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How to master shelving in your kitchen and dining space

Perfect the art of shelving, storage and the shelfie with these expert tips...
   Martha Roberts  |  written on: 07-02-2019 09:00am

Every type of shelving has a part to play in a kitchen, whether to keep things out of sight or to parade them for all the world to see.

Browse 1,000s of inspiring ideas for your kitchen redesign

It’s not just conventional cooking and dining space shelves that offer shelfie potential; think outside the box and you’ll find an abundance of spaces to show off your treasures. Here are some cooking and dining space shelf areas just waiting for you to style them.

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These are great if you like a clean, pared-back look, where you can hide things you don’t want on display, like old (but trusty) pans. They also prevent kitchen objects from getting grimy from cooking. On the other hand, closed cupboards can look sterile and impersonal if there is nothing to break up the straight, structured lines.

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Shelfie potential: Putting a glass door on a closed cupboard is a way of protecting and displaying at the same time, as well as breaking up banks of cupboards for added visual interest. A mismatched vintage cupboard hung nearby also helps to create added impact.

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These make it easy to grab hold of everyday items like coffee, sugar and food preparation items, as well as allowing you to transfer clean dishes and cutlery from dishwasher to shelves without having to negotiate doors.

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Shelfie potential: Doorless cupboards give you the perfect opportunity to display some of your favourite, more attractive items at various levels (great if you have a large collection to display, such as a set of matching crockery).

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Inspiration by CRL Stone UK & IE

An open shelf in a cooking or dining area can be the perfect shelfie opportunity, giving you a space to show off your favourite collection, whether it’s cast iron cooking pots, antique spongeware or modern pitchers.

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Shelfie potential: Unless you’re a staunch minimalist, a few select items on display – or a packed shelf of gorgeous vintage plates and glassware – can be a thing of great beauty.

Inspiration by CRL Stone UK & IE

Whether it’s a traditional Welsh dresser or a modern take on it, a dresser provides lots of narrow shelves for plates, hanging cups and less traditional items.

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Inspiration by Chiselwood

Shelfie potential: Whether it’s a set of family china or favourite modern cups, a dresser can give you either a uniform look or asymmetry, as well as the chance to mix old with new. A space-saving version of this is a plate rack with hooks screwed in underneath.

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Popular from the late 1930s through to the 1970s, drinks trolleys are now back in favour. They’re stylish and flexible (on castors, they can work both inside and out) and provide crucial extra shelf space. 

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Shelfie potential: Load one with your favourite glassware and cocktail accoutrements, as well as interesting bottles in different shapes, colours and sizes. Add a mini light box, a pineapple-shaped light and a small houseplant for good measure, and you’ll have a unique drinks trolley shelfie. 

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An island unit generally has cupboards and drawers to stash away items you don’t want seen, leaving you with the chance to shelfie on top. 

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Shelfie potential: Cluster similarly coloured or styled jars or vases on top. Contain or “zone” them by placing them on a tray. 

Expert's corner: does your kitchen best suit a table or an island?

Once an essential in every kitchen, pantries and larders are very much back in favour, as either walk-in versions or as cupboards. 

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Inspiration by Davonport

Shelfie potential: These are shelfies no one will see until they open the doors, but there’s enormous potential to create gorgeous shelfies with bottles of oil and vinegar, tins of pimiento and jars of obscure spices, pickles and preserves. If you have one, a trip to a deli will be more than just a culinary treat – you’ll find yourself looking for shelfieable packaging, too. Search auction sites for vintage tins or rummage around at flea markets.

Inspiration by Benchmarx Kitchens & Joinery

Martha's three favourite kitchen shelf hacks...
1. Put items at the right level: it’s no good having a high-up shelf loaded with things you use every day, or with heavy objects that will be hazardous to put up and get down.
2. Consider shelf depth: A deep shelf that holds heaps of objects may sound great, but things can easily get lost or forgotten in such a large  space. A shallow shelf may work better.
3. Use light colours in pantries: Reduce the risk of foodstuffs disappearing into dark corners of your pantry or cupboard by painting it a light or bright colour inside.

Extract taken from Shelfie: Clutter-clearing ideas for stylish shelf art by Martha Roberts; available to purchase here.

NEXT! Bitten by the shelving bug? Get inspired with these neat ideas for your kitchen - click any image below to begin browsing our moodboard.

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