Jennifer Aniston's kitchen features the perfect way to boost storage
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Jennifer Aniston's kitchen features the perfect way to boost storage

Jan 11, 2024

Jennifer Aniston uses open shelving to introduce delightful decorative moments in her pantry

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Jennifer Aniston is known for her understated style, so when shares snippets of her home on Instagram, we often stop and take note. This time, it is her kitchen that we're pulling inspiration from – the open kitchen shelving ideas in her pantry to be precise.

Old-fashioned pantries are enjoying a resurgence in popularity as we realize how useful kitchen storage furniture really is. While some attribute the increased interest in the revival of home baking, and others feel the trend away from wall-hing closed cabinets had made pantries more necessary, Andy Barette of McCarron and Company believes they are also something of a status symbol.

'They certainly have their place and can free up the main kitchen for everything else, rather than storage. It's a kitchen trend that I can't see dying off,' he says.

To maximize efficiency, just as Jennifer Aniston has done, make sure every functional element is detailed at the earliest stage, and remember that not everything needs to be hidden away when it comes to storage. In fact, decorative solutions, such as open-shelving, can make a huge difference to your look and feel.

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A cluster of simple floating shelves work particularly well in a kitchen pantry, where there may be a fair amount of closed cabinetry taking up space along the walls. They add an element of interest that draws the eye, all while helping to keep countertops clear.

It's best to mount open shelving just above eye level and within easy reach if you intend for the shelves to hold day-to-day items, such as plates and mugs. For a stylized look, stack collections of your favorite crockery, line up fresh herbs and incorporate small pieces of art along a run of open shelving.

Be they decorated with ceramics, vintage glassware, plants or recipe books, shelves can be used to add individual style to a kitchen, as Mike Fetherston, design director of Hetherington Newman, explains.

‘As kitchens and pantries are increasingly central to the home and where families come together for meals and to socialize, areas for display are important to personalize the space and add interest, giving a more relaxed and welcoming feel.’

Choose from floating shelves (without visible supports) to those with stylish brackets, from plate racks to cubby holes built into furniture.

Architect Ben Allen of Studio Ben Allen emphasises the practical function of shelving above the countertop in kitchen and pantry design.

‘We love providing space to display all things cooking and food related, so we often design open shelves,’ he says. ‘On the lowest shelf there will be space for items that are used every day – salt and pepper, oil and vinegar, perhaps an open bottle of wine and pots of herbs.’

He might add a rail for hanging tea towels, cooking implements, small pans or strings of onions and garlic. Higher shelves can be used for attractive cups, teapots and china, and variations in height and depth can bring playful touches to the design.

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Finally, if you want to make your shelving the star of the show – consider your chosen kitchen lighting ideas in the first instance.

Simple LED strips or miniature spotlights can be used to illuminate shelf displays, enhancing their impact and adding subtle evening glamour, especially useful when you want to create a softer mood for dining. Some wall materials can be backlit, as Richard Moore, design director of Martin Moore, explains of his use of a striking faux-marble onyx as a splashback and backdrop to glazed cupboards.

Having everything on display is not for the faint-hearted as it requires a certain amount of dedication to keep shelves looking smart and uncluttered. Here, our editors have picked their favorite items to display on a shelf.

Decor Ideas. Project Inspiration. Expert Advice. Delivered to your inbox.

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.

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The Perfect Kitchen, Barbara Sallick | From $21.87/£30.45 at Amazon