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Open Shelving Depth, Material & Corbels

December 22, 2015

Hi again, taking a break from sink research to ask about open shelving. My plan is to put two shelves made out of the leftover butcherblock with black corbels on that open wall next to the peninsula.

My question isn't about whether to do the open shelves because I've had them before, I like the look of them and I like the functionality, so please keep that in mind.

My question is how deep I should make them for that space. I'd like to use them to store everyday dishes - plates, bowls and glasses. My GC recommended 12" depth to fit dinner plates, but does that seem too big? Mine are all packed away to measure.

Also, does the idea of more butcher block for the shelves seem like too much? Would it make more sense to use a different material?

Also, also, should I make the shelf corbels and the corbels for the peninsula match? The ones on the peninsula are wood and will be painted white to match the cabinet color, bit I could probably change them to match the open shelving or vice versa.


Comments (11)

  • rebunky

    I like the idea of using your left over butcherblock for the shelves. 12" sounds good to me, but hopefully others who have open shelves will chime in.

    What is the plan for backsplash? Cabinet hardware? Faucet? Any pendant lighting going above peninsula? Bar stool style? Fabric? Did I just overwhelm you? Lol! I have been in the ABB club for years so....

    I think the black corbels with wood shelf will look great. I would probably try and tie the black in with other elements or fixtures. It is looking great!

  • Corie Hall

    I have open shelving and they are each 10 3/4" wide. I store all my bowls, small plates, glasses and mugs on them. I also store extra dinner plates when there are too many clean to fit on my plate rack. My dishes are Fiestaware and they do extend slightly beyond the shelve; perhaps 1/4 inch beyond the shelf. It isn't an issue and I wouldn't think that the shelf needs to be larger but I think Fiestaware might be slightly smaller than some dinnerware. I did have the measurements of my dish ware available when the shelf width was decided. If possible, you should try to determine the size of your dishes before you make the final decision.

    I have a plank, maple island and I considered using similar wood for my shelves, but ultimately went with white, painted shelves. I think either would work in your kitchen. I would stick with the corbels that you have used on the island.

  • sweetsarahbeth

    My backsplash is white subway tile, all hardware is black or ORB, two cobalt blue pendants above the peninsula, no idea on barstools or fabric!

    Thank you guys for the input! I think I will stick with the plan :)

  • new-beginning

    depending on your butcher block, please consider not only the thickness of the material, but the weight of the material, especially after you have your 'stuff' on the shelf.

  • sweetsarahbeth

    It's ikea butcher block, so not super thick. If I have full length corbels, what is it that could happen?

  • Debbie B.

    Hi sweetsarahbeth! I really like your plan! I agree with the commenter who said the shelves could be either white or the butcher block. I think you should listen to your contracted and go with the 12". First, your dishes will for sure fit with ease, and second, you would have a larger area for weight distribution. I would definitely check with both Ikea and your contractor to determine how much weight the butcher block can reasonably hold, and how many corbels you will need to support it.

    I personally like the idea of matching up the corbels. It's a small detail, but I like matching small details throat the house. The more small things you can do consistently, the more freedom you will have to diversify the big things.

  • heatheron40

    Hey Sarahbeth!

    This is one of the best things I have found on the internet!!! http://www.woodbin.com/calcs/sagulator/

    Husband is an engineer and wanted to be sure there would not be any sag in our pantry shelves. I found this when looking for wood specs. We used this and they are perfect.

    If you are matching the butcher block, I would consider doing a different bracket. Brass, ORB, black whatever you like. The metal will seem lighter on the wall. I would also consider cutout wood brackets instead of matching- you want the overall feeling to be light and airy.

    Just a different way to look at things.


    sweetsarahbeth thanked heatheron40
  • raphaellathespanishwaterdog

    We installed iroko counters at our last house and did use the left over pieces for shelving in our utility room. In the kitchen though we opted for shelves painted to match our cabinets. They were around eight inches deep as we only used them for storage jars.

    We felt that using the left over counter for shelves in the kitchen would have been too much dark wood, but as your counters are lighter in colour this may not be an issue. I like the idea of using different style brackets.

    Pics below show before and after painting......oh, and we seem to have had the same brackets as those posted by Heather above :-)

  • sweetsarahbeth

    Thank you guys! Those brackets are very much like what I'm looking for. Where are they found?

    Heather, just used the calc with an estimate of 3 ft span and 12 in depth and the shelves were deemed acceptable. Score!

  • raphaellathespanishwaterdog

    Hi Sweetsarahbeth :-) I'm in the UK and found them on (English) eBay, but I guess they can be sourced in the US......our handles were solid pewter and we found some of the brackets already finished in a pewter colour, but when ordering more we had to get the primed ones and paint them ourselves.

    sweetsarahbeth thanked raphaellathespanishwaterdog
  • heatheron40

    Dear Sweetsarahbeth,

    I found them searching the internet. There's lots to see. Search metal shelf brackets. The company I settled on is actually in the UK- If you need it specifically, I can look it up- I just don't have access now to "my favorites". I think Van Dykes also carries a lot too.

    Hope that helps!


    sweetsarahbeth thanked heatheron40

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