You Guys Have a Lot of Opinions on Open Shelving! Here Are Some of Them.

You Guys Have a Lot of Opinions on Open Shelving! Here Are Some of Them.

(Image credit: Minette Hand)

Last September, we wrote a bunch of articles about open shelving. This airy kitchen storage style ebbs in and out of fashion, but it is currently having a moment, and we've got the #shelfies to prove it. There are plenty of pros and cons to open shelving, but it really comes down to personal preference — and man, do our readers have some strong preferences!

We combed through your comments to bring you some highlights. Do you see yours in there? (Note: A few have been lightly edited for brevity/clarity.)

1. Why?

Simple as that, many of you just wanted to know why we were doing so many stories on open shelving.

"Serious question: Is someone holding your families hostage until you post a certain number of articles about open shelving?" E.C. from T.O.

"Why are you guys pushing this so hard? Every other day there's another piece on how we MUST all have open shelving, here are the shelves we all have to buy, why all our (excellent) reasons for not having open shelving are stupid, etc., etc. Seriously, stop." STH

2. Scientific questioning

Meanwhile, some of you were concerned about our pseudo-scientific methods for identifying how serious a problem dust is when it comes to open shelving.

"Science does not say this is fine. Science would look at this in it's N=1 and say that you don't have any statistical power. Science would also like to have more defined definitions. Science would also like to know the height of your ceilings and how air tight your house/apartment is (because this is going to influence air currents). Science would also like to know the square footage of your kitchen (and use the above better definitions) to determine is near 6 inches or 2 feet. This is a case study, highly variable, and doesn't actually provide any usable information that can be extrapolated to other things." Geeka

Fortunately, other commenters caught the cheeky tone we were hoping to transmit.

"@Geeka This scientist, after seeing your comment looked back at the article and found two references to 'science'. Both were used in a rather tongue-in-cheek manner. The first one, "very scientifically", almost cries out for the action described to NOT be considered scientific. The second, as a simple summary, intentionally overstates the conclusion. TL;DR - lighten up science!" KP_AT

3. Styling concerns

For some of you, our styling tips and inspiration photos seemed out-of-reach.

"So… throw out all your old stuff and replace it with a very tiny amount of perfect-looking new stuff. (These absolutely critical items include, according to these photos: Three mugs but FOUR egg cups, one tiny canister, and lots and lots of plants). Seems practical, as long as you only eat out!"Erica C. Barnett

"@Erica C. Barnett Just buy new dishes after each time you cook!" nofunlatte

4. Logistical concerns

We tried to steer you towards whether open shelving would work for your lifestyle with a personality quiz and by responding to the biggest complaints, but we apparently failed to take into account one of the biggest considerations.

"Come on now. The first question should totally have been, 'Do you own a cat?'" Anatinea

"None of these people own cats." e.misitano

"One word.... CATS." V2Girl

Although it seems even closed cabinets might not be the magical alternative solution.

"I had a cat who could open the cabinet doors in one apartment kitchen years ago. I would find him sitting in with the bowls and plates almost daily. Had to wash any dish before using. Fortunately, only lived there for a few months, and he couldn't open cabinet doors in other kitchens." northerngirl

Another big concern is the chance of earthquakes.

"I love the idea but any smart person that lives on the West Coast knows: earthquakes + open kitchen shelving = a really terrible idea." MsDMeanor

"I live on a major fault line in California, yet in my circle of friends no one thinks to keep their heavy stuff in the bottom cabinets. People move to California from elsewhere, and don't know what the reality of an earthquake is until they live through a big one. Then they respond to posts like this with OMG THIS KITCHEN IS LETHAL! Hah! (And don't get me started on double-decker bridges.)" p_capucine

5. Concern for pantry items

Finally, a good reminder that even once you've perfected your display and cleaning routine, not all pantry items thrive in open shelving.

"One note I'll add though is that many dry goods and spices lose considerable quality and flavor if they are stored in sunlight. Some items that wouldn't mind are pasta, whole spices that will be fresh ground before use, and most kinds of rice. But beans, ground spices, dried legumes and dried fruit will all be harmed unless they are in vessel that doesn't let light through." CircleSerenity

Thanks for reading, and keep the comments coming!

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