Adding Open Shelving to the Kitchen

I can’t believe the summer is winding down! It’s already starting to feel a little fall-ish around here. When I was putting something in the shed I noticed a box of Halloween decorations and I seriously considered taking them out already!

One of the most dramatic changes to the look and functionality of the kitchen so far has been the addition of open shelving along the window wall.

Updated Kitchen with Ikea Ekby Jarpen Open Shelving

For reference, here is where this wall started.


Quite the improvement, right?

To be honest, I was pretty nervous about open shelving. Keeping them perpetually “staged” is pretty unappealing to me. (Sorry Martha.) Where will I hide all my counter junk when people come over!?

I was really afraid that open shelving would get cluttered and look mismatched over time. But, after finding out that my dream of raising the kitchen cabinets was not going to happen, it was either consider open shelving or just put the cabinets back where they were.

How about… No.

If you follow me on Pinterest, you may have seen I pinned an excessive amount of stainless steel shelving recently. My inspiration came from pins like this from The Kitchn.

The Kitchn Stailess Shelving

I loved the contrast of the dark cabinets with the stainless shelving. It’s a very modern look but it would definitely work in our kitchen.

I decided on the Ikea Mossby shelving system which is $39.99 for 46 7/8″ length shelves. Since they don’t make shelves in the exact length we needed for the left side (35″) we would have to buy 4 of these and cut the 2 down to size. That would have been $159.96 in shelving plus $40 for brackets, not including tax.


I made John take me to Ikea on my birthday since I knew using it as my birthday treat is one of the only ways to get him to go with me. Evil laugh. 

When we got there and finally found the darn shelves (I haven’t seen the movie Maze Runner but I’m assuming it’s a film about navigating Ikea) John told me he did not like the stainless shelving in person. Because men.

He saw the Ekby Jarpen instead and liked that the color matched our cabinets and we could still use the stainless steel brackets for interest.ekby-jarpen-ekby-bjarnum-wall-shelf-brown__0148180_PE306476_S4 (1)

I was nervous the color would be slightly off from the cabinets and we’d have to bring them back. However, the Jarpen shelves were only $24.99 each (!!!) for the 46 7/8″ length so that would bring my total down to $99.96 plus $40 for the brackets. Altogether the total with tax for the Jarpen shelves was less than what I was going to pay for just the Mossby shelves.

Before we could actually install them, we had to address the condition of the corner cabinet that they would be butting up against.

IMG_1180 (1)

Without going into too much detail because that would be a whole other post in itself, I filled in the space with lattice strips, wood filler then sanded the whole thing down and painted. Bam.

Is it perfect? Nope! But both John and my Dad said “It looks better than what I thought you would end up with.” Thanks guys.

Then John hung the shelves by either drilling directly into the studs or by using 75 lb. drywall anchors. And here they are!

Updated Kitchen with Ikea Ekby Jarpen Open Shelving

On the right side shelves I put out an assortment of plates that we use every day, a few bowls (since we don’t use bowls that often) a hammered metal pitcher on the top and a few mixing bowls. I filled in some of the gaps with some Agave I planted in an Ikea pot on the top and an adorable copper pot from an antique shop on the bottom. The little crystal pineapple next to the stack of plates was a gift from my mom. I smile every time I look at the cute little thing. This side still looks a little sparse to me. Obviously I’m still getting the hang of how to stage these!Ekby Jarpen open shelving

On the left side shelves I used more decorative pieces since there weren’t any studs for John to drill into so he had to use drywall anchors. Even though they should hold (in theory), he told me to be careful and not put anything too heavy on this side. I have my vintage Pillsbury Dough-boy cookie jar from my Mom, some cute mugs from Anthropologie a friend of mine gave us and a light up “B” that I got on sale at JoAnn Fabrics for $9 on the top shelf. On the bottom I have a basket with K-cups, mugs, Tervis Tumbler glasses (which are super light) and the DIY Succulent Terrarium I made this weekend.

Updated Kitchen with Ikea Ekby Jarpen Open Shelving

And here’s the view looking directly at the sink now. Just imagine the window trimmed out and back-splash up.

Updated Kitchen with Ikea Ekby Jarpen Open Shelving

I’m sure the shelves will evolve as we figure out what we actually need out every day, but overall I am in LOVE with them. They definitely open up the kitchen and let a lot more natural light in through the window.

Happy renovating!