Simple, Functional Storage: Open Shelves

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I’ve always loved open shelves in kitchens. They make for all sorts of fun shelfies — am I right? — and can be styled so beautifully while also serving a great function in a busy space in the home. Our three-story townhome has all the living space on the first floor (living room, kitchen and dining room), something we immediately loved about this house. From the minute you walk in the front door, you can see through the living room and into the kitchen and dining room, giving the space a very open and inviting feel. However, storage is limited and our kitchen is on the small side. So we’re currently toying with the idea of installing open shelves in our dining room — a simple yet super functional storage solution.

I feel so blessed to have inherited my mother’s dining room table (and I love our recovered neutral zebra chairs). While eventually I would like the set to sit in a formal dining space, it functions really well for us in our current home. It is situated directly adjacent to our open concept (small) kitchen that includes about 10 sets of cabinets in total. Sounds like a lot… it isn’t.

But good news! We have a BIG empty wall in our dining room that has a smaller empty wall right next to it… Perfect for open shelves, right? Here’s what we’re thinking.

If you aren’t following her already, you MUST follow Amy Lou Hawthorne on Instagram. She is one of the most authentic, beautiful souls I’ve ever come to know (as if I actually know her IRL, I don’t…) and I am always so inspired by her real, raw love of family and home which shines through every post she shares. AND she has one of the most adorable kitchens I’ve ever seen. Here are some pics of her kitchen and open shelves that I’m always swooning over, all of which are taken directly from her feed:

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Now, her shelves are in her kitchen which is a beautiful focal point. But because we have built-in cabinets above the counters, these open shelves would go in our dining room. I’m thinking of adding brushed nickle piping to match our kitchen hardware. With walls that are Restoration Hardware silver sage and white kitchen cabinetry, I’m torn on whether the shelves should be natural wood or painted white.

Also, is this just a bad idea all together? Not sure how open shelves would look in a dining room… but I also think it could be a really fun addition to our open concept dining space. My thought is to have three shelves that span the length of the wall (and then continue onto the smaller wall as well), with perhaps hooks underneath for coffee mugs to hang. I’m also trying to think through how we might be able to incorporate some hooks for a makeshift mudroom of sorts, since our dining room table becomes the spot where we throw pretty much everything when we walk in the back door.

Moral of the story: I’m probably overthinking it… But these kinds of projects scare me when it comes to home renovations or updates. HELP! Thoughts? Ideas? Other inspiration to share? xo