Video /
May 10, 2020

How to Use Three Open-Shelving Styles for a Tiny Kitchen

Designer shares her tips for styling the hottest shelving trend

Designer Kim Lewis shares her tips for creating open shelving to save space and add a design element in a small kitchen.

Not only does the lead designer of Kim Lewis Designs love open shelving for clients, but she installed them in her own tiny home. She and her husband specified old ceiling joists for their kitchen to create a rustic look and customized the dimensions of the shelves to fit their space as well as their comfort. 

In addition to loving the look of open shelving, Lewis likes that her family can display different handmade goods and travel souvenirs because of the lack of cabinet doors. The shelves also keep them accountable.

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“The open kitchen shelving design helps us stay really organized,” Lewis says. “You have a space for everything, it gets stacked. If you guys looked in our cabinets or cupboards below, it’s a mess.” 

Watch the video to learn more tips for designing three different types of tiny kitchen shelving. 

Transcript: “Small Kitchen Design and Open Shelving Tips”

Hey y’all, today we’re going to talk about tiny homes and kitchen design, and my favorite thing to do in a small kitchen, which is open shelving.

We’ve seen this trend for quite awhile. It’s been floating around the design industry for years now, and it’s still popular. I wonder why? I can tell you. I love it. We have it in our own tiny home kitchen, and honestly I love that it keeps us organized. 

I’m going to go into a few more details about maybe if you’re thinking about doing open shelving, some things to consider. Some resources to look at for when you’re designing your open shelving kitchen, and we’ll put some links on the bottom below for some resources that I love using for tracking and all those things. 

Big family fun in a tiny home

But first, I want to tell you a little bit of a life update. Last week, we celebrated Sunny Jean’s first birthday. It was so fun, y’all. We had almost fifty people over to the tiny home. We threw a party. It’s gotta be some kind of record. I wanna know if you own a tiny home and you had a party, how many people did you invite? Cuz we were like really brave souls and just opened our doors in the heat of the Texas sun, it was 103 that day. Maybe it was 98. It felt like a 110. 

I’m also at this point 28 weeks pregnant with the baby boy. So the clocks a’ticking! But we just had the most fun week celebrating Sunny’s birthday. And I just loved looking around the tiny home an Deven tho it was tight and there’s not a lot of space and it was super hot, it was just cool to see my family and friends here and it doesn’t matter what size of living room we have, we just did it. We opened the doors. We have one bathroom. It all worked out. It was really really fun. So if you came to her party, thank you for coming an thank you for celebrating our little girl and her first trip around the sun. 

Specify the right height and depth for open shelving

So back to the open shelves. So behind me I want to go through three examples of open shelving kitchen designs that I have done personally in three different tiny kitchen spaces. The first I’ll just start with our own in the Joshua tree house. We actually used old ceiling joists from a barn that Joey and I picked out ourselves. This material is almost 2-inches thick. So this is thicker than I would normally do, but because we were going for that rustic barn wood look, 2 inches is nice solid wood. I wouldn’t go any thicker than that when you’re thinking about the height of your shelf, two inches is kind of the max. But behind us we have 2-inch tall shelves. So let’s talk about depth, if you’re looking at doing open kitchen shelving, ours are 9 1/2 inches deep, this is the front to back dimension. You don’t really need to go much more than 10 inches deep. You can go 12 inches deep. But I have found that this size of 9 1/2 inches has fit everything we needed to fit, all of our plates fit. I personally didn’t want our shelves to get too deep because we’re in a small space. I’m also really little so I can’t reach much further than that anyway, and it fits perfectly two to three rows deep of glasses. 

See the full transcript here.