These Kitchen Shelf Decor Ideas Will Help You Elevate Your Aesthetic

kitchen shelf decor ideas

I have always been a lover of all things home decor and interior design, but I also understand that styling an open shelf can feel intimidating. While having a wide range of decor options is generally a good thing, feeling like you have too many choices to make can stall the decorating process and make you doubt your decisions.

If you take one tip away from this blog post, keep in mind that most shelf decor pieces are affordable and small, so you’re not investing in permanent home staples. This realization should encourage you to have fun when styling your open shelves.

Also, don’t be afraid to switch up your decor from season to season—even the small changes can make a big impact!

Here, I’m sharing a handful of kitchen shelf decor ideas that are timeless, practical, and budget-friendly. After browsing through these shelf decor items, consider what might work best in your space. I’d highly suggest that you slowly add pieces to your shelving over time (rather than buy a lot at once and hope that it looks good together.)

All in all, these tips should help you put together polished and pretty shelves, regardless of your interior decor vibe.

Kitchen Shelf Decor Ideas

How to Decorate Kitchen Shelves

Before we get into some individual kitchen shelf decor ideas, I wanted to share some quick tips to keep in mind during the process…

  • Don’t overcrowd things.

Open shelving typically offers a lot of space to work with, but don’t let this trap you into feeling like you need to take advantage of all that real estate. Putting too many items on your shelves will make things look cramped and messy. Instead, keep things streamlined by embracing some empty areas, which will allow the eyes to find a resting space.

  • Consider your color choices.

I’m admittedly more drawn to neutrals yet I still understand the need for a touch of color here and there. Try putting together a color palette that has a variety of neutrals as well as a few complimentary hues that will add some character to your decor. I tend to reach for light blues and subtle shades of green, but you can choose any colors that you like.

  • Keep it functional.

When styling open shelves, it can be tempting to just plop some random objects up there and call it a day. In my opinion, shelves should offer a healthy balance of visually interesting decor and practical, everyday items. For example, you might have a picture frame (the fun item) and a small stack of plates (the functional piece) on one shelf and a potted plant (fun) and some glassware (functional) on another. The key is to have a mix of items that serve various purposes.

  • Display pieces of many sizes.

Speaking of well-balanced spaces, it would look quite odd to have kitchen shelves filled with items that are all really similar in size. Try to incorporate decor with unique shapes, textures, and sizes to ensure things look visually appealing. Also, don’t forget to utilize the vertical space that your shelves provide. That tall vase you can’t fit into your cabinets? Your open shelves might be the perfect place to store it!

Kitchen Shelf Decor Items

1. Add some light with a lamp.

There are few things that make a room feel more cozy and inviting than a lamp. If the shelves you’re working with are wide enough to place a small one on, it can provide a great way to bring in more light. I always find the cutest lamps at Target, and both of the options below are at a fair price point.

Ceramic Lamp

ceramic lamp with a white shade

Rattan Lamp

white lamp with a rattan shade

2. Incorporate art.

Again, I’m definitely more into the minimalist side of interior decorating, but adding art to your space is always a fool-proof way to make things more interesting. The nice thing about artwork is that you can switch it up regularly, depending on the season or even on the occasion you might be hosting for.

Framed Poster

framed poster with a potted plant scene

3. Display treats in glass jars.

I actually have two of these glass jars on my kitchen shelves, and sometimes I fill them with something tasty or festive, and other times I just leave them empty. If you have kids, this is a fun way to stash desserts (that you know they can’t sneak into!)

Glass Cookie Jar

glass cookie jar

4. Provide some color with a potted plant.

Mixing some live plants into your space will add a little dose of texture and color. Finding a cute planter to put one in is a must, and I’m obsessed with this scalloped find. When choosing the type of plant you pot, make sure you go with something that’s low maintenance—this way you’re not having to reach up to your shelves and water it multiple times a week.

Scalloped Planter

small white scalloped planter

5. Set out some books.

Whether you like design books or cookbooks, kitchen shelves are the ideal place to set them on display. Because you don’t want to overcrowd things, keep the books you have out to a minimum—I’d say no more than two or three. You can either stack them on top of each other or lean them against the wall with the spine facing outwards.

Gather at Home Book

gather at home book by monika hibbs

Sunday Suppers Cookbook

sunday suppers cookbook

Half Baked Harvest Every Day Cook Book

half baked harvest every day cookbook

Linen Books

white linen covered fake books

6. Keep your recipes handy.

I love when decor doubles up as something practical, which is certainly the case when you set a recipe box on your kitchen shelves. I like this pick, but it would be so sweet to display one that has been passed down in your family.

Recipe Box

wooden recipe box

7. Use canisters as decor.

Love the look of a coffee canister but not sure where to put one? Try your open shelves! Depending on your exact set up (and how high your shelves are) you can choose to actually fill these with ground coffee or just leave them empty. Either way, they add a cute touch.

Ribbed Canister

tan ribbed canisters

8. Frame some photos.

Another simple way to decorate your shelves is to set out some picture frames, and it’s likely that you already have some on hand. Like I mentioned above, keeping a “less is more” approach in mind will ensure that things don’t start to look too busy.

Antique Finish Frame

gold picture frame

9. Keep it basic with glassware.

Whether it’s cocktail glasses or small tumblers, setting some glassware on your kitchen shelves is a no-brainer. This is another highly practical decor option, and it’s also a great way to store your overflow inventory.

Fluted Glass Tumblers

glass tumbler drinking glasses

10. Create height with pitchers or vases.

Since it’s important to display decor of various shapes and sizes, consider decorating with vases or even a pitcher. Not only are these both appropriate to have in your kitchen, but they will help you take up some of the vertical space in between your shelves.

Stoneware Pitcher

white stoneware pitcher

Textured Vase

white textured vase

Single Handle Ceramic Vase

single handle ceramic vase

11. Go with faux plants.

Afraid you might not be able to keep a houseplant alive? I feel you girl. Instead, opt for a faux arrangement (which will require no thought at all.) There are tons of options out there but I think this baby’s breath plant and this little olive tree are adorable.

Baby’s Breath Arrangement

faux baby's breath plant

Olive Arrangement

artificial olive tree

12. Lean a bowl or platter against the wall.

Similar to the pitcher and vase idea, use your shelf space to show off any pretty platters or bowls you might have. You can either use a display stand to safely set your ceramic piece against, or you can simply set your bowl or platter flat on the shelf—just go with whatever works best!

Ceramic Bowl

ceramic bowl

Ceramic Carved Bowl

ceramic carved bowl from target

Stoneware Bowl

white stoneware bowl from target
Which kitchen shelf decor idea is your favorite? Let me know in the comment section below!
Erika's Signature

Hi! I’m Erika and I live in Sonoma County with my high school sweetheart and two kids. Follow along to find home inspiration, delicious recipes, and the inside scoop on all things wine country.

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