This Viral "Gallery Rail" is the One Thing to Invest in to Make Your Kitchen Look a Million Times More Expensive

It's a genius way to upgrade simple shelves to make it look elevated and luxe, while also making them more practical, too

Kitchen shelves with a brass riser rail
(Image credit: Arthty Ragupathy (@av.home))

We love any excuse to add some extra details to a kitchen. It's those small additions that might not break the bank to install that can really make your kitchen look so, so much more expensive.

We've seen one such idea floating around social media recently, with posts featuring kitchen shelves with brass rails getting thousands and thousands of likes online. You might have identified these beautiful shelf rails (often unlacquered brass) in all the kitchens on your Pinterest board already, but aren't sure where to get them from yourself. Well, to help your Google search, it might be handy to know that the professionals call them 'gallery rails'.

It's a kitchen trend we're expecting to see a little more of, especially in kitchens with that classic-with-a-twist, "transitional" style vibe. And, they're more than just good-looking, as it turns out...

Why are they such a good idea?

kitchen shelves with gallery rails

(Image credit: Etsy — Vintouch Fixtures)

The devil is in the detail when it comes to a kitchen, and a gallery rail is another piece of hardware to add into the mix that can really elevate your space. They make shelves feel better-dressed and more considered, and are an excellent way to introduce another touch of metal to your scheme that act like jewelry for your room.

According to Arthty Ragupathy, who you can find on Instagram at @av.home, it's an idea that comes with other benefits, too, having installed them on her own kitchen shelving. 'I have longed for open shelving to not only display my thrifted treasures but my beautiful tableware too,' Arthty says. 'Due to the height of the shelves, the gallery rails add a sense of security to prevent the fragile pieces from sliding off during day to day use. In my guest bedroom, I've included the gallery rail on a floating shelf above the bed, so again, ensuring there are no unexpected objects landing on our guests. In both cases they add a touch of elegance and beautifully finish off the spaces.'

'It's a way to safeguard shelves,' Arthty summarizes. 'Without the gallery rails, I'd be more cautious about what I display. I'd probably avoid heavier, more fragile objects in the kitchen which is difficult to do when all of my tableware and thrifted glassware are prone to damages if dropped. Rather than styling the shelves with books and decor as a strictly decorative feature, I'm able to utilise it as a means for storage of pieces we reach for on a daily basis (i.e. plates, bowls, glasses, etc.)'

How do you install shelf rails?

Kitchen shelves with a brass riser rail

(Image credit: Arthty Ragupathy (@av.home))

These gallery rail kits come in separate pieces, comprising of gallery rods and 'throughs' that the rod is inserted through. The throughs need to be fixed to the shelf itself, and for a secure gallery rail, your best bet is to screw it into your shelf, rather than using something like glue.

You've got two options for this, and your choice of which to do might depend on the type of shelves you had already.

1. You can fix the throughs just as you would a handle, by drilling through the bottom of the shelf, and using a screw (or provided fixing) through the entire shelf. Depending on the fixing and your shelf material, you may be able to tidy this up after the fact, but when you're using a material like wood or veneer, this can be hard to make look good.

2. Option two is to drill into your shelf from the top, and use a "dual-headed" screw fixing, something like this one from Amazon. This will give a clean finish that can't be seen once your through is fixed in place.

Chances are, if you're buying throughs individually or in a kit, you'll be supplied with the right kind of fixing you need to use. You can connect your rod and throughs before drilling to make sure you get the placement of the holes right, too. It's an easy weekend project if you're confident enough with a power drill.

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Where can I buy shelf rails?

From our research, you won't tend to find gallery rails in your local home improvement store. Instead, you're more likely to find them from retailers who specialize in restoration projects. We found them through retailers like Van Dyke Restorers, as well as on Etsy and Rejuvenation.

Hugh Metcalf
Editor of

Hugh is the  Editor of From working on a number of home, design and property publications and websites, including Grand Designs, ICON and specialist kitchen and bathroom magazines, Hugh has developed a passion for modern architecture, impactful interiors and green homes. Whether moonlighting as an interior decorator for private clients or renovating the Victorian terrace in Essex where he lives (DIYing as much of the work as possible), you’ll find that Hugh has an overarching fondness for luxurious minimalism, abstract shapes and all things beige. He’s just finished a kitchen and garden renovation, and has eyes set on a bathroom makeover for 2024.