What Should I Know About Using Open Shelving in the Kitchen?

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Whether or not you love the look of open shelving in kitchens, it’s definitely a trend in kitchen design and kitchen renovations that’s here to stay in 2019.

Open shelving, also called floating shelving, is popular for using dishes and accessories to add aesthetic interest to a kitchen and because it’s easy and convenient to keep frequently used items in close reach. An added benefit is that, if a kitchen has a backsplash, more of it is visible because it is not covered by closed shelves. Floating shelves are less popular for people who worry that they will collect dust or make the kitchen look cluttered.

If you’re considering adding open shelving to your kitchen, here are the answers to our clients’ top three questions. If you have (or have had) open shelving in your kitchen, we invite you to share your experience in the Comments section.

How Much does Open Shelving Cost?

The short answer to this question is in that it depends on several variables. The size of your kitchen, the number of shelves you need and the type of shelving you choose will impact the cost.

If you have a small kitchen and you choose sturdy, affordable shelving from a big box store, you can probably keep your costs lower than buying closed cabinets to cover the same area.

However, if you choose a costly material for the shelves (e.g. solid wood) with a customized design, costs can add up quickly. Another cost to consider is that additional bracing is required behind the sheetrock to support the floating shelves.

How Often Will I Need to Dust Floating Shelves?

Quite simply, open areas in any room are prone to collecting dust.

Customers and designers who prefer floating shelves in the kitchen say that this design motivates them to clean and maintain their kitchen more often. They do not think it adds to their cleaning duties because they have made it a part of their regular routine. Open shelves need to be dusted regularly as do the dishes, glasses and other items displayed on them. Secondly, vent fans can circulate grease from cooking that can travel to open shelving.

Kitchens with closed shelving need to be maintained, too, because they collect cooking oils, splatters and fingerprints. In particular, closed cabinets with glass fronts can look foggy or dirty if they are not cleaned often.

Regardless of the type of shelving you choose for your kitchen, you will need to clean it regularly to keep them looking their best.

Are Open Shelves a Safe Option for Animals and Small Children?

As with any choice you make in your home, you need to keep in mind who will be using it (and their habits). For example, if your curious cat loves to climb trees, you may see your fluffy friend in some interesting places in your kitchen. If you have a toddler who enjoys climbing, it may be best to wait to install floating shelves until that stage passes. However, there are plenty of clients with open shelving with animals and small children who have never had a safety issue.

We hope that this information about open shelving helps you make the best choice for your kitchen renovation project. We invite you to share your thoughts and experiences related to open shelving in the Comments below.