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The Downside to Open Shelving

The Downside to Open Shelving

While there are many positives about incorporating open shelving into your home, it does come with a downside. Here are 5 negatives to take into account.

If you’re thinking about bringing open shelving into your kitchen, it might be a good idea to consider the pros and cons of this particular type of storage. There are some negatives that may or may not be a dealbreaker for you.

They Require More Dusting & Cleaning

It’s inevitable that items left out in the open will accumulate dust. Therefore, to keep your open shelves looking good, you’re going to have to dust and clean them more often. If you’re a busy person, someone who resists cleaning, or you just don’t want to burden yourself with another task, then it might be best to say no to open shelving for now. Unless you’re using items frequently enough that they don’t gather dust on the shelves, open shelving is going to need more upkeep. It’s never fun pulling a glass off a shelf, for example, and having to wash the dust off of it before you can use it.

Aesthetics Matter

You could easily just stick all your kitchen stuff on an open shelf and be done with it, but the result may not be something you want to look at — a chaotic arrangement of plates, bowls and other things. When it comes to styling open shelves, it requires some thought so that you end up with a pleasing display that balances color, pattern and texture. In short, aesthetics matter. If you’re going to go ahead with open shelving, consider indulging in the nicer versions of the items you plan to have on display, like glasses, dishes and other containers.

For the style-challenged, putting together a nice display on your shelves might prove a bit difficult. After all, there is a fine line between too little and too much that you have to navigate. It’s important to take the time to find the right mix of items to pull off a balanced look.

The good news? Once you establish a display that pops, you just have to maintain it. Some are relieved by this and others find having to put things back ‘just so’ to be tedious and frustrating. While having gorgeous shelves is great, you don’t always feel like being a stylist when you’re tired and have to unload the dishwasher onto a display that has to be perfect.

A Bit of Storage Space is Actually Lost

Open shelving isn’t the type of storage for stashing large volumes of stuff. In fact, you’re usually going to lose some storage space when you go with open shelves because it must look presentable, as opposed to shoving items on a shelf and closing a door to hide them. Particularly when it comes to compact kitchens, you must thoughtfully navigate between form and function.

Installation Can Be Complex

Flying by the seat of your pants rarely works when installing open shelving. There are several things that you have to keep in mind as you go through the process. First, it must be sturdy and solid enough to hold what you want it to hold. That means you not only have to invest in a more heavy-duty shelf, but that the installation will be more complex. You may be able to get by using a pair of basic plastic wall anchors if your shelf display consists of only a couple lightweight things, but if heavier items are part of the plan — think books and dishes — then it’s important you don’t take any chances. That means you may have to head to the hardware store and find appropriate brackets for the weight of your display pieces as well as some studs for a secure installation. Going above and beyond isn’t difficult, but a little thought and planning is necessary before you begin.

Hiding Cords Can Be a Challenge

Our last consideration for open shelving is the problem of hiding wires and cords. For example, if you choose to incorporate a lamp in your display the cord can be unsightly and kill the visual. One solution is to hide the cord with a plant or some other strategic styling maneuver. Another is to use a transparent extension cord.

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