Wednesday, June 27, 2012

DIY Open Shelving

So. Open shelving.
Who's intimidated by the concept?

I'll confess. 
I used to think it was impractical in the kitchen. I mean--come on. 
The dishes will get dusty. You have to keep it looking "perfect" for it to work...
Ok. Maybe I just thought I was too disorganized to pull it off.

Well... since then I've come around.
I'm a believer!
("And then I saw her face! ... now I'm a believer! not a trace... of doubt in my mind!
I'm in love--Aaaaah--I'm a believer! I couldn't leave her if I tried..." But I digress...)

You may be asking:
Do my dishes get dusty? 
The dishes we keep there are the ones we use EVERY. DAY. so they get circulated regularly.
Those bowls up top are primarily for decoration and to bring color into the space, though. When we use them we give them a quick rinse before putting anything inside. But they are typically used when we're planning on inhaling an entire bag of jalapeno cheetos while watching a movie from redbox. It's just easier--and more fabulous--to do so out of a cute bowl. So. Not an inconvenience. 

Is it a pain keeping it looking organized? 
Everything has its place, and even when there are dishes missing (two of our bowls are in the dishwasher, since this was taken after breakfast time), it doesn't look "messed up". Plus--the white dishes keep everything looking crisp and clean.

Wanna learn how to create this look in your own home?
Or do you just wanna see what my kitchen looked like before we overhauled it? 

Here's a quick shot I took of our kitchen when we were getting the house inspected.

Not awful. Just boring. See that overhead cabinet above the peninsula? That's where our open shelving is now. The upper cabinet just felt clunky. It was initially Kirby's idea to take it down (it now resides on the wall of our garage), and the minute he suggested it I could totally envision open shelving taking its place. Oh baby, was I excited!

Here the kitchen is after the cabinet boxes were painted, the countertops finished, floors installed, and a new paint color up on the walls.

And here's the spot. Blank and beautiful.
Did you notice the new WHITE trim? HOLLA! Huge difference! More on that later, though...

I had a small panic attack trying to decide whether to center the shelves with the window and door trim, or somehow center it over the peninsula and beadboard.
I opted to center it between the trim, since the entire space would feel more balanced that way. 
Now that I've made the decision and I've seen the shelves up it seems obvious, and I can't imagine it any other way.

I got the brackets at the Home Depot, and painted them white.
Yes--there are nine. Three of them went under the bar of the peninsula. :)
I tried to find a link for you guys online, but failed--found lots of different kinds, though. I found these on the aisle at Home Depot with the baseboards and crown molding, down below on the floor. $10 each.

Kirby bought some 12" wide lumber, but he couldn't find any that was 2" thick like we wanted. So he bought some 1x2s, and created trim around the edges of the shelves. This also helped make them deep enough for the plates, because 12" wide lumber isn't actually a full 12" wide. In some of the other pictures you can see how the brackets actually sit inside of the shelves...

Then, of course, I painted those white, as well. 
You want to give your shelves plenty of time to cure, otherwise you will find your dishes sticking to them a bit. 

The brackets come with drywall anchors and screws, but Kirby wanted to make sure that the shelves could handle plenty of weight, so he bought some heavier duty anchors. He also used two L-brackets on each shelf that he drilled into the studs, since the brackets didn't line up with any. And then--just to be safe--he put some construction adhesive along the backs of the shelves to adhere them to the wall. We had some leftover from putting up the beadboard backsplash... So... might as well, right? ;)

Holy moly, guys--these shelves are TOUGH. 
Finally! All those dishes have a home!

We filled in the screw holes on the brackets with lightweight spackle. We chose the lightweight stuff because if we need to take the shelves down later, we can pick it out of the holes fairly easily with a screwdriver.

I found the teal and aqua nesting bowls, avocado kid-sized cups, yellow serving bowl, and the teal organizing baskets at Target. I had some hemp-covered balls to fill the yellow bowl with, so I threw those up there just for fun. 

Now I just needed some hooks to hang our mugs by. 
Back to the home depot.

I was initially very disappointed by their selection. All I could find was brass. And my kitchen is not a brass-friendly kitchen. But I bought the 1" brass cup hooks and figured I'd give them a try. Turns out the 1" hooks weren't big enough for the mug stems. BARELY. I searched online to see if Lowes carried any silver-toned cup hooks, and figured I'd check to see if Home Depot carried a larger selection online than they do in their store. I found these:

More expensive--$8 for 8 hooks, but oh so worth it. They are white, and the best part--they are vinyl-coated--so no mug-slippage happening over here...
Best. Discovery. Ever.
Or... of the night, at least.

And--they had them in the store! They were just hiding by the picture hanging hardware. Bwuuut!? Yeah, I know. Weird. The employees couldn't find them, either, even with the SKU number I provided from my iPhone Home Depot app. But they got me to the right location on the aisle, and I was able to spot them.
It was all I could do to keep from doing a crazy jig on the spot.
The employee even let me open a package up to make sure my mug would fit in the 1 1/4" size.
The first time I had the mug with me, and I tried just holding it up to the hook to gauge if if was big enough. Fail. But a blessing-in-disguise kind of fail, as it turned out.

If you look really close you can see my marks for where to screw the hooks in. 
I knew I wanted the mugs facing opposite directions, but partway in I decided I wanted the mugs to be slightly staggered, too.
You can see the lovely BLACK screws used in the L-brackets here. Not the prettiest sight. The mugs obscure the ones on the top shelf, and I'm planning on experimenting with painting the ones on the middle shelf--I'll let you know how that goes. 

Ahhh... That's better!  

See how much better the space looks with those mugs up there? YUM!

Ooh! You can see the yellow stools I mentioned HERE.

What do you think of the yellow?

Originally I felt like they were the wrong color yellow, and was determined to spray them a teal color (like the organizational baskets), but they've kinda started to grow on me. 


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  1. Looks awesome!! Love the yellow stools!

  2. I love the yellow stools! I wish I was as creative as you!

  3. SOMEDAY when we have a "real" house I am so going to copy you on this. LOVE everything about it! The yellow stools might actually be my favorite part. I have a bright yellow bench in my dining room that I have a crush on. :)

  4. Okay whoops- that was from JAMIE not Carson. LoL.

  5. Es simplemente hermosoooooooooooooo!!!

  6. You have really done a fantastic renovation in your kitchen. Your Idea of hanging the mugs in kitchen shelves is new one for me. Also your designed shelving kits perfectly suits the kitchen. From your above kitchen shelving idea I also purchased a shelving kit from here and now installing in my home kitchen. I have a plan to add hangers on that shelving similar like you. Lets see how my kitchen looks after this change. Nice share.

    1. Thanks so much! We loved these so much that we installed them in our new home after we moved. Glad you could glean some inspiration! ;) Be sure to send along a link to a picture of your new shelves! I'd love to see how they turn out!

  7. What color did you paint your walls? And cabinets?

    1. Oooh, Sandra! I've been racking my brain trying to remember the paint colors! We moved back in 2013 and this was in our old house. I know it was Home Depot's Behr brand, in their paint + primer variety. I wish I could remember, because I LOVE this wall color, and I'm thinking about using it in the basement of my new place. I'll do some digging and let you know if I find anything. The white was called "Swiss Coffee", I believe. The taupe is right on the edge of my brain and will probably hit me as I'm falling asleep tonight. ;)

  8. Lauren I love the kitchen. The before looks like mine except the frig sits to the right of the stove and my cabinet runs across the peninsula cutting the room in half. I want to take the cabinets down and do open shelving between the sliding door and the window ovr the sink. I wanted to do beadboard but my son the carpenter scoffed at the idea. Would you do me a HUGE favor and post a picture of the walls and window. LOL I guess I need a picture showing the wall with the window and the wall with the stove so I can show my son. I plan on doing this myself once they take the cabinet down. Did you consider doing open shelving on both walls?



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