Small houses usually mean small kitchens. Unfortunately small kitchens do not necessarily mean small storage needs. Those of us with little kitchens still like to collect pretty platters and bowls and pitchers just like our friends with larger, storage filled kitchens, right? But when you barely have enough room to store your kitchen necessities, where do you keep all those pretty platters and bowls and pitchers?
When we moved into this house with its incredibly small kitchen, I knew right away I was going to need to find creative storage elsewhere. Our tiny little row of cabinets was just not going to cut it.
All it took was for Jordan to say, “That would be so simple to build” as I was looking at a certain ladder shelf in the Pottery Barn catalog. For as long as I have known him, every time I pointed out a piece of furniture, I would hear this same statement. For the record, I never doubted his ability, but I also never challenged him to prove it – until that day. 🙂
So my sweet husband set out to prove himself to be the super-hero handyman that I already knew him to be, and he built me that ladder shelf…and it has been a lifesaver in our little house.
I should note that now he no longer says, “That would be so simple to build” when I point out furniture. He knows I’ll expect him to prove it. 🙂
Even if you have plenty of storage in your kitchen, open shelving in the dining room is a great way to add style and personality to the space. And of course, living in a small house, I love when practical can be pretty too. 🙂
I wish I had a clear and direct set of rules for how to make your open storage look its best, but I tend to just move things around and try different arrangements until I find something that appeals to me. That said, I do have a few rules of thumb that I always use to get me started:
WORK IN GROUPS
I like to keep similar things grouped together. I feel like similar items grouped together have bigger impact than when they’re scattered about. It also helps keep your shelving organized and looking nice, neat, and tidy.
KEEP IT UNITED
In other words, choose to display things that share similar or complimentary elements and style. I chose mostly white pieces with a little bit of glass, metal and wood thrown in for fun – I love the way those four elements work together, and the combination speaks to the décor around the rest of the house. Plus, I don’t like a lot of visual “noise”, so I keep the blue mixing bowls and purple casserole dishes tucked in behind cupboard doors. This is no way means you can’t display colorful dishes. If you love purple dishes – display your purple dishes! 🙂
While I like to keep similar items, like pitchers or dessert stands, grouped together, I also like to make sure I’m using the different elements throughout all the shelves. This creates a nice flow from shelf to shelf, keeps the eye moving, and is visually pleasing. It creates intention, which I feel is important with open shelving so you don’t cross into the clutter zone.
The majority of things on these shelves are items we use on a regular basis. The whole point was to find practical storage for the things we use, but it’s still fun to infuse a few nonessential pieces for some personality. An old pie tin, vintage tart tins, and a silly old recipe held by a metal stand quietly add interest and tell the story of my love for antiques.
I love wicker baskets. They work anywhere and everywhere, and the texture they provide to a space is undeniable. Here they keep cookbooks and bar items collected and contained. Wire baskets are another great alternative and both can be used throughout the shelves to add visual interest.
So what do you think of open shelving in the dining room? Do you love the look or is it not really for you?