accumulate grease, dust, and splatters just by the nature of the room, and when it comes to open shelves, there’s a very vocal subset that thinks they’re entirely impractical in such a messy space. Sure, if your open shelves are filled with items you never touch, that might be the case, but I have first hand experience with open shelves in my own kitchen. Trust me: If you’re frequently using the items on display, they stay clean and fresh without a problem. This begs the question: What does belong on open shelving in a kitchen?

Credit: Selena Kirchoff

Of course, the answer to this question is different for everyone. For Clare O’Connell and Michael Harte, the answer is: decorative plates and serveware displayed face out, much like a vintage plate rack in an older home. O’Connell, in fact, says this collection of pieces is one of her favorite things in the London home.”I love buying vintage plates and crockery for my dresser in the kitchen,” she told Apartment Therapy in her house tour. Typically, you’d find this kind of collection in a dining room, but why not a kitchen? It makes just as much sense in this room.

While the couple have more often-used items out on their slab-style open shelving that runs along the same sink wall, the built-in area O’Connell has referenced is a bit more shielded, so they’re able to display a stunning collection of vintage plates, serving dishes, pitchers, and more there. So if you’ve got a set of open shelves you’re struggling to fill or style, the next time you’re perusing a flea market or thrift store, pick up some decorative plates and dishes. You can even use the countertop to showcase your recent acquisitions; it’s the perfect place for footed cake trays and larger bowls! Visually, you might find it helpful to stick to a color scheme for cohesion as O’Connell has here, with her greens, yellows, and blues that pop against the black of her cabinetry. You could go the multicolor route, too. It’s all up to you and what you want to collect.