5 Styling Ideas for Kitchen Open Shelves

Vintage Plates

One of the first items on my fall decorating agenda is to swap out our everyday dishes to autumn colors/themes. When we remodeled our kitchen {you can see the “old” kitchen here, “Our Home’s 15 Year Anniversary: So Close To Amazing”}, I was intent on making the window over our sink bigger and having our everyday dishes and glasses on open shelving. I wanted our guests to feel right at home grabbing a glass of water themselves and also wanted to enjoy my seasonal dishware throughout the year.

For fall, I currently have 3 sets of dishes, seen in the pic above (yes, I am a dishaholic). The colorful set at the top was rescued by my Dad from the basement of his old employer, the University of MN. I’m guessing they were used in the student cafeteria at some time. The label says they’re Syracuse China, Econo-rim. I love the colorful, vintage-y pattern and the relief design around the edges. I’m also smitten with the little pitchers and the mini butter pat plates.

Syracuse China Econo-rim pitchers

Vintage Syracuse China Econo-rim

Which brings me to my first tip for styling open kitchen shelves:

Maximize your space by hanging coffee cups/mugs and small pitchers from cup hooks beneath your shelf.

Not only will it look cute, but your guests will easily be able to grab their own coffee cup, which will make them feel right at home;)

Mini succulent.

Mini succulent plant

My second set of dishes is this newer chocolate brown transferware-type from the 70’s (I think). I love the graphic punch of these plates and how they let me use the color brown on my table. These two pics show my next tip:

Tuck little pots of fake foliage in with your stacks of dishes to add some beauty to all that function.

I know it will be a first world pain when your kids have to use 2 hands, one to lift up the pot and the other to grab a plate, but seriously…my kids have had to do this type of thing their whole lives and they’re turning out pretty good;) It’s kind of like teaching them to put their napkin in their lap before a meal…good training!

Green Currier and Ives

Vintage dishes.

My third set of fall dishes is the newest to the family. It’s a set of green Currier and Ives that we used to have at my childhood cabin. The scene of an old mill, surrounded by  leafless trees with antique ox yokes and plows around the edges, remind me of harvest-time. I also couldn’t turn them down for the $5 church sale price! {Read more about church sales in my posts, “For the Love and Comfort of Church Sales” and “Church Sales 101“.}

Which reminds me,

Don’t just stack your plates, stand some!

Stand  your seasonal plates in a plate rack, if you have one. Lean them against the wall behind (heavy) stacks of bowls and stacked plates. And hang them on the wall behind and above the shelves with plate hangers. I usually lean my larger platters, but also hung the restaurant-ware platters I just picked up thrifting {see “On the Hunt for Fall Textures”}. They’re decorative and easily accessible.

Vintage plates and glasses

Vintage restaurant-ware platters

I’m thinking these platters need some words?  They look kind of plain. Maybe I’ll print something off in a cute font. Any ideas for autumn-friendly words? Gather, Harvest, Bless? Don’t think I want to permanently stencil on them, just tape, so I can change my mind…because I always do;)

And of course,

Stack and arrange your glasseware creatively.

Vintage glasses

I’ve collected this olive and aqua stemware through the years. We use them everyday (during autumn) so I put them in the dishwasher and don’t really care that they’re getting a little cloudy. I like to use my pretty things, not just revel in their supposed value.

I elevated the back couple of rows of glasses with different sized wooden cheese boxes. It just makes for a more appealing vignette, and the glasses are still easy to grab.

Ikea coffee mugs

And no, not everything I own is old! I love these 99 cent Ikea mugs in various seasonal colors. With just 2 of each, I can display a whole color scheme! They don’t fit in my cup hooks, so I just stack them around on the plates and bowls. I think it adds a little whimsy to the display and helps to keep the shelves looking friendly and approachable;)

Add items other than your plates and glasses.

Gold refrigerator dishes

I love how the autumn sunshine gleams through the amber refrigerator dishes. I don’t use them often, but having them on display keeps them handy for when I do. And the couple of odd serving pieces I have of the vintage dishes can come in handy for dips or condiments also. But for everyday, they look great with a little clearance rack succulent.

Vintage dishware

I’ve even got a T.V. on my open shelves for the ultimate in functionality! And it looks just fine next to it’s pretty vintage neighbors.

Open kitchen shelves

All set for fall! At least in this little corner;)

This wall is actually slated to get painted a dove gray and hopefully get treated to some Carrera Marble subway tile eventually. And I’m supposed to be sewing some cafe curtains for that lonely rod. That’s how it goes with home decorating and styling, always a process, always something else to do. But for now it looks cute enough. (Except for that out-of-season Mrs. Meyers I forgot to take out of the photo:( )

Hope this gives you some ideas for styling open kitchen shelves. Do you have them? Want them?

Open kitchen shelves

Brown artwork

Sharing at these lovely parties:

Farmhouse Friday

Vintage Charm

Friday Favorites

DIY Salvaged Junk Projects

4 thoughts on “5 Styling Ideas for Kitchen Open Shelves

  1. Your kitchen shelving is darling! I’ve been flirting with the idea of open shelves for a while… but I might have to up my dish game! Lol. Love the olive and aqua combo! Super pretty Lora! And no judging for anything not quite finished– I totally get it! Happy Thursday!


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