What are Shelf Liners?

B. Miller
B. Miller
Shelf liners are available in a number of different colors and designs.
Shelf liners are available in a number of different colors and designs.

Shelf liners are rolls or pieces of contact paper that are placed on shelves or in drawers for an aesthetic or functional purpose. They can be a part of room makeover and can be a way to incorporate a design all throughout a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom or anywhere you have shelves and drawers. They can also help older cabinets or drawers look like new without the cost of replacing them.

Aesthetic shelf liners come in any design imaginable or in a transparent look, and are usually just flat pieces of glossy, durable paper with a peel-off, sticky backing. They might also be made of plastic, and might come in sheets or on a roll. You can cut them to the size you need, peel off the back, and stick them to the shelves. It is a good idea to thoroughly clean the shelves beforehand, removing any dirt or crumbs that could show up under the paper and ensuring that the paper will adhere well. Once the paper is placed on the shelf, you can smooth out any bubbles with a soft cloth or brush.

Shelf liners that serve a functional purpose might also be made of plastic or soft foam. For wire shelves, you might choose to place a sheet of heavier-duty plastic liner over the wire to prevent smaller items from falling through. These are referred to as wire shelf liners. Soft foam, waffle-type liners are also used for their non-slip properties. These might be used to protect fragile glass items or collectibles from slipping out of the cabinet, and can also help keep fragile items in one place to prevent them from bumping into each other.

Shelf liners are convenient because they can be cut and customized to fit your exact cabinet space. If you are renting somewhere, you can purchase shelf liners in non-adhesive forms. These are easier to clean because they can be pulled out of the cabinets and washed. Keep in mind that adhesive liners can be difficult to remove, and should probably not be placed in cabinets you do not own.

Shelf liners have other uses as well. You might use them in pet kennels used to bring your animals back and forth to the vet or groomer, to prevent them from slipping. Non-adhesive foam liners might also be placed under rugs on the floor to keep them in one place and to prevent slips and falls.

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Discussion Comments


@ bluespirit: Yes, I have seen the ribbed shelf liner. They sell them at most hardware stores. There is a popular brand called Plast-O-Mat. They even have lines to help you cut them more accurately.

As far as I know, these shelf liners are as multi-purpose and functional as the other ones. I am not positive that they can make the ribbed ones look as fashionable as the other ones, so if you are particular about being trendy, it would probably be best to have them on shelves that are hidden by a door or something of that nature.

I do not have these in my home, because I have fairly new shelves, but I will consider putting them in if and when my shelves start deteriorating. I love the fresh cherry wood of my cabinets, so I hope if mine do get old that they will have a liner in cherry wood. Has anyone seen a shelf liner in cherry wood?

From what I have seen, there are a lot to choose from in all kinds of different textures and designs, so I will probably find something I enjoy.


I have not had the pleasure of using shelf liner yet. I have lived in many apartments and I didn't want to worry about the hassle of removing them at the termination of my lease. Now that I know that there is a non-adhesive type, I may give them a try in the kitchen and/or bathroom.

I have seen a lot of "cute" shelf liner at various department and discount stores. Also a few of my friends who have a permanent place of residency have found some shelf liners that are both fashionable and functional.

I think the scented ones are extra refreshing for their kitchens and bathrooms. It seems like price-wise, it is the most affordable way to turn something old into something new and presentable.

Has anyone seen ribbed shelf liner? If so, are they affordable and do they have multiple uses like the other types of shelf liner?


We bought a camper that had been used quite a bit and when we got it home, the first thing I did was give it a good cleaning.

The previous owners had some shelf liners on the shelves and in the kitchen drawers. It can be pretty hard to remove the sticky shelf liner, so I just made sure I washed it real well and applied some new shelf liner.

When I was done I felt like I had new kitchen drawers and shelves to put my camping supplies on.


Whenever I move to a different place, one of the first things I do is put down shelf liner. I will thoroughly wash all the shelves and let them dry. Then I apply a layer of contact shelf liner.

This is inexpensive to buy and one roll will cover quite a bit of space. There are also many different colors and patterns to choose from, so it is easy to find something that matches your colors.

In addition to my kitchen shelves, I will also line any drawers in the bathroom where I keep towels and linens.

It doesn't take very long to do, and I feel so much better about storing my things on clean shelves and drawers.


I always line my kitchen shelves with shelf liner. When we moved a few years ago, I bought some grip it shelf liner which I just love.

It comes in a roll and feels almost like foam. It is so easy to cut off the size you need and just place on the shelf. It doesn't move around and is great for glasses, plates, pots and pans.

Another thing I love about it is that it can be washed. When it gets dirty all I have to do is throw it in the washing machine and I have clean shelf liners to use again.


I absolutely love my cedar shelf liner. I had been having problems with moths getting into my room and gnawing holes in my clothes. This liner repels them, and it also protects against mustiness and mold.

I have loved the smell of cedar since I was a young child. The scent reminds me of my grandparents’ house, because they kept cedar blocks in their closets.

The shelf liner comes on a roll, like most liners. It can be cut to fit anywhere. After I used it in my dresser drawers and on my closet shelf, I had some left over, so I lined all the shelves in the living room with it, just so the aroma would carry throughout the house.


The shelves in my cabinets were really ugly when I first moved into my house. The wood was so rough and splintery that I could not possibly wipe it down with anything. It just looked really raw.

I found some cork shelf liner while shopping at a home improvement store. It looks like someone took several wine corks and stretched them out flat in a sheet.

The material is so soft and cushiony. Once I put it down, I placed my breakable dishes and glasses on top of it, and they didn’t make a sound.

The liners are adhesive, so I can’t remove them. They resist mildew and mold, so I probably won’t need to take them out and clean them anyway.


I really like the removable rubber shelf liners. They come in different sizes, and I bought a large roll for the dressers and a small one for the cabinets.

I was able to find both beige and deep brown liners. The darker ones match my dresser drawers, and the beige ones go better in the kitchen cabinets.

I rent my house, so non-stick liners were the best option for me. However, I think that even if I bought a place, I would still use them, just in case I changed my mind one day and wanted to switch them out.


When my husband and I rented our first home together, we found that we really needed shelf liners. We moved in during the winter, and we found mouse pellets all up in the cabinets and drawers.

We bought some traps and picked up the pellets with a wet paper towel. I then wiped down the shelves with a disinfectant spray. However, I didn’t want to put bags or cans of food on shelves that had just been covered with mouse feces, so I got some of those waffle-type liners.

I trimmed them with scissors to fit the spaces. They are kind of clingy, so they don’t slip around a lot. They are thick enough to raise the food up above the level of the shelf.


I think I need to invest in some non-grip shelf liners. I've avoided buying the good stuff and have just been using paper towels as shelf liners. But those get wet and rip and slide around when I try to take out something which is getting really annoying.

I think it's time for real shelf liners and I don't think I'll have to replace them very often right?

How often do you guys replace your shelf liners?


I don't really use shelf liners anywhere other than the kitchen. I think it's a must for the kitchen because everything gets so messy when I'm cooking.

I always splash some pasta sauce around or drop bread crumbs here and there. Once I found a bunch of bread crumbs in the silverware drawer. I'm glad my mom wasn't around then, she would have disowned me for sure.

Shelf liners are great in the kitchen because it's so easy to wipe down or to take out and clean.


I always buy pretty and scented shelf liners for my clothes drawers when I move into a new place. If the place is old, there is always this old wood scent in the drawers that get into my clothes. I always wipe them down, but it doesn't help much and sometimes there's also little wood pieces that come off of the shelves and drawers and stick to my clothes.

I'm very sensitive about hygiene and clean clothes and I've realized that the best way to avoid being bothered by this is to put in new shelf liners as soon as I move in. Plus, the scented ones smell so nice and make my clothes smell nice too. It's also comforting to see the pretty colors and designs when I open the drawer or the closet.


Shelf liners are a really important thing to put into your kids rooms if they have closets or dressers. My kids are terrible for putting the strangest, and messiest things into their storage spaces.

I remember coming home one time and cleaning my kids room, only to find they had caterpillars living in their door. Apparently the had put dirt, branches and leaves right into their dresser. Luckily I had invested in the Rubbermaid shelf liners which are easily removable and can be wiped down. Needless to say, they were pretty pet proof. In the future, I may go through my entire house and put in shelf drawer liners just in case something similar ever happens.


Whenever I move into a new place I always invest in shelf lines, as no matter how much you clean the shelves, it always looks best when you keep them covered.

Kitchen shelf liners don't have to be expensive, in fact, you can just buy some pretty gift wrap and double-sided tape from your local dollar store and make your own. I have been doing this for years as paper shelf liners can actually be a bit pricey if you buy them in stores, listed under a brand name.

Also, if you want scented shelf liners, you can also spritz your gift wrap with perfume to really have a nice effect.

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    • Shelf liners are available in a number of different colors and designs.
      Shelf liners are available in a number of different colors and designs.