Monday, October 7, 2013

KITCHEN OPEN SHELVING DILEMMA

Open kitchen shelves on the left
We have a great old school kitchen at the farm.  Part of that retro look are these open shelves.  Now many of you that have followed the blog through our various decorating and organizing issues know that I can come up with some pretty good stuff at times...but I have to say that I am totally stuck on this one.

These are two open shelf units, one on each side of the kitchen window (the sink is directly below that window).  Honestly, I have NO idea what to put in these or how best to use them.  Part of the problem is that they are kind of shallow (a large dinner plate for example hangs out past the shelf) and secondly, they are tall so when you put something on them, there is a lot of dead space above whatever you put there.

Open kitchen shelves on the right
The obvious choices are dishes, glasses, etc.  Well, we have the cool yellow Nadeau hutch that holds all of our dishes and drinking glasses.  Another choice might be canned goods (like store bought canned goods) but we have the mudroom shelves that can hold all of that.  Another obvious option would be flours/sugars/and other baking supplies but we have a place for that as well (which I'll show soon).  I guess that might be part of the issue, we don't have anything we 'need' to put on them.  As you can see, we have just randomly put some stuff there but we don't like it.  It feels incomplete, if that makes sense?

Maybe there is something I'm not thinking of that I could put up there?  Baskets for storage?  Something decorative?  A way to dress them up?

So I'm throwing it out there.  Y'all have helped over the last couple of years with some great suggestions for other issues, so now we're hoping for more!

Any and all suggestions are welcomed!

43 comments:

  1. Is there some reason you can't take them out? Or put in deeper ones? Or custom fit something you like better?

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    1. Cookbooks, gorgeous storage-like old refrigerator dishes or beautiful jars, might also be an option?

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    2. They are a bit permanently attached, and removing them (at this point anyway) would create more mess than we'd want to tackle right now. That will probably be a future project. I could figure out a way to add another shelf inside I'm sure so I might be able to tackle that. I like the cookbook idea. While we do have a bookcase full, that's not a bad solution to at least move some in there and put some variety (and height) in the shelves. Pretty jars would be nice too. Thx!

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    3. A couple of things some to mind to enhance what you already have going on... Perhaps you could either paint the background of the shelves to add some color, or put in a vintage wallpaper. Put larger platters leaned upright on the back of the shelf to add interest. Lastly you could put in some cup hooks to hang cups or vintage kitchen gadgets (even though you already have a great display for those)

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    4. I like the idea of painting or papering the background!

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    5. I came across some wallpaper at Menard's yesterday. It was a raised texture that looked like tin ceiling tiles. The paper can be painted.

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    6. Wyse and Tonya, GREAT ideas. Love that. Maybe instead of paint, I think I like the idea of paper (will need less of a stead hand, ha). Funny, I was thinking of those tin ceiling tiles at one point. Hmmm....mind is processing! :-)

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  2. I would definitely add two more shelves -- you would leave the tall stuff where it is now and have a shelf for short stuff above each tall space.

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    1. Yeah, the more I look at them (I've stared at the pics for awhile), I think an extra couple of shelves would be a good suggestion.

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  3. I'd add more shelves to them, it's not hard with metal brackets to screw in to hold them. Be sure to use enough for support or a rail across the back like is there already if you put anything heavy like cookbooks in them.

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    1. Thank you ladyhawthorne, I didn't think about the support rail but yes, great idea.

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  4. I'd suggest rice & dried beans of various colors in glass jars of various sizes. I would love an open shelf for all my dried herbs that are in various sized mason jars.

    Also, not sure if you follow http://acultivatednest.com/ but Manuela has some great ideas.

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    1. DFW is really on to something here. jars of beans, rice, lentils, quinoa, various types of pasta, herbs, containers of flour, sugar, spices, etc - i think that would look absolutely "farmy"!

      your friend,
      kymber

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    2. DFW ad Kymber, wonderful idea. You know we have a spot for some of that, it's a spot I'm working on and finishing up (almost ready for it's closeup, ha). But we only have put flours, sugars and stuff like that there. We need a place for beans and rice and lentils and OF COURSE pasta. I think that scattered around with cookbooks, and some other things might just be awesome.

      And DFW, thanks also for the link, haven't seen that site and love it.

      Thank you both!!!

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    3. Light is one of the robbers of nutrients. It looks homey and country, but you want to keep all foodstuffs in jars in the dark. Even pasta will suffer from a loss of nutrients.

      I used quarter round to put on all three sides to hold a shelf. It will look more rustic than metal brackets. Plus, you can lift the shelf out to use it for taller items in the future if you wish. I used a level to get the quarter round correctly places. You could even put quarter round under the permanent shelves to make it all look the same.

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  5. I think what you have going on already is pretty nice! I'd encourage you to put things in the shelves that are handy for what you do below the shelves; looks like you have your mixer below one, and are sticking with baking things....looks great! I'd say stack your mixer bowls together ( if possible) move the black bowl over and set it on a stack of your favorite baking cookbooks, put a sack of flour, your baking powder etc in the red basket. You could stash your measuring spoons, whisks, spatulas and such in the measuring cup ( which you will move over, since the mixer bowls are stacked)

    Also, put some cup hooks in, especially if you have cute measuring cups to show off, but cups and mugs always look great hanging. You could make a little coffee/tea station out of one of the cabinets perhaps?

    You can get 12x12 scrapbook papers for less than a dollar a piece to change out the look of the back of your cabinets, too.

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    1. That's why I asked, y'all are coming up with things I hadn't thought of. Love the idea of books on their backs with things stacked on top. And hooks, great idea. And best of all, scrapbook papers! I will research all of those ideas.

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  6. I like Tammy's suggestion to put cup hooks and coffee mugs, and maybe find some old tea and coffee tins (or reproductions), maybe an old cocoa container, and use it as your beverage center. You could put tall jars or glass cannisters of dried beans, dried peas, pastas, rice, etc. on the other shelves, maybe with 2-3 cookbooks.

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    1. Yes, a beverage center is a great idea. We don't have a spot for that. And storing coffee/tea/etc in tins (even reproductions) is a great idea I hadn't thought of. Seems like I always see reproductions in Marshalls and other type stores. And we need dried things as well. Thank you!!!

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  7. Couldn't you place those large dinner plates in there standing up? The highly decorative ones? That is.. they make those slate holders where you stove plates under cabinetry. I bet you could notch small grooves into the shelf board that the lips of the plates rest in.

    The current idea of my own for plates in the small kitchen will be to have one of those plate slides mounted above the counter top and under the upper cabinets.

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    1. I've always loved those plate slides. Hmm, good idea. In fact just getting some colorful plates that I could stand up in there would act to provide color and such in the background, maybe without having to paint/paper? My mind is working! Thank you Cloud!!

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  8. 1st Man,

    How about using canning jars and store your spices in these, and place them on the shelves.

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    1. Oh my gosh, I was sitting at work today (daydreaming, er, I mean, working....) and that flashed through my mind, canning jars. We have some jars by the stove with some spices but we always need more. Thanks!!

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    2. Spices need to be kept in the dark, also.

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    3. Great reminder. Our mudroom is mostly dark. The kitchen is not entirely lit up, when we leave we pull the shades and it's pretty dark but it is a reminder that I need to be aware of that. Thanks!!

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  9. What about installing another shelf in the frame (inside, bottom shelf) that is a larger depth? You could notch the shelf to "hide" the difference of the corner edges and it would look deliberate Then it would be deep enough for the plates. Maybe even add some decorative brackets under the bottom shelf to support the front extended edge.

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    1. I forgot to you would need to add a trim piece on the front edge to disguise the depth difference. I am sure whatever you choose it will look great!

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    2. Tonya, I know you are going to be going through your own fun decorating projects in the kitchen soon, ha. I like that idea of brackets under it. The only problem with making them deeper is the counter is kind of shallow. But you have inspired me, I'm thinking of trim pieces along the front edge anyway, just to dress it up a bit. Wonderful suggestion!

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  10. I love open shelving, but as we have a fire which produces a lot of soot.... Everything gets bloody dirty

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    1. John-everytime I read one of your blog posts or comments--it is with a british accent. lol I can't help it I am sucker for an accent. I hope someday to be able to cross the pond and visit your lovely country.

      And I don't think I could have open shelves (3 dogs, 2 cats and a messy husband). I would be paranoid all the time of dirt and clutter

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    2. You know John and Tonya, I agree 100%, open shelves do have their own set of problems. Of course, they also have the inherent problem of you can junk up your cabinets and close the doors normally, these are out there for the world to see, ha. Cat hair, soot and all, ha.

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  11. I like Sandy's idea. I thought of mason jars filled with cinnamon sticks, cloves, different salts etc.... And the list goes on. Either way, make it yours.
    Diana from Canada

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    1. Hello Diana from Canada! Thanks for stopping by!!! Mason jars have my mind working overtime too, ha. Great for storing those things you sometimes need but don't always need, if that makes sense. Stay tuned!

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  12. On the left, I would put glasses on the bottom with cup hooks, glasses & cups in the same bottom shelf. I would stack the bowls in the middle or put in a 1"x1" strip so that you could display a platter and it won't fall out.
    On the top, I would put the red baskets for some color, maybe with an air plant and other odds & ends, I'm sure you have.

    On the right, I would stack the bowls with color at top. Jars or mugs with utensils, like wood spoons, colored spoons, Colored jars for teas, sugars, coffee, flour, etc. Maybe the baking stuff since I see the mixer.

    Love the idea of color for the back side of the cabinets. Good luck.

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    1. Wow, you thought it out, THANK YOU. I love the idea of the 1x1 strip to act as a way of holding things in. I was thinking of something decorative like that but never thought about it serving two purposes. Definitely color too. Or of course a platter could provide some color too, ha. Thanks, you are awesome!

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  13. Oh, I wish I had your problem, shelves with nothing to put on them. There have been some great ideas already. I really like the cook book idea and the baking station.

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    1. Ha, I understand. Yes, we're blessed that we have this opportunity. Cookbooks and baking station are at the top of the list too. Thanks!!

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  14. I think I would put in cup hooks to hang some cups from, that would deal with the dead space, and then maybe some of your smaller side plates, or pretty kilner jars with useful or decorative stuff. If I truly didn't need them for storage then I would just display items on there.

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    1. Hello!!! Cup hooks will find their way in, you're right that would take up some of the dead space huh? Great suggestions with the plates and the jars. If we don't need everything as storage, some decoration will be nice. Thanks!!!

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  15. I would put lights under the top and middle shelves and create a kitchen herb and flower garden.

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    1. Wow, now there's some thinking too!! That's not a bad idea. Only down side is we might not be there often enough to take care of them properly but you've definitely given me 'food for thought', ha, no pun intended!

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  16. You might consider a plant - either one that requires little water, or decorative for now until you are there full time. Perhaps an old coffee grinder, colander, even some black and white photos in colored frames, or colored photos in distressed, colored wood frames. Think of the things a grandmother might have used on the farm - a table meat grinder lying on its side, for instance. You might consider a stack of dish cloths/towels in the color of your choice, or roll them up and put them in a basket. Even a decorative LED type candle or two would be nice. I like the shelves, and will enjoy seeing how you put them to use.

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