Making the switch to open shelving is more than a design choice: it’s a lifestyle change. And I absolutely love our new lifestyle 10 million times more than I thought I would! Of course, loving is easy when the shelves are this beautiful. 😉 We worked with Shelfology to make this transformation happen, and boy am I impressed!
Styling with Shelfology:
I’ve said it before: open shelving against a totally-tiled wall is a POWER pairing! This look is on-trend for a reason—because it’s as beautiful as it is functional. Without the bulk of a cabinet, the design elements all get to shine on their own.
And shine they do! My favorite feature of the Aksel shelf, by Shelfology is the lights we had embedded into the underside of the shelf. If you give Shelfology the dimensions, they’ll cut a custom channel that fits your LED lightstrip. Ours connect directly into an electrical wire in the wall, and it really makes the look feel extra polished.
I’m so glad we went with the wood finish, which brings such an organic warmth to the space. When I was first toying with the idea of open shelving, I wanted to go for a really modern look and had my eye on Shelfology’s Tromso Steel Floating Shelf. They’re so sleek and sexy, but I knew I wanted brass to be the finish on display, and opted for a material that wouldn’t compete with what was already going on in the room.
Shelving Pro Tip:
My biggest piece of advice when switching to open shelving is to consider what you’re actually going to put on your shelves before you buy, so you can be sure to get exactly what you need!
You can’t just throw a whole bunch of stuff on a floating shelf, since not only is it all totally visible, there’s often a weight limit! Open shelving makes you think twice about buying stuff too, because you don’t have as much space. I know Travis thinks this is great! 😂
A Real Lifestyle Commitment
Open shelves are becoming more and more of an aesthetic—but I didn’t want to JUST do it for the trend. I wanted our switch to be more than a cosmetic change. Open shelving is an opportunity to shed light on your values. Literally! Everything is out in the open, creating a more transparent, authentic, and vulnerable space.
As human beings, we crave structure. Creating an internal infrastructure supports healthy wellbeing, and it’s a great way to stay organized at-a-glance. We have the best of both worlds, with a few cabinets that give us the privacy to house our less instagram-able objects, and the shelves can show off the beautiful pieces we use every day!
I still have a few cabinets that house some glasses and mugs, and a drawer full of water bottles. If you’ve gone all-in on open shelving, you can always add baskets and trays for easy access to bits & baubles. But whether your covered-cabinet space is limited or non-existent, you’ll need to be intentional in your editing to keep the organization purposeful.
You can bet we did not take the conversion lightly—I did a LOT of editing when we gutted our old kitchen! I KNEW what was behind those cabinets, and it had all been sitting there for years and years and years. It was just clutter! Now that everything is open, I don’t feel guilt that I have extra stuff that I’m not going to use.
It’s a very freeing feeling!
Open Shelving vs. Kids
For many people, open shelving is a deal-breaker simply because they know the lifestyle is a no-go. Once the doors are gone, there’s no longer the option of shoving things into cabinets where they can’t be seen. I think particularly of the early days of parenthood, all those sippy cups and plastic wares are not exactly made for display!
All the kiddie stuff was first on our list to go, and I was overjoyed to part with it! I still kept a few plates and cups, which I now keep in a drawer accessible to our eight year old. She’s not tall enough to reach the shelves anyway, so it doesn’t exactly make sense to store them up high. Plus, I want to empower my kids to help with chores and serve themselves. In order to be successful helpers, they should know where their tools are kept and have everything within reach.
We’ve set our shelves up to be primarily for Travis & I. Not that our older girls can’t reach the plates and bowls—to be honest, I’m not much taller than our teen. 😂 The bottom shelves are really accessible, just as cabinets would be. And It’s definitely not hard to grab a wine glass when I need it!
#Shelfie Styling Pro Tips:
All this talk about lifestyle, but there is really something special about actually STYLING these shelves! After all, what’s a design trend without a little fun?! Here are my favorite methods for setting up the perfect shelfie:
- A vintage element can really help to add museum-style interest. Our wooden bowl gives the shelves an earthy, organic feel, and I have my eyes peeled for a vintage utensil caddy.
- Up the eye-candy factor with a soft landscape painting. This one is from an old Target trip, can you believe it?! If you have an artistic skill set, you can even paint your own!
- Mix your clear glass with white or cream colored plates. The play of transparent and solid creates great depth, without overwhelming the shelf in color.
- Add a metal element for a little bling to catch the eye. Our brass oil cruet is one of my favorite features on our shelves, and having it easily accessible is perfect since I use it again and again!
I can’t wait to see your shelfie game.