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Open Shelving in the Kitchen

By House*Tweaking on Aug 24, 2012

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″ deep 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

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