Photos by Scot Zimmerman

In a room defined by cabinet doors and closed drawers, open shelves offer an alternative to open your kitchen to high style, dynamic displays and up-front functionality.

Interior Design: AMB Design
Architecture: Lloyd Architects

1) Sleek and Smooth

Deep shelves appear to almost float on a Macubus quartzite backdrop in the kitchen of a chic Orem home. Everyday tableware and glasses are joined by gold-toned accessories and framed art, thus creating an eye-catching display.

Design: Caitlin Creer, Lee Ann Myers
Builder: Lane Myers Construction

2) Wood

Wood shelves mounted on black iron brackets add depth in addition to character to the tiled wall of a farmhouse kitchen in Midway. The shelves frame a wood-faced hood, reinforcing the key focal point so the design provides symmetry to the broad wall. The unpainted wood shelves also visually link to bin-style drawers below.

Builder: Jackson & Leroy

3) Under the Hood

In the galley kitchen of a small Salt Lake City home, designer Anne-Marie Barton rejected a bulky “stand-out” hood above the range. Instead, she created an open frame of unlacquered brass inset with glass shelves and hung it from the ceiling with hooks. The see-through feature lightens the compact room while also making it look and feel roomy. “They make efficient use of the limited space in the small footprint of this gourmet kitchen,” she says. To foster a classic masculine vibe in the engaging space, Barton displayed monogrammed glassware and gold-trimmed dishes on the shelves.

Design: Denton House Design Studio

4) Personal Display

In order to help make this loft’s kitchen feel open and bright, McKenzie Dickson with Denton House Design Studio mounted open shelves on a wall clad in brick-stacked ceramic tile. “Exposing a collection of the owners’ coffee mugs adds charm and gives the space character,” says Dickson, who wrapped the shelves in steel to link them visually to the ceiling beams and range hood.

5) Lighting

In a Park City kitchen, a marble slab creates a dramatic backdrop for underlit floating wood shelves.  Topped with artfully arranged dishes and glasses, the lighting illuminates the richly veined marble while backlighting the displayed tableware.

Design: Jill Self, Sticks & Stone

6) Backdrop Drama

Fish-scale patterned tiles in brilliant blue create another eye-catching backdrop to thick wood shelves. These shelves in the kitchen of a Victory Ranch cabin in Kamas are placed next to a large window that provides generous light for the pieces they display. The designer integrates  shelves into many of her kitchens because they allow clients to showcase favorite dishes, glasses and collectibles. “It encourages more style and design in the space,” she says.

Builder: Ezra Lee

7) Following the Lines

In this modern Lehi home, builder Ezra Lee sets shelves into a wall of rift oak cabinetry. Uniquely wide, these open shelves accentuate the horizontal lines of the modern décor, much as the wood’s horizontal grain does. Lee integrated a light strip into the front edge of each shelf to illuminate the carefully displayed pieces, therefore adding a shot of drama to the room.

Design: Pradhan Design
Architecture: R.D. Nielson Design
Builder: Jackson & LeRoy

8) Glass

In a modern Emigration Canyon home, open glass shelves span a wood surround of quarter-sawn walnut. Backed a by an expansive wall dressed in matte blue glass tiles, the shelves also include LED lighting built into the backside of the shelves.

Design: Establish Design
Builder: Jackson & LeRoy

9) Height: Storage and Display

Combining timeless styling with modern-day functionality, these shelves feature elegant brushed gold frames with white oak shelves. The easy-to-reach shelves in this Highland home extend from the stone countertops to the ceiling, consequently providing plenty of storage and display space for the room.
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Brad Mee is the Editor-in-Chief of Utah Style & Design Magazine.