How to Incorporate Open Shelving in Your Home Design

|September 27, 2017

Open shelving is a popular design trend right now — no matter which room you want to add them to. They can add warmth and sophistication around a living room fireplace, storage in the bedroom, and easy access to your ceramics and cookbooks in the kitchen!

To help you make this upgrade work, we created a guide for incorporating open shelving and built-ins into your own home. Using current Bay Area homes for sale, we’ll walk you through which rooms can flourish with open shelving and provide some inspiration for your own home project.

In The Kitchen

Now commonplace in the kitchen, open shelving not only allows for a refreshing, modern upgrade, it will also encourage organization and improve convenience when you’re looking for chef’s essentials.  

550 Davis Street # 20 San Francisco, CA 94111

Property: 550 Davis Street #20, listed by Valerie Sancimino

In this condo at the Golden Gateway Commons, open shelving in the kitchen is blended with glass-fronted and solid cabinetry to allow for both displayed items and hidden storage. Offering a sense of balance, the room is very welcoming due to its lack of clutter.

550 Davis Street # 20 San Francisco, CA 94111

Property: 550 Davis Street #20, listed by Valerie Sancimino

Utilized with an all white color palette, as shown above, open shelving is the perfect place to add your own personality with pops of color from books, dishes and other decor items. These particular shelves also feature removable pegs so you can change the size of each opening as your moods and your decor preferences change!

947 Green Street # 2 San Francisco, CA 94133

Property: 947 Green Street #2, listed by Adam Gavzer

However, this condo’s kitchen offers a soothing color palette and more diverse textures. In this design, a small touch of open shelving helps open up the kitchen and allow for the homeowner to add a few pops of color.

In the Living Room

As we mentioned, adding open shelving in the living room can add warmth and sophistication to the space. See exhibit A below!

750 Lovell Avenue Mill Valley, CA

Property: 750 Lovell Avenue, listed by Ann Murphy

In this Mill Valley home, luxe decor and a forest setting are made even more dreamy with a living room library. In this design, an entire wall serves as an open bookshelf. Paired with a romantic window seat and floor to ceiling windows on two sides, this open shelving increases the sense of openness and grandeur.

3204 Helen Oakland, CA 94608

Property: 3204 Helen, listed by Claudia Mills

But built-ins in the living room aren’t just reserved for glamorous decor. This Oakland home showcases a modern design with sharp, geometric lines and a primarily neutral color palette. With these characteristics, it’s easy for a room to feel too stark and crisp. However, with help from bright artwork and the addition of built-in shelving framing the fireplace, this room becomes inviting and warm.

1920 Jefferson # 3 San Francisco, CA 94123

Property: 1920 Jefferson #3, listed by David Parry

Even if you’re lacking a fireplace, built-ins can still be added to a living room! This San Francisco condo uses the shelves to add interest to a flat wall, as well as tie in the room’s color palette. By adding plants, books and pops of color, these shelves can be used to complete the design of the space.

550 Davis Street # 20 San Francisco, CA 94111

Property: 550 Davis Street #20, listed by Valerie Sancimino

In an interesting move, this Golden Gateway Commons condo (also shown in the kitchen section) uses glass shelving in the living room. This allows the recessed lights to shine through all the way through to the bottom shelves and keeps the entertainment center from feeling overcrowded.

1050 Filbert Street San Francisco, CA 94133

Property: 1050 Filbert Street, listed by Adam Gavzer

And for a bonus, we love the lighting added to illuminate this home’s living room built-ins! Nestled into the corners, your eyes are drawn to this space where a homeowner would have the ability to showcase their unique decor finds, treasured family photographs, and more.

In the Bedroom

In the bedroom, built-in open shelving adds warmth and interest to what should be the coziest room in the house. Utilizing it here can add opportunities for pops of color, personal design touches and, of course, added storage.

947 Green Street # 2 San Francisco, CA 94133

Property: 947 Green Street #2, listed by Adam Gavzer

This Russian Hill condo incorporates built-ins to show off what would otherwise be an empty corner in the bedroom. We especially love this design choice in an all white room because it gives the space a focal point and adds to the already bright and illuminated design.

1050 Filbert Street San Francisco, CA 94133

Property: 1050 Filbert Street, listed by Adam Gavzer

For a change of pace — and a gorgeous bedroom — this SF condo is surrounded by open shelving to add depth. By painting the back wall a deep gray, the whole room has an atmosphere of glamour. And, just like the living room shelves, these also have stunning light fixtures to illuminate and show off the decor choices.

In the Den

In a den or office workspace, open shelving can provide efficient organization. The ability to add artwork, your favorite books and/or family photos make it possible to actually enjoy the time you spend there, whether you’re working or not.

376 Redwood Road San Anselmo, CA 94960

Property: 376 Redwood Road, listed by Glen Williams

In what is perhaps one of the best examples of this, the den in this San Anselmo home is actually one of the most fun and interesting rooms on the property. And trust us, there are a lot of options! Open to one of the sunny decks and backed by an entire wall of built-ins, you’ll want to work in here all day!

Ready for an open shelving upgrade?

Let us know which rooms where you’re loving this open shelving trend! Or, make it a full upgrade and make one of these Bay Area homes yours.

Category Home Inspiration

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McGuire Real Estate

McGuire Real Estate

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