How to Decorate Kitchen Shelves (4 Foolproof EASY Techniques)

How to Decorate Kitchen Shelves (4 Foolproof EASY Techniques)Are you loving the open kitchen shelving look but worried your kitchen would end up looking like a mess of pots and pans? Creating an open kitchen aesthetic can be daunting, but it’s all about organization. In this post, we will go through how to decorate your kitchen shelves so they reflect your decorating aesthetic in an interesting and organized way.

To decorate your kitchen shelving, you need to follow these steps:

  • Discover Your Theme
  • Choose Shelving Materials
  • Reimagine Your Basics
  • Create Balance 

Whether your shelves already exist, or you are getting ready to create your own open kitchen, you will need to find the right pieces that complement each other while creating an overall synonymous feel for your kitchen. Together, we’ll walk through how to make use and be creative in decorating the space on your kitchen shelves without all that clutter.

What is Your Focal Point?

Decorating your shelves truly begins with everything else in your kitchen. Are you looking to create a sightline all the way up to the ceiling, or do you want to break up a neutral wall with the shelving itself?

The backsplash is a great starting point when you’re trying to spruce up a kitchen shelf. You can add the shelving over top of the backsplash, or really make the shelves the star of the show by ending the backsplash at the bottom of the shelf. You’ll accentuate what’s on your shelf this way and really be able to get items that make a statement!

Create Your Theme

There are so many ways to bring a space together, but a good starting point is deciding what the theme of your kitchen is going to be. Are you drawn to more rustic items? Do you crave an all-white, modern look? Want your loft to have an industrial vibe? Choosing the theme of your room will help you make decisions on the shelving you want and what you are planning to decorate with.

Types of Shelving: Make Your Shelving Shine

There are so many types of shelving to choose from, you need to first understand the look you are going for in your kitchen (and, really, your house!). If you want a traditional kitchen, maybe a modern galvanized pipe shelving plan isn’t for you. This isn’t to say that you can’t mix and match materials and themes, but you’ll want to strike a balance between all the different types of materials you have in your kitchen.

One of the most popular choices is painted wood shelving that can blend in with your wall or backsplash and really make your pieces the focal point. Natural wood shelves can give the space a more modern feel. We especially love this rustic look that is so unique.

If you have a more modern aesthetic in your home, you could think about black shelving units or gold accents. This can be a more dramatic look that you can easily mix different materials together. If you love both industrial and rustic items, this may be your niche! We love the way these shelves are a statement piece but practical as well.

Shelving: Décor or Necessity?

The biggest question about kitchen shelving is what you are going to put on them. Are they for show or are they necessary for the functionality of your kitchen? If you are planning to shelve simply for the aesthetic, then you can decorate more sparsely, combining decorative bowls and beautiful pitchers in perfect symmetry. But, if your main issue is space, as it is with so many kitchens, then you’ll need to get organized. Here’s how to do it.

Kitchen Basics

These are your classics. If you’re using your shelves for your main storage space, you’ll need enough room to stack. Stacking plates and bowls will create height on your shelves and make your room feel taller! Don’t be afraid to vary your sizes, either. A serving bowl and a soup bowl have an equal right to the shelf, just make sure you are separating them enough to create a healthy balance between them and your other items.

If you don’t have anywhere else for your glasses, we recommend mixing them up on different shelves. Putting all of your glassware in the same area can feel overwhelming and you’ll want to move things around so it doesn't feel too symmetrical. Glasses can also be stored underneath your shelf on a rack holder to save space!

Cutting Boards and Serving Ware

If you’re looking to create height on your shelf, there are probably already some items in your kitchen that you can use. Cutting boards, pizza stones, serve ware, pitchers are all great items to store on your shelf and break up the similarly sized items. Lean a beautiful cutting board up against the wall or add an oversized bowl to the mix. That gorgeous pitcher from your registry? Put it on display! Kitchen shelves are a perfect place for the pretty things you may not get to use every single day, but you want to show off.

Jars and Cannisters

These are a staple in an open shelving kitchen. There’s just something so satisfying about a group of uber-organized jars on a shelf with varying contents! We would recommend something airtight since food may be going into these containers. These are a great way to take up space without occupying so much visual real estate on your shelf. The clear jar avoids an overcrowded feeling and you’ll get to put some of your beautiful foods or spices on display (colorful ones are a bonus!).


Baskets can be another great way to be organized with your shelving but give you a little bit more leeway in the perfection department. Have cords or something that isn’t as aesthetically pleasing that you need a place to store? Woven baskets can be perfect for this! We also love the way a woven basket can pop against a white wall or make a neutral kitchen more traditional with its theme. If you’re going for more of an industrial look, wire baskets are just as great to bring out black or gold in your kitchen. More of a transitional space? Add wire baskets and wicker baskets to bring your theme together.

Need Extra Space? Think Hanging Rods

A kitchen is known for clutter, and if you have a small kitchen space, you may be wondering how to cut down on the excessive and unnecessary.

We love the ingenuity of this kitchen using the shelf to store mugs (or glasses!) underneath. What a great way to put their collection on display. There’s something so charming about the mismatched mugs, isn’t there?

If you’re totally against having anything on the kitchen counter and enjoy an uninterrupted working space, look into hanging your pots and pans under your shelves to combat kitchen clutter.

Achieving Balance

A lot of times, balance can be hard to achieve. Maybe you have so many pieces that you want to put on display, or you feel like the shelves are too bare. You can always rotate some of your décors through over different seasons-this way you won’t get tired of your look and you'll have fun redecorating! The ever-changing aesthetic of your kitchen will grow with your design style and over time you will still be able to make changes without a full kitchen redo.

Find The Design That Suits YOU!

Kitchen shelves are classic and can make your space feel more inviting. You can keep your kitchen more neutral and gradually mix and match color palettes, or even add frames, lanterns, plants, to bring diversity into your space. Just make sure everything you’re choosing goes with your theme, the kitchen of your dreams is right around the corner.

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