01/09/2015 02:43 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How to Style Your Kitchen Shelves

Three simple ways to give the busiest room in the house instant flavor.


You don't need a hard-core makeover to spice up your kitchen. A tight color palette and some cool new goodies and gadgets will do the trick.

photography by David Meredith

french flea market styling notes
We started with a mix of patterns (bold polka dots, delicate florals) in the same cherry red color scheme. The collection of classic barware and quaint-looking dishes makes it seem as if we've spent years combing Parisian flea markets (we wish!). We femmed up a basic shelf by tacking some lace trim along its edge, and displayed accoutrements like fresh herbs, a mini candelabra, and artwork to complete the laissez-faire look.

photography by David Meredith

retro-sheer styling notes
Pop-y colors and sleek-yet-functional design are the hallmarks of this '60s style. We chose chartreuse to hold the look together but used it sparingly (not in clusters) to maintain balance, and threw in a few other bright hues like pink and yellow. We didn't hide everyday things, provided they passed design muster: a gorgeous olive oil bottle, a minimalist napkin holder, bold-colored utensils. And we used plastic liberally!

photography by David Meredith

california rustic styling notes
A mix of materials is key to this earthy, Eastern look, but too many heavy ones like ceramic or wood can weigh a kitchen down. We used metal and bamboo as light counterpoints to these dark anchor pieces, and made sure all the objects were organic in shape. The color palette is natural: browns, blues, greens, and oranges that bring the outside in. Harsh overhead lights were replaced by a softly lit lamp on a shelf. There, we're more relaxed already.

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