The Best Kitchen Shelves To Buy And How To Style Them

The Best Kitchen Shelves To Buy And How To Style Them
best kitchen shelves


Of all the kitchen trends that we are seeing of late, the move towards well-designed and often decorative kitchen shelves is a refreshing one.

This is a trend that really benefits those living with smaller kitchens because it opens up the space above eye level and introduces some softening styling elements to a functional and sometimes clinical room.

Kitchen shelves can of course hold utensils and pans and crockery – all the more reason to buy some beautiful sets – but they also hold art and plants, and decorative trinkets that would usually be found in a living room or bedroom. Having all of these bits and pieces on display encourages a level of organisation too, whereas kitchen cabinets and drawers so often become a dumping ground for pan lids and Tupperware boxes.

Whilst kitchen shelves may not seem like the trickiest design feature to settle on, the sheer volume of styles, colours, materials and sizes available may in fact make it a bit difficult.

Here, we look at 17 of the best kitchen shelves, with great affordable buys, styling tips, colour and layout suggestions.

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Best kitchen shelves: rustic wood

Buy now at Etsy

These solid timber shelves with steel brackets make for a super functional kitchen solution. A great idea here is to mount each shelf at varying heights to accommodate larger items at the bottom.


Best kitchen shelves: the display shelf

Not all kitchen shelving will be totally functional – it’s just as important to introduce decorative elements. There’s usually a lot of empty space above a sink as cupboards are a bit impractical, so a slim display shelf makes a great addition.

Pictured: Kitchen accessories at Dunelm


Best kitchen shelves: the visual divide

This barely-there shelf acts as a natural divide between the marble splashback and fabulous green wallpaper above. It’s placed slightly below eye level so even the smallest of items will be noticed.

Pictured: Crane Fonda wallpaper at Divine Savages


Best kitchen shelves: narrow space


Best kitchen shelves: the barely-there shelf

It’s a common design trick to paint your shelves the same colour as your walls for a barely-there effect. This would work equally as well with a dark and dramatic hue, or painted the same matt blue as the splashback.

Pictured: Country Living Peacock Blue Matt Splashback


Best kitchen shelves: industrial materials

Buy now at Etsy

Wood and steel make for natural companions, and work especially well if you’re displaying pale ceramics and glass – it can be tricky to add wood accessories to a wooden shelf without them disappearing.


Best kitchen shelves: full-length


Best kitchen shelves: freestanding shelves

Buy now at Really Well Made

If you need to use the full length of your kitchen walls, freestanding shelves are your best bet. A robust steel is a safe choice, and Scandi design darling HAY, famously do them in an array of bright primary colours.


Best kitchen shelves: wall panelling


Best kitchen shelves: affordable shelving

Buy now at IKEA

Kitchens are often the most expensive room to renovate, but shelves certainly don’t need to be. These petite IKEA shelves come in at a very reasonable £20.


Best kitchen shelves: paint effect


Best kitchen shelves: the chef’s choice

Buy now at IKEA

This kitchen shelving unit looks straight out of a chef’s kitchen but it is in fact from good old IKEA. This is one for the serious cooks.


Best kitchen shelves: uniform colour

Here’s another great use of paint, and one to really lean into. To replicate this elegant uniform look, paint everything, from your cabinets to your shelves and even your work surfaces in the same shade.

Pictured: Kitchen by Cheverell with metalware by Armac Martin


Best kitchen shelves: the wall rack

Buy now at Garden Trading

Garden Trading is an absolute go-to for kitchen storage solutions. We love this antiqued brass wall rack, but you can also find classic wood shelving units, galvanised steel shelves and freestanding ladder shelves.


Best kitchen shelves: traditional styling

This is a real favourite of ours, and such a common trick amongst stylists. Forgo the usual kitchen accents of mason jars and plant pots and instead style your kitchen shelves as you would a living room or bedroom – antiques, art, family photos, anything goes.

Pictured: Walls painted in De Nimes at Farrow & Ball


Best kitchen shelves: cubby holes


Best kitchen shelves: mini shelf

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