How Open Shelving Transformed My Small Kitchen

With minimal storage options, open shelving gave my kitchenware a home.

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white shelves with various kitchen items
Photo: Courtesy of Madeline Diamond

When I moved into my studio apartment about two months ago, I was making a conscious decision to sacrifice space in order to live alone in New York City. And with that, I knew I'd have to get creative with storage, especially in my kitchen, which has minimal cabinet space. Luckily, since I love my dishes and have plenty of sentimental (and gorgeous) kitchenware that I've collected over the years, I found that installing open shelving was a no-brainer solution.

In my apartment, I have four Rubbermaid White Laminated Wood Shelves that are 10 inches deep and 48 inches long, and one of them is dedicated to kitchenware. At just $9 per shelf, accompanied by simple steel brackets at $3 each, this shelving option is impressively affordable and lets my dishes and other treasures take center stage. The shelves are sturdy enough to hold up to 200 pounds when properly installed, so you can be sure that your things are secure. And while I opted for sleek white, you can also find these shelves in nine other finishes, ranging from black to beechwood.

Floating Wall Shelf

To buy: $9 each;

On my kitchen shelf, I store my Our Place dishes, including the stylish Main Plates, Side Bowls, and Drinking Glasses, as well as some of my favorite vintage dessert plates. Instead of using my one kitchen drawer for silverware, I store it in a tall mug, while I use Mason jars for chopsticks and cheese knives. I also use glass jars to store treats and other items, which are not only convenient, but add a playful touch. On another shelf, I keep my French press and favorite coffee mug, saving cabinet and counter space there as well.

White and pink and orange plates, bowls, and glasses
Courtesy of Our Place

To buy: $125,

Since I enjoy my dishes and kitchenware so much, it makes so much sense to display them and allow them to become a part of my apartment decor rather than hide them in my kitchen cabinets, where space is already short. This way, I'm able to use my limited cabinet space to store less aesthetically pleasing items, like packaged food and bulkier kitchen appliances.

Keep scrolling for more simple yet stunning shelves of various sizes you can add to your space.

Floating Wall Shelf

To buy: $32 for two;

Floating Wall Shelf

To buy: $35 (was $46);

Floating Wall Shelf

To buy: $80;

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