Roger Hazard and Chris Stout-Hazard
Cart | Checkout
Kitchens 101: Trends and best practices in kitchen style, layout, and functionality.

Functionality: Using Open Shelving to Expand a Small Kitchen

By Roger Hazard

Kitchen

Open shelving opens up space in this U-shaped kitchen.

A U-shaped kitchen configuration encourages high-efficiency cooking. The range, sink, and refrigerator are all just a pivot away, creating an obvious "work triangle" with a minimum of obstacles.

The U-shape configuration is particularly common in smaller kitchens. This is an efficient use of the available space, because base and upper cabinets can be placed on all three walls, wrapping around the workspace.

But while such a layout maximizes storage in a small kitchen, it creates problems from a design perspective. Surrounding the workspace with upper cabinets can create a claustrophobic feel. The solution is to take away a few of the upper cabinets. This breaks up the repetitive pattern of the cabinet doors and allows us to see a section of wall. The visual balance of the kitchen becomes less top-heavy, reducing the sense of claustrophobia and expanding the space.

While some may use this newly opened space to showcase artwork, I think that open shelving is a fantastic way to retain the lighter feel, add interest, and sneak in a bit of storage. Open shelving makes a wonderful home for frequently used glassware (If your drinking glasses are a jumble, consider picking up a dozen that match for maximum impact). To that, add a few large, bright mixing bowls to introduce color and free up valuable space elsewhere. You can add a decorative accessory or two, but don't go overboard - you'll be happier with the look if you don't fill every available inch of shelf space.

Pin It
Roger Hazard
Roger Hazard · Founder · Roger + Chris · Sharon Springs, NY
Roger Hazard is TV's original home stager, as well as designer / producer on the international, Emmy-nominated "SELL THIS HOUSE," "SELL THIS HOUSE: EXTREME," and "MOVE THIS HOUSE." MORE ABOUT Roger Hazard

Hot right now on Roger + Chris

A Peek Into Roger and Chris' Modern Farmhouse
We completely redesigned the interior and exterior of our modern home in Austin, Texas. Come take a look inside.
How to Clean Velvet Furniture
Velvet fabric can be a bit trickier to clean than other fabrics because, in addition to removing the stain, you must take care to avoid "crushing" the nap of the fiber. Here are some tips to help you successfully remove stains without damaging your beautiful furniture.
Press Release: Why did Roger Hazard leave "Sell This House"?
Find out why Roger Hazard has left "Sell This House: Extreme" on A&E and what he is doing now.
RELATED POSTS
Kitchen Inspiration Pinboard: Modern Cottage
An updated take on the cottage look integrates classic styles with contemporary details to create a bright, happy space.
Deconstructing a Kitchen: Hajdu Kitchen
Amy and Chris Hajdu purchased this West Austin home just over a year ago. The house, built in the early 1960s, had been well cared for but had received minimal updates over the decades. The Hajdus purchased the house from the original owner with the goal of respecting the existing architecture, while modernizing the systems and styling.
Guidebook, Step Six: Dealing With Contractors
Step six of the design process addresses working well with your general contractor. A good working relationship with your kitchen renovation contractor can be the factor that determines the success of your project. Here are seven key tips for creating and maintaining a harmonious partnership.
JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Design ideas, new stuff. discounts, and the occasional puppy photo. Sign up! All the cool kids are doing it.

NEW GOODIES
Watson sofa in Brisa Distressed Chamois faux leather
96
99.5
80
106
86