Get Your FREE Quotation Now! Click Here
Singapore's Leading Renovation & Interior Design Site

Open Shelving in the Kitchen: See What Real Homeowners Think About Them

We recently put out feelers on our Instagram Story to see what you guys thought about open shelving in the kitchen. We asked this question: For those of you with open shelving in the kitchen, would you go for them again? Tell us why. It’s a controversial thing, this one. As expected, some of you were way against it, while others quite liked it. Here were some of your responses:

If you are still on the fence about open shelving in your kitchen, we thought hearing what others had to say about their own experiences with it should help you in your decision.

The “Yes, go for it!” Camp

“Motivates me to be neat.”

Open shelving, according to some of you, apparently helps with keeping clutter at bay. Because everything is out in the open, you are, in a way, forced to keep things neat. On the flip-side, we reckon you kinda need a little self-motivation as well. Clutter is subjective; not everyone sees clutter the same way Marie Kondo does.

Open shelving might force you to solve the clutter issue in your kitchen.

Design: Starry Homestead

“Makes me think twice about buying unnecessary items.”

Compared with kitchen cabinets, open shelving definitely has lesser storage space. Lesser storage space = fewer things to accumulate. That’s a good thing if you tend to buy things on a whim without really thinking if you really need them. Not so good if you genuinely need the storage space though.

If you need the extra storage, consider combining closed kitchen cabinets alongside open shelving for the best of both worlds.

Design: Authors ● Interior & Styling

“It opens up my small kitchen.”

Closed kitchen cabinets can cramp up your style, quite literally. Open shelving is less visually heavy, which allows your small kitchen to appear more spacious. But this doesn’t work if you put too many things on the shelves, making your snug cooking space appear overly cluttered.

In a small kitchen, open shelving can help to open up the space visually.

Design: The Minimalist Society

The “Nope, not happening.” Camp

“Not in the kitchen, as it will get a lot of dust. Not something you want near food!”

For those of you who don’t like living with open shelving in the kitchen, it’s mainly because of the dust. Unless you dust it often, dust will definitely accumulate and be an issue, particularly if you have allergies. Dust particles from the shelves can also get to your food, while you are prepping or cooking, which can be unsafe.

Dust regularly to prevent dust from accumulating on your open shelves.

Design: Boon Siew D’sign

“Tends to collect dust and grease stains, which means you will need to clean it all the time.”

Besides gathering dust, grease stains are also a particular concern for homeowners with open shelving. If you are planning to store serving wares on your open shelves, you might have to give them a quick rinse before using them. To reduce the amount of washing, store everyday wares so that you can get through them before grease or dust settles. Open shelving is definitely not low maintenance, so if you are opting for them, be prepared to do more cleaning.

On open shelves, store everyday used items that you can go through quickly before dust or grease settles.

Design: Free Space Intent

“Messy looking.”

As mentioned earlier, open shelving can definitely appear cluttered, if you tend to place too many things on it. The key to making open shelving work in a small space is to minimise what you place on it. Alternatively, curate your selection to trim the visual clutter and store similar looking items e.g. rows of glass containers or group together items that feature similar hues e.g. neutral tones.

Put in the extra work to curate your items on display if you are going with open shelves.

Design: Three-D Conceptwerke

Like with most things, there are two sides to open shelving. If you do decide to go with open shelving, restrict what you put on the shelves, understand that you will have to live with less storage space and be prepared to clean your kitchen more often. The advantage? You will be rewarded with a sense of spaciousness.

We want to hear from you: Will you be going for open shelving in your kitchen? Let us know in the comments! Follow us on Instagram (@renonation) for more design inspiration. 


  • Complete this form and we will recommend you a list of reputable interior design firms that fit your renovation requirements. It's free! Note: This form is not applicable for repair works request.
  • My Property

  • Accepted file types: jpg, gif, png, pdf, ppt, jpeg, Max. file size: 2 MB.
    We recommend to attach your floor plan for a better estimate. File must less than 2MB.
  • Project Info

  • $
  • My Contact Details


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Get Quotation -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

five + 11 =