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How to Add “Fixer Upper” Style to Your Home – Open Shelving

Learn how to add Fixer Upper style to your kitchen by using open shelves

Welcome back to my series How to Add Fixer Upper Style to Your Home. Be sure to check out my previous posts as well:

Intro to Series – explaining why I wanted to start this series

Kitchen Accessories – where to find awesome kitchen accessories for super cheap, just like the ones Joanna uses in the show.

So today I thought we’d take a look at open shelving. People either love them or hate them, but if you take a close look at the kitchens on Fixer Upper, you’ll notice that almost ALL of them feature open shelving in the kitchen. And I found she uses 3 types of shelving:

1. Floating Shelves

Joanna Gaines' floating shelves in her farmhouse kitchen | The Harper House
floating wood shelves in Joanna’s own farmhouse kitchen (image courtesy of Joanna Gaines)



Floating wood shelves in Fixer Upper's "Barndominium" | The Harper House
Floating shelves in the “Barndominium” (image courtesy of Joanna Gaines)


Floating shelves are a great clean look to add to your kitchen, but they can be a little tricky to install. If you want them to hold any weight at all (think plates, glasses, flour & sugar canisters, etc..) they MUST be anchored well into the wall!

My initial thought was they must be anchored into a stud, but then I found this post by Jenna Sue Design. She has a great tutorial where she used these anchors from Lowes which are rated to hold 265lbs.

Jenna used this tutorial from Shanty 2 Chic to create her shelves:


We recently added a similar style shelf above the sink in our last flip house:

floating shelves above the sink in our last flip house | The Harper House
please excuse my horrible photography skills

floating shelves above the sink in our last flip house | The Harper House



2. Pipe Shelving

Fixer Upper Batson kitchen
pipe shelving in the Batson kitchen (image courtesy of Joanna Gaines)


pipe shelving used to create a pantry
pipe shelving used to create a pantry (image courtesy of Joanna Gaines)


Don’t those look cool? This type of shelving will add a rustic industrial look to your kitchen – not to mention a definite unique touch!

There’s lots of great tutorials out there but here are a few of my favorites:

Silvie Liv’s Industrial Rustic Shelf


Beneath My Heart’s Industrial Shelves


Design Dining and Diapers’ Shelves


Don’t have enough time to go the DIY route? Etsy has lots of ready made items available here.


3. Shelves with Brackets

Open shelves in the Magnolia Home kitchen | The Harper House
open shelving in Magnolia House B&B (image courtesy of Joanna Gaines)

Open shelves with brackets are my personal favorite 🙂 Joanna used them recently in her new Magnolia House B&B. I also think these are the easiest to install (and hubby is all for easy installation!)

Joanna used similar brackets like these from Etsy for the shelves above.


I currently have these from ikea in my kitchen.

and I have these brackets ($9.53 each) from Home Depot in my laundry room:

home depot brackets

and we used those  same HD brackets in the kitchen at a flip house we did several years ago too:

DIY farmhouse kitchen with open shelving | The Harper House

DIY open shelving using Home Depot brackets | The Harper House


So what about you? Do you like open shelving in the kitchen? I personally LOVE it – not to mention it’s a lot cheaper to install a few nice shelves vs. an entire bank of upper cabinets! Plus I love being able to add decorative touches to my shelves seasonally or whenever I need a new change. Which I need to do soon -so I can show you some pics. But then I better clean…ugh.

must. get. off. computer. first.


linking up with the creative circle & Wow Us Wednesdays | Meandering Mondays | Titus 2 Tuesday |Be Inspired | Work it Wednesdays

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  1. I love Fixer Upper and all things farmhouse. I am wandering over from The Creative Circle and I really enjoyed visiting your blog. Your shelves look great!

    1. Thank you so much Angela! I just love Chip & Joanna too – they are so cute together and all her designs are just fabulous! Thanks for stopping by today. I’m off to check out your blog too 🙂

  2. I watched my first episode of this show with Cala this week. I’d love to add “fixer upper” style to my house! Looking forward to you showing me how.

    1. What! You’ve only seen one episode?! We seriously love that show and Craig and I are eerily like them (minus the stylish duds and easy-on-camera attitudes!) You’ll have to catch up on all the old episodes – they do amazing work! I’m trying to talk Craig into moving to Waco so we can work for them, wouldn’t that be fun? 🙂

  3. Pingback: How to Add "Fixer Upper" Style to Your Home - Kitchens (Part 1) | The Harper House
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  5. I love your blog…I just ran across it in my feed. The brackets for the Joanna shelves doesn’t work though, I want to build these soon. You will have to check out our blog, we have a lot in common 😉

    1. aw, thanks so much Jess! I just took a peek at your blog and I LOVE it! You and your cousin are SO talented (and your families are adorable!) I will definitely be stopping by more often. And thanks for letting me know about that link – looks like her brackets are sold out in her shop. But I managed to find some similar ones on Etsy so I’ve updated the link. Thanks so much for visiting 🙂

  6. So helpful! I was wondering if you happened to remember how long the white open shelves above the sink are (under “1. floating shelves”, your last flip house). I need to decide if we want a 36″ or 42″ distance between the upper cabinets for the shelves and I like the proportions here! I’ve seen some too narrow for my taste, but it’s hard for me to gauge what 36″ or 42″ looks like. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for reading Vicky! I believe those shelves were between 42-44″ wide. My hubby custom built them to fit that space between the cabinets. Hope this helps – I’d be happy to answer any more questions. Feel free to contact me via my contact form above. thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Melissa – I think it depends on what you’d like to put on the shelves and how many shelves will be on the wall. I like to keep them equally spaced. But I’d recommend a minimum distance of 18 inches. Hope this helps. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Hi I love you guys you are great.there is a color you used in the people s house they they ouwened the coffee house it was on there closet doors could you tell me the color I’m going to use it on our island .thank you so much.i wish you could come here to Clayton help me love ya all

  8. Hi Just found your page looking for open shelving ideas to update our kitchen! I love the industrial piping open shelving but I have 10 foot ceilings and wondered if it would be too much!? Would love any advice!


    1. I think you could definitely do industrial pipe shelves with 10 foot ceilings. If you’re worried about it being too much, just reduced the number of shelves by using more space between each shelf (ie, use 20″ between each shelf instead of 16″ or whatever. Adjust to your specific needs) Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Hello – I usually try to keep the depth around 10″ so I can fit plates on the shelves 😉

  9. The shelves you showed for your flip house (mentioned you also have in your laundry); I am curious about the actual shelf—what type of wood did you use, it seems thicker than what I can find at HD or other big box stores.

    1. good eye! Yes, they are thicker than the big box stores carry! I was looking for something beefy and was unable to find them locally as well, so Craig built those himself. He basically created a hollow box for the shelf (using a similar technique as floating shelves.) I found a good tutorial which shows how to do it. Thanks for reading!

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