"This $15 Buy Can Make Your Kitchen Shelves so Much More Practical," Say Professional Organizers

Unnecessary extra step, or a clean kitchen essential? Our experts break down whether you should invest in the best kitchen shelf liners

An organized open kitchen cabinet
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The plight for the most clutter-free kitchen possible can often result in hours lost down organizing rabbit holes, researching a never-ending list of life-changing gadgets.

If this situation sounds at all familiar, you've likely already found yourself questioning whether your cabinets are due an upgrade when it comes to kitchen organizers. But alongside the plastic storage containers and pull-out drawers, you may have overlooked the humble kitchen shelf liner.

They promise a way to protect your kitchen shelves, but also make spaces more practical. But are these a kitchen cabinet essential, or just another fad? We asked our experts for their opinions on the matter.

Should I be using kitchen cabinet liners?

a kitchen drawer with a patterned liner

(Image credit: Duck Brand)

Ben Soreff, professional organizer and founder of House to Home Organizing, says he generally uses liners 'for items like plates and cups.'

'Cooking utensil drawers should be lined to protect the wood and the items,' he adds. 'Some shelves don't really need liners, like for food and oils as sometimes these items don't sit flat with the liner.'

'Shelf liners are a good option for kitchen cabinets that are difficult to clean due to a non-smooth surface that collects dust,' says Sara Bereika of Sara Jane Organizing. 'Also, if you have ventilated wire shelves, using a proper liner can prevent items from falling through the spaces or toppling over.' For ventilated shelving, Sara recommends something like this wire shelf liner from Amazon: 'It’s translucent and firm so it will hold items steady on shelves and is easy to clean.'

While she notes that liners can be a good option for preventing drawer organizers from moving around when opening the drawer, Sara argues that 'in most cases, shelf liners are an extra, unnecessary step.'

However, if you do find yourself struggling with unruly drawer organizers, Sara suggests 'using a felt drawer mat from IKEA that can be cut to size.' This will prevent any issues with slippage, keeping your inserts securely placed, and maintaining how you organize kitchen drawers.

The appeal of cabinet liners stretches beyond the purely functional, with increasing options available for more decorative designs.

'If you are looking for aesthetically pleasing cabinets, I like to check out Etsy,' says Sara, 'I find the most beautiful papers there. Often store-bought brands don’t offer the beautiful patterns that I or my clients desire.'

These are not an effort-free option though; 'If you are committed to making your cabinets look beautiful inside with a decorative design liner and are willing to take the time to measure and cut the liner properly, then they can look great. Otherwise, I often suggest it's best to omit the shelf liner altogether.'

While cabinet liners can be helpful additions to some kitchens, minimizing dust build-up on uneven surfaces and preventing problems caused by wire shelves, professional organizers Ben Soreff and Sara Bereika consider them an extra step that you could probably do without.

How do you install kitchen cabinet liners?

Many kitchen liners are sold in rolls, packaged similarly to saranwrap, leaving you to cut the material yourself so that it can most accurately fit your shelf space. However, this can cause further issues.

'Many people struggle with cutting the liners properly, making them not lay flat or not cover the entire area,' explains Sara Bereika. 'Additionally, some liners stick to the cabinets and create residue on the shelves.'

In order to prevent this stickiness issue, Ben Sorreff suggests Con-Tact Brand Shelf and Drawer Liners as they are: 'Easy to install and remove as it is non-adhesive.'

Maya Glantz
Trainee writer

Maya is a freelance writer and Magazine Journalism master's student at City, University of London. Her undergraduate degree in History of Art at the University of Bristol helped form her interest in interior design and architecture. Maya is a lover of curved arches, green kitchens, and all things mid-century modern and can often be found scouring the web for vintage finds.