The Do's and Don'ts of Tidy Open Shelving

open shelvingOpen shelving can add visual interest to a space and offer more storage options, whether they hang in the kitchen or living room. However, keeping these shelves tidy and organized can be challenging at times.

Learn some basic do’s and don’ts to keep your open shelves looking their best.

DO Install a Range Hood

If you have a kitchen with open shelves, you definitely want to consider installing a range hood. A range hood — also called an exhaust hood — does so much more than keep your kitchen from getting smoky when you cook. It also draws up tiny particles of grease or oil that may spatter while you prepare your meals. Believe it or not, those little bits of residue from cooking oils and foods can find their way to the items on your open shelving. This can leave them coated with the same sticky and disgusting film you’d find on a greasy stovetop. Having a range hood won’t entirely prevent this, but it will definitely help.

DON’T Fail to Dust Regularly

You’ll need to ramp up your dusting schedule when you have open shelving in your home. After all, you probably want a chic minimalist appearance, right? Well, neglecting your dusting duties can leave you showcasing furry bud vases and books or platters and plates. Wipe down your shelved items at least every two weeks or so. In addition, clear off shelves and give them a thorough dusting once a month to keep them looking sleek.

DO Shelve Strategically

In the kitchen, you’ll want to place items that you use frequently, such as plates, coffee mugs or bowls, on lower tiers. If you live in a smaller household, consider pulling plates or bowls from the bottom of the stack. This will ensure that all your items are in regular rotation, so that dishes are kept clean, rather than left to sit and collect dust.

DON’T Forget to Think About Where You Live

If you live in an area that is prone to earthquakes, rumbling from passing trains or sonic booms, think twice about shelving glassware, crystal, breakable knickknacks or fragile family heirlooms. Heavy vibrations can jostle these delicate items off of shelves, and the last thing you want to do is walk into your kitchen or living room to find the floor covered in shattered glass.

DO Mind Your Aesthetic Manners

Many kitchen appliances are designed to be functional as opposed to eye catching, so tuck those under your counters. Save your open spaces for color-coordinated flatware, herbs, spices and baking ingredients stored in attractive glass containers or mason jars and your more aesthetically pleasing kitchen items, such as teak serving bowls or decorative platters. A similar concept applies in the living room. Open shelves aren’t ideal for storing household items that look cluttered, such as car keys, sunglasses, wallets or wired speakers.

DON’T Be Afraid to Embellish

Everything’s on display with open shelving, so make sure you spice things up a little. Show off vintage sifters and mixing bowls or collectibles you’ve brought back from your travels. Keep it clean and bright to prevent the appearance of clutter, though. For example, large splashes of color against stark backgrounds will sometimes look tidier than a lot of patterns interspersed with many tiny knickknacks.

When properly used and maintained, open shelving can make areas look bigger and add a stylish look to your home. Whether you already have open shelves or are thinking about installing them, this guide on tying organization into your home décor can help you, as you declutter and rearrange.

Next > Now You See It, Now You Don't: Space-Saving Hidden Storage Ideas