How To Balance Open/Closed Space in the Kitchen
In today’s open plan homes, the visual aspect of kitchen design is incredibly important. Naturally box-like, kitchens run the risk of becoming boring square spaces that are restrictive and uninviting. So, we asked our Mint Kitchen Group experts how to best incorporate a good mix of open and closed spaces in a kitchen design to achieve the ultimate in aesthetic balance?
When we see a kitchen we fall in love with, we often don’t notice the detail of what makes the space so appealing. A perfect balance of open and closed spaces, symmetry and asymmetry, square-set and off-set cabinetry can create the most wonderful of rooms.
Incorporating open shelving alongside traditional closed cabinetry can create fabulous focal points around the kitchen while also providing opportunities to display those special kitchen items or add a touch of nature.
It’s a good idea to get a clear picture of what storage you require in your kitchen. Enclosed cupboards or drawers can provide maximum storage, but open shelving can provide focal points and creative warmth to your zone, as well as assist with accessibility. A perfect mix customised to your needs is vital to ensure your kitchen stays highly functional, as well as looks amazing.
Pros of Open Shelving in Kitchens
- Provides focal points
- Highly functional
- On trend
- Displays special kitchen items and wall colours
- Can prevent the boxed-in effect
Cons of Open Shelving in Kitchens
- Can reduce the amount of storage
- Additional cleaning
- It needs to be kept neat
- Limited on what can and can’t be displayed
Pros of Closed Cabinets
- Storage masters
- Massive array of designs and options
- Easy to keep clean
- Hides kitchen clutter
Cons of Closed Cabinets
- Can encourage disorganisation
- Takes up space
- Can create a “box” look
- Will require some maintenance
Professional kitchen design is all about balance – sometimes this means working with symmetry but it can also allow for utilising off-set or asymmetrical elements for added visual interest. Having a good mix of open and closed elements can enhance your kitchen from a both design and storage point. For example, if you are set on whole cabinetry but are looking for a ‘floating’ aspect, consider bordered open shelving for your upper cabinets. These can offer you the same ‘open’ aspect and prevent the boxed-in feel while providing you with ease of access.
Upper cabinets are the most popular place to add a few open shelving units alongside your closed cabinetry. Being in the line of sight, they are perfect for showcasing unique kitchen staples – think wine glasses, cookbooks, or mortal and pestles.
Open shelving options look lovely on either side of the rangehood and allow the kitchen to stay balanced with the layout while providing additional storage. Floating shelving options look simply stunning and also prevent that boxed-in effect. These can be a perfect choice, particularly in smaller kitchens that would be visually overwhelmed with floor-to-ceiling cabinetry. Floating shelving also looks excellent in corners or on the sides of upper cabinetry.
Some homeowners also opt for glass-fronted choices on some of their upper cabinetry. This allows you to showcase decorative kitchen items while minimising cleaning and maintenance.
Different textures can also work well to provide warmth to a kitchen space. Wooden floating shelves are perfect for those rustic kitchen designs or to add texture and focal points to more modern styles. Glass floating shelving choices are also on trend and allow a seamless flow in the kitchen.
Ultimately you can mix up your upper cabinets to incorporate a good combination of open shelving and closed cupboard doors. However, if you want something incredibly functional to provide your kitchen with that modern edge, consider lift-up cabinet options for your upper cupboards. These systems allow homeowners access to upper cabinets without the cupboard door being in the way – or constantly needing to be closed to allow access to other storage spaces or cooking zones. They also come in handle-less options allowing you to create eye-catching upper cabinets with minimal line disruption.
Lower Cabinets/Under Bench
Open shelving options are typically kept purely in the line of sight and commonly found displaying items around the upper cabinetry. However, with a little creative flare, you can enhance your lower cabinets with a splash or two of open storage.
Utilising the end of island benches is a popular choice and can provide open shelving for a range of things – think wine bottles, or smaller cubby-hole-like storage for display jars.
You can accentuate your open lower cabinetry shelving and increase your storage options with open pull-out systems. Large drawers can now hold an impressive weight and can also be fully extended, giving you easy access to all corners of the drawer. Clever below-bench storage options can provide ample organised storage and help keep these open spaces looking clean and neat.
Pantries Galore – Walk-In & Butler’s Pantry
Most pantries are naturally open shelving. However, with a butler’s and walk-in pantry option, you can have a good mix of open and closed shelving choices. As with your main kitchen, getting the balance right is paramount.
Ample open shelving is great in these zones. However, staying organised is important to ensure the space retains functionality and appearance. With open shelving options for storing food, consider large glass jars and get savvy with pantry organisational systems. Many clear storage options look stunning when done correctly, and they allow you to easily see when you are running low on items while keeping dry food products super simple to find.
A few concealed drawers are also great for the lesser-used items you do not want on display or mismatched crockery, pots, and pans.
Tips To Reduce Clutter & Let Your Open Shelving Shine
- Less is best! If you are stacking plates or bowls, keep the bare minimum on show and pop the remainder in a cupboard.
- Keep true to your focal points in your kitchen. The choice of texture is vital. You’ll be surprised just how good adding a wooden element to your kitchen looks and how it can stay in keeping with the kitchen design.
- Mix up the décor – functionality is important but don’t forget about other touches. For example, plants, books, and vases can add a wonderful element to open shelving.
- Stay organised. Open shelving in pantries and butler’s pantries should be well organised to easily find items while looking impressive.
Get in touch with our Mint Kitchen Group specialist kitchen designers today to talk about your 2023 kitchen renovation project. We have five showrooms in Melbourne packed with inspiration and ideas.