...because home doesn't happen overnight.

We added open shelving in the kitchen. I love open shelves in any room so deciding to add some in the kitchen was easy. Finding the perfect shelves wasn’t so easy.

Originally, I wanted a chunky wood shelf with black brackets. Similar to this reclaimed wood shelf from West Elm. HH said we could totally DIY wood shelving BUT with all the other projects we have going on {installing & painting the rest of the interior doors, fixing the front door, painting the french doors, maybe some landscaping??, etc.} the shelves would quickly slip to the bottom of the to-do list. He thought white shelves would be the way to go anyway since we already have white upper cabinets in the rest of the kitchen. So, I started searching for readily available white shelves that would need no or little tweaking to work in our kitchen. They had to be at least 10 1/2″ deep to accommodate our dinner plates. Another stipulation was that the shelves had to have a hefty maximum capacity load because our everyday plates are thick and heavy.

It took me a while but I finally found the perfect shelf in the form of IKEA’s 11″ deepĀ EKBY JARPEN/EKBY BJARNUM wall shelf. I bought two of the 46 7/8″ shelves and four sets of brackets for $90. We knew we wanted two smaller shelves on either side of the range, so one long shelf could be cut into two smaller shelves. Two long shelves = four short shelves. Oh! And the max load capacity for these shelves is 33 lbs {once cut in half} – strong enough to hold our heavy plates.

HH was careful not to drill into the gas line that supplies the range. He pulled out the range to double check the gas line placement. During renovation, he was thinking ahead and marked off the gas line with an emphatic ‘NO!’ Gotta love his attention to detail…especially when it comes to not blowing up the house.

We were restricted in the placement of the shelving: 1) We couldn’t drill into the gas line. 2) We wanted to tie into a stud. 3) We wanted the lowest shelf just above the wall outlet. To the left of the range, the shelves tie into a stud around the window.

On the right, the shelves tie into s stud just left of the french doors. The shelves on the right are actually about an inch longer than the shelves on the left but it isn’t noticeable unless I tell you. All shelves sit about an inch and half away from the hood to allow for proper ventilation.

For now, the shelves hold everyday plates, bowls, glasses and a kitchen timer. There’s no rhyme or reason to the styling. I just threw everything up there for function but I actually think it doesn’t look half-bad. It’s so easy to grab a plate off the shelf and fill it for dinnertime. Or to snag the little glasses for water for the boys when they’re thirsty. Everything is right at my fingertips. It works for me. I live for stuff like this. Stuff that looks great and works even better.

At first, I was a little worried about the projection of the shelves over the countertops. Surprisingly, the 11″ deep shelves don’t obstruct the countertops at all. The lower shelves sit 12″ above the countertops and it’s plenty of space to place things on the counter and move around without a shelf knocking me in the face.

As far as cleaning goes, I wipe the shelves down with my dish drying towel when I’m unloading the dishwasher and reloading the shelves. I don’t know if that’s kosher but that’s what I’m doing. And since I don’t buy paper products to eat off of {we use real plates, bowls and glasses for all meals}, I’m reloading those shelves on a daily basis, so they’re getting dusted on a daily basis. It helps that our dishwasher is located just below the shelves {it’s in between the sink and range}. I don’t have to walk to the other side of the kitchen to put the dishes away.

I’m loving the function of these open shelves so much that I bought another one to hang under the cabinets in the microwave nook. I’m planning on moving our glasses to this longer shelf since it’s closer to the fridge where we get our drinking water. I’ll add coffee mugs as well. I don’t drink coffee on a daily basis {just a few times a month} but when I do, it’s nice to have everything in one place ready and waiting. This corner of the kitchen has become somewhat of a catchall and it really needs to be addressed. I’m going to tackle it {and the rest of the kitchen’s organization} after Everett starts preschool in a few weeks. You know, when I have more time.

The best thing about the shelves is that they have allowed me to empty out one huge drawer in the island and an upper cabinet. More room for storage! Yay!

The shelves are the newest additions to our IKEA kitchen. I was leery of using yet another IKEA product in the kitchen for fear of it looking too IKEA but I think they work well. The brackets pick up on the stainless steel appliances and lend an industrial feel. We still need to add a backsplash and accessories; hopefully those things will make the kitchen feel a little more custom and a little less store-bought.

Until then, I’m the most recent open shelf convert. I will always have some sort of open shelving in my kitchen from here on out, no matter where I live. Love it!

Do you have open shelving somewhere in your home that has freed up space or made your home more functional?

images: all except #2, Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 2) IKEA

37 Comments

24.August.2012

they look great! I love having some (not all) open shelving in a kitchen. In our last rental, the cabinets were hung oddly high, and I could barely reach the lowest shelf. We hung the same Ikea Ekby shelf directly underneath the cabinets to hold the dishes and cups we used most. I would love to do the same in this rental but we have a tiled backsplash everywhere.

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24.August.2012

I love the shelves! We bought two Grundtal open metal shelves to hang to the right of our stove and I’m chomping at the bit to get them up! Our kitchen is looking a little too “IKEA” right now – especially because we have the IKEA sinks, faucets and lighting – but we haven’t decided on the backsplash yet. Or rather, we haven’t found the tiles cheap enough yet ;) I hope that helps our kitchen out a bit. Yours doesn’t scream IKEA to me at all – it’s just beautiful and functional!

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24.August.2012

I love your new open shevles! We don’t have any in our house, but I’m not opposed to adding them at some point.

And I love the fact that your hubby thought ahead and wrote “no” near the gas line. Gold star for that! :)

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24.August.2012

The new shelves look great! Our kitchen is so tiny that most of the stuff is out on a counter/shelf for storage. But it’s the daily use items like you mentioned — they go in and out of the dishwasher so often that I haven’t noticed any real dust or dirt accumulation. My favorite thing is the Ikea Grundtal rail system — I have it hanging above the sink and love having everything at my fingertips. Thank goodness for their practical Scandanavian sensibilities!

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24.August.2012

Love your shelves! We used the same ones (brown-black) in our master bathroom above the toilet – the room is pretty small, and a cabinet would have taken up too much visual space. The shelves give us just as much storage, AND since they’re open, there’s a reason to keep them organized and looking good. We just did a reveal this week, and I’m totally loving it!

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replied on August 24th, 2012

Love the shelves in your bathroom and your penny tile ;) !!!

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24.August.2012

The shelves look awesome, and I like that they aren’t overly styled. They look perfect, nice and subtle.
Did you see Amanda Hesser’s kitchen, she of food52.com? You probably did because it was on Apartment Therapy but I have to mention it because I absolutely loved the backsplash organization she incorporated. The magnetic knife rack, paper towel holders, hooks for ladles and spatulas and things. It looks so good! And probably incorporates lots of stuff from Ikea :)
http://www.food52.com/blog/4072_renovating_the_food52_kitchen

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24.August.2012

I started to refinish some cabinets and was too lazy to do the doors (building new ones is next step of reno). for the location right above dw, we ended up leaving them open. On the top shelf, which I can’t reach w/o ladder, I proudly display all my gifted jams/jellies/sauces.

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24.August.2012

I really like it. I am excited to see

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replied on August 24th, 2012

Your back splash!

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24.August.2012

LOVE the convenience of open shelving! Ok, you seriously cannot talk about reclaimed wood shelves and then go with the IKEA ones and think that is going to help the IKEA one’s case… the poor guys never had a chance! I kind of hate IKEA, but you were starting to win me over with your cabinets! I think you guys are really talented with all the jobs you have completed and the quality at which you did them. Plus living in the chaos. Enjoying seeing it come together.

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replied on August 24th, 2012

And ditto what Martha said. Glad you didn’t fill them with nicknacks!

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24.August.2012

I’m not a fan of open shelves, just because I cannot stand to see clutter, but I have seen some good use of it in other homes. I’m really not a fan of these shelves. I love your kitchen, I think it’s beautiful, but these seem to cheapen it for me. :( Hopefully a back splash with help with that!

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I love this! People talk about how everything gets dusty with open shelving but I think if you use it often it will be fine. I can’t wait to see the back splash!

I also think you can buy a bunch of stuff from Ikea and toss it in a room, or you can spend a ton of time planning and actually designing it to your needs like you guys did. There is a huge difference and it shows – your kitchen looks amazing.

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24.August.2012

We live in a rental that only has cabinets on one side of the galley kitchen. The previous tenants put in a small lower cabinet on one third of one side – we filled up the rest with a kitchen cart and those same ikea cabinets up to the ceiling (which by the way is something I think you should consider, it may look more even to have one more shelf aligned with the hood). Above the cabinet, we have a grundtal from which to hang our pots and pans. It’s not what I would have picked, but we can’t really change anything because it’s a rental and it works for now. The open shelving is surprisingly convenient.

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replied on August 24th, 2012

Adding a third shelf to either side of the hood is a great idea! I agree that the height would really add to the aesthetic. I just wouldn’t be able to reach it without a stool so less used items would go up there and it might take more of an effort to keep it clean. But we’ll see…

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24.August.2012

We have open Ikea shelves in our kitchen’s bar area (really just a dresser with bottles on a tray, and open shelves above!) It’s full of cool beer and cocktail glasses, and it’s right across from the fridges so it is quite convenient! I love a few open shelves, I think it adds a lot of functionality to a space.

We have these Ekby Jarpen shelves in our living room above the TV — we love them! And I love that with those brackets you can cut them to size without worrying about an exposed end!

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replied on August 24th, 2012

Yes, so easy! Just cut to size and then hide the unfinished edge with the brackets.

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24.August.2012

I love open shelving! Your kitchen is lovely!

We rent, and I wanted to do something with our basic kitchen. I took the doors off and lined the backs of the cabinets with pretty paper. I think it is so convenient and a little more personalized now.

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24.August.2012

I like the idea of open shelving near the stove but I would totally get it covered in spatters within a week. I like to stir fry and even when it seems like it’s not spitting, it is. How do you prevent those inevitable pan frying droplets from coating everything in sight?

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replied on August 24th, 2012

I’m a pretty neat cook. I try to clean up as I go. While I’m waiting for something to heat, I’ll start washing up dishes. While food is cooking/frying/baking, I’ll clean up too. It makes the final clean-up after the meal even easier and quicker. I’m not perfect though so using lids and paying attention to the burners not getting too hot {which causes more splattering} helps. Some flying food splatters are inevitable but the placement of the shelves hasn’t made my clean-up any more difficult. They aren’t directly over the range and there’s a good foot between the burners and the bottom of the lowest shelf. If I get any splatters, they’re just on the bottom of the lower shelves. I haven’t had any explosions that left food droplets on the actual dishes. If I did, I guess I would use those dishes for that meal. Ha!

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24.August.2012

Looks fantastic! I want open shelving sooo bad when we redo our kitchen! And there’s just something about Ikea…they always seem to have just what I’m looking for.

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24.August.2012

I love this! The shelves are beautiful and match the other elements of the kitchen so well.

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24.August.2012

I love your kitchen! It is eerily similar to mine in that we have the same lower cabinets, the same open shelves and the same oven hood! See!
http://scrapsandthistles.blogspot.com/2012/01/happy-new-year-and-um-merry-christmas.html?m=1
http://scrapsandthistles.blogspot.com/2012/05/illumination.html?m=1
The hood wasn’t installed yet in those pictures but you get the idea…

I also have a little one thats almost the same age as Mabey-5 months! so obviously I’m a fan;)

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replied on August 26th, 2012

Great minds think alike!

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24.August.2012

love. love. love.

im all for it. we have an open pantry and i keep our food in pretty ikea jars. I’ve also taken off the cabinet doors from a wall of upper cabinets. some people think im nuts but i love how everything suddenly feels more open and brighter.

your kitchen is coming together wonderfully. its so simple, modern, and clean yet welcoming. it really flows. excited to see more!

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24.August.2012

Looks great!

We used those same shelf brackets to fill a small gap between our pantry and the wall–we store cookbooks on the three shelves, and then store our broom underneath. we don’t have any other open storage in our current kitchen, because the cabinets go all the way to the ceiling and there is no other wall space, but I love the look of open shelves.

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24.August.2012

Yeah! Every time I saw a pic of your stove and hood, I wanted open shelving on each side of the hood.

So glad you did it. 100% better!

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24.August.2012

I just recently had to shift all my plates and bowls down From their pretty shelves to a drawer within kid reach so they could be self-sufficient. Do you have a second set for the kids?

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24.August.2012

Ooooh I totally noticed the shelves were different sizes before you told me. I like it, it looks gorg!

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25.August.2012

I love the look of that! I definitely plan on having open shelving in our kitchen once we renovate it – I think it’s always looks so great!

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26.August.2012

Loove your open shelving… and the entire Kitchen, really. I’ve been planning/ wishing to redo our kitchen and those shelves are at the top of my list.

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26.August.2012

Do you have a picture from across the room to contrast with your last post?

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28.August.2012

Hi, again,

I think your shelves would look the best going all the way up to the ceiling. It would definitely give your guests coming in the front door a high impact experience.. That area (stove and hood) will be the first thing their eyes go to.

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01.October.2012

I LOVE your kitchen! It’s very close to what we are building. What are your backsplash ideas? I’ve got the range hood and open shelves in, but I’m not sure how far up to take the backsplash, or how far down the wall or how to end it as the wall continues into the next room. Has cooking splatters been a problem?

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08.February.2014

Shelves still hanging strong?

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replied on February 10th, 2014

Yep! We love them.

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