The rustic design style is sometimes misinterpreted as unfinished or rough. That is not the case. Rustic design style relies on a finished provincial style to create clean and beautiful lines.

If you have a rustic style kitchen, you may be looking for the best way to use your shelving. Shelves are not only for the practical purpose of storage but also to incorporate design into your kitchen. No matter how big or small your rustic style kitchen is, open shelves are the perfect addition to your kitchen.

The caveat with rustic open design shelves is that they need to be appropriately styled to retain the aesthetic of the rustic design style. Let’s take a look at some ways to style your open shelves so that you create the most significant style impact in your kitchen.


One of the first points to remember when using open shelving is to stack your objects. It does not matter how long your shelf is or how deep; it is essential to stack whatever you are storing.

Stacking objects serves two purposes. The first objective stacking accomplishes is that it helps you to store more objects in less space. If you have a smaller kitchen, then you know space is a premium. The second function that stacking provides is that it helps to create depth. Creating depth helps to give your kitchen a pleasing visual aesthetic.

Use Lots of Color

When you begin to style the open shelves in your rustic kitchen, it is important to use color. Remember, rustic style design makes use of colors found in nature. Some good color choices are reds, yellows, oranges, and creams.

You may have dishes that incorporate these colors or glasses, and these are the perfect objects to place on your open shelving. When you stack dishes of different colors, you are helping to draw the eye to the shelving, and in this case, the open shelving almost becomes artwork on your kitchen wall.

Expect the Unexpected

When thinking about what to place on your open shelves, think outside of the box. Yes, open shelves are practical for storing everyday dishes and glasses, but it can be so much more than that.

If you want to make a significant rustic design impact in your kitchen, consider other objects that can be displayed on your open shelves. These shelves might be the perfect place to showcase a sentimental collection. They could also be the ideal place to display treasured finds or antiques passed down from one generation to another.

Don’t Cut Corners

Corners are an often-overlooked space in a room. You should not be afraid to make good use of them. Hang a few rectangular shelves in the corner, and you will have many possibilities.

Consider adding cup hooks underneath the bottom corner shelf, and you have the perfect place to hang your teacups. On top of this rectangular shelf, perhaps you can put a decorative basket filled with teas and coffee pods. This is an excellent way to create a little retreat in the corner of your kitchen.

It’s Okay to Vary Heights

When it comes to arranging the contents of your shelves, keep in mind they do not have to all be the same height. It’s a better visual if you can vary the heights of your objects. This helps to give a more realistic vibe to your shelves.

Also, it is sometimes a good idea to stagger the shelves. This way, you do not have the same line running throughout your whole kitchen. Whenever possible, it is an excellent idea to alternate shelving or stagger them.

Bonus Tip – Shelving Means More Than Just Hanging On A Wall

Traditionally we think of shelves as being placed on a wall, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, in your rustic style kitchen, you have the freedom to take a little more design liberty with where you place your shelves.

If you have a beautiful kitchen window, you might consider adding shelving that goes from one end of the window frame to the other. That might be a nice place to store potted herbs that you have growing.

If you have an island in the middle of your kitchen, you might want to consider putting shelves on the backside of the island. This shelving gives your family the perfect place to store everyday objects such as lunch boxes, toys for the dog, or reusable shopping bags that you want to grab on your way out the door.

Points to Remember

Rustic design does not have to mean unfinished. Open shelves in a rustic styled kitchen provide lots of decorative opportunities as well as functional ones. Do not be afraid to think outside of the box – layer colors, vary heights, and put shelving where you would least expect it. This is how you add a finishing touch to the open shelves in your rustic style kitchen.