2. Open shelving. Installed in place of traditional upper cabinetry, open shelving recalls the days when kitchens were more utilitarian than decorative. Not only was cabinetry expensive, but open shelves allowed cooks to retrieve dishes and tools quickly. Today open shelves are as much about aesthetics as about practicality: Their openness helps make a space feel larger, and they often house accessories in addition to kitchen implements. You don't have to be obsessively neat and organized for open shelving to look attractive, but you'll want to make an effort not to let clutter build. Keeping dishware to a single color, as shown here, creates a striking effect.