Design Trend: Open Shelving

To display or not to display: this one can cause a design debate. Typically, clients are either on board or adamantly against open shelving. We’ve heard the comebacks, “Why would I want to see my stuff?” Or “They’re practical for everyday items!”

“I had one client say, ‘I had open shelving; but I’m done with it! I want it closed to hide my stuff!’” recalls Mountainwood designer Sierra Lemieux.

Open or floating shelves provide an airy appearance and breaks up heavy upper cabinets. The shelves can add interest and lend space to decorate with cookbooks, everyday glasses, dishes and serving items.

“It’s a chance to add personality,” adds Lemieux. “My eye always goes toward open shelving because it’s a place to highlight artwork or a collection in an organized, confined area.”

The downside? You’re on display! Everything should coordinate and look good together. Plus, you need to keep the shelves clean since they will accumulate dust.   

The trend will likely be around for a while longer. After many years of the closed-in cabinet trend, it’s a chance to do something different during a remodel or when building a custom home.

No matter what style you like, there are ways to implement open shelving into your home. Open shelves also allow you to add under-cabinet lighting to really show off the space and give depth.

What do you think? Are you team “open shelves” or “hide my stuff?”

Here are some Mountainwood Homes projects that feature open shelving.