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How to Decorate Kitchen Floating Shelves

Services like DoorDash and Uber Eats may be getting more popular, but many of us still enjoy the pleasures of cooking delicious home-cooked meals for ourselves and our loved ones. If that’s the case for you then it may be worth learning how to decorate floating shelves in kitchen to elevate the mood when you whipping up your favorite pasta dish at home.

how to decorate floating shelves in kitchen paint
Designed by Taavo Somer

Personally, I absolutely love having open kitchen shelving in a home, Im particularly in love with by brass shelving from a local artisan that we had installed. Floating shelves in a kitchen provides tons function allowing me easy access to essential cookware, extra storage space, all while allowing me to display some of my favorite styling accents.

In that spirit, Im going to share with you my precess for kitchen shelf decorating. I get asked all the time and have been doing for over a decade. Hopefully, you’ll find it useful in your own decorating endeavors.

The Three P’s For How to Decorate Floating Shelves in Kitchen

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My approach on how to decorate floating shelves in kitchen is based on three main principles, which I call the “Three P’s”. By focusing on these points, you’ll be able to achieve a functional interior design for your kitchen, while also highlighting your personal style throughout the space in an elevated and intentional way.

Sure, you could just wing it, and—eventually—you might get decent results. However, I think it’s always best to have a game plan for an exceptional design.


storage space

The most important thing to keep in mind when trying to determine how to decorate floating shelves in kitchen is the purpose of the space itself. Start here!

Are you trying to increase your storage options? Need a spot for. your blender? What about your amazing collection of brass pots? Do you want to display an impressive collection of dessert bowls? Perhaps you just want a pretty backdrop to admire as you go about your morning routine. These are all valid purposes for you kitchen shelves.

There could be one reason, or many: it doesn’t matter! What does matter is that you’ve clearly established a purpose for your decorations, as this will ultimately affect how you arrange your storage space. Be sure to optimize your styling choices based on your biggest need – that will produce the best results in h helping you love being in your space.

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Design via Sarah O’Neil Interiors

For example, let’s say you have trouble reaching the top shelf. If you’re only leaving decorative pieces up there then this doesn’t matter much. However, if all of the things you need daily are placed out of reach this quickly becomes a massive inconvenience.

You’ll also want to consider weight limits. While most solid wood or stainless steel floating shelves should provide adequate support for your items, you should still avoid overloading your shelves. Decorate by having gorgeous yet often used items nearest you, and items that may be more decorative in nature up high.

Fortunately, if you pay close attention to the next principle then long-term sagging issues shouldn’t be a problem!


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Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Now that you’ve determined the purpose of your arrangement, the next step in how to decorate floating shelves in kitchen is perfecting your placement. I’ll focus on kitchen shelves here, but if you would like to consider ways to decorate small home overall I got ya covered there.

Open shelving presents the perfect opportunity to display your favorite kitchen items. Still, it’s easy to visually overwhelm your wall shelves with decor items if you’re not careful. Even kitchen essentials like white dishes can become overbearing if they’re crowded together. As such try to leave lot of negative space so that each item can shine.

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With that in mind, there’s nothing wrong with having some items close together in your kitchen. Try to place accents in small groups of three. You just need to take the time to arrange them orderly and grouped by shape and size. Items won’t feel cluttered this way. Be sure to vary heights some tall, some low, round and square while varying materials like wicker, glass, porcelain, wood, and brass etc. I love to transfer grocery store boxed and can items into more aesthetically pleasing decorative jars, and pasta containers etc. This simple upgrades will create a more aesthetically pleasing look. Trust me!

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Photo via Adrian Gaut

One way to overcome space limitations is by installing corner shelves, which can add a lot of usable storage space to a small kitchen. It will be easy to start decorating once you have adequate shelving in place for all of your items.

Upper shelving is a great place for displaying ornamental items like decorative vases, as they can be clearly seen but won’t get in the way. Don’t be afraid to bring in items that are not just functional too, More on that in a bit. Everyday kitchen essentials should be closer to the bottom, conveniently within reach but mixing in a few oddities and interesting pieces will make your shelves stand out. These tricks work in any kitchen of any size, but it’s especially important if you’re working in small spaces.

There are many different ways you can arrange your kitchen items. Personally, I’d recommend first arranging them by purpose first, color second. This should result in a pretty good balance between visual appeal and day-to-day usability.


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Kitchen Design via Laura Stephens

This is super important the last of the three p’s of how to decorate floating shelves in kitchen: personalization! For obvious reasons, this is my favorite part and really where the magic happens.

A sure fire way to help personalize to your kitchen floating shelves add in accents like vintage books, plants in worn terracotta pots, shiny vessels, decorative glassware, wicker baskets, and brass candlesticks or trays. A collection of both small and larger objects will look better than a set of all similarly sized items.

Always best sure to take note of what you’re already working with in your kitchen and mix in personal items with things you use every day. For me, this is my toaster, and favorite coffee mugs. Also, when it comes to the color of your shelves or cabinets you can stick within the same relative color palette if you want a more cohesive look, or opt for contrast if you want to create a sense of visual interest.

Existing surfaces—such as Taj Mahal countertops or painted kitchen cabinet doors—will give you a solid starting point to work from, even if they use relatively neutral colors overall.

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Kitchen via Create White

When in doubt, I always look to placing small plants on your floating shelves. Introducing greenery always help brighten up a space.You can even grow kitchen herbs in cute vessels.

Another sure fire trick is displaying your favorite cookbooks, and artwork. The options are truly unlimited, so it really comes down to picking the “vibe” you’d like for the space and then curating items that match. Don’t over clutter, leave lots of negative space, and group things together! You got this.

How to Decorate Floating Shelves in Kitchen: Ideas & Inspiration

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Design via Ensemblier

Now that you know the three P’s, let’s see them in action! I’ve gathered a few examples below that will hopefully inspire you as you work on decorating your own space.

Remember, perfection takes time, so don’t worry about getting it “right” the first time. Just enjoy the process as you go!

Sort Your Spices For How to Decorate Floating shelves in Kitchen

Photo by Gareth Hubbard on Unsplash

Floating shelves can be a great way to display your spices. As an added bonus? All of your favorite spices will be within arm’s reach at all times! Since there are many different types of spices, you shouldn’t have any issues making an arrangement that matches up with your chosen color scheme.

Of course, you aren’t just limited to spices. You can make similar displays with other types of kitchen essentials, or even use dasher bottles for an in-home bar vibe!

Give Corner Shelving a Go

corner shelving
Photo by Andrea Davis on Unsplash

As I mentioned before, corner shelving is a great way to maximize storage. The corner itself is a great place to put a decorative item, with a mixture of essentials and adornments on each side. 

It’s also worth mentioning that the corner shelving tends to have more support than the rest of the shelf, making it an ideal place for heavier items. A few possible options include a stack of plates, a large vase, or even a sculpture!

Personalize with Plants

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Photo by Hans Isaacson on Unsplash

Plants come in all different shapes and sizes, so you should be able to find a plant or two that fits in your space with ease. Hanging plants can look amazing in corners. You can also use them to frame a window sill.

However, you won’t always have enough space below to make a hanging plant practical. Fortunately, smaller plants—like these Rosemary plants—can fit just about anywhere!

Make a Statement

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Kitchen design from Helen Parker at Devol Kitchens

Floating shelves can really help complete a statement wall. With so many styles, colors, and sizes to choose from, finding the perfect one might take a little bit. Even so, it’s definitely worth it!

One idea I really like is implementing hangers below your floating shelves, as seen in the photo above. This type of arrangement really helps you maximize the wall space. Plus, it also gives you a chance to show off your extensive collection of coffee mugs!

Curate Your Kitchenware

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Proper storage is an essential element of kitchen design. Fortunately, you can easily arrange your pots and pans into an impressive display using floating shelves. Although basic, it’s a highly practical approach that works great as a starting point for more elaborate layouts later on.

Put plates with plates, dishes with dishes, etc. By having stacks at different heights placed next to each other, you’ll be able to make a display that’s easy on the eyes without needing to add anything extra.

Of course, if you can add a bit of color coordination in there, that will make your floating shelf display look even better!

Making Your Own Floating Shelves

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Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash

Don’t have any floating shelves in your home? No problem: you can learn how to make your own! With the right materials, a few basic tools, and a leveling laser tool, you’ll have your brand new kitchen shelf installed in no time. 

Check out my post on how to create your own floating shelf here.

Floating Shelves & Final Thoughts

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Kitchen design via Ursino Interiors

As we’ve seen, it’s not very hard to learn how to decorate floating shelves in kitchen. Really, the hardest part is figuring out exactly what you want to do. With so many options, it can be hard to decide!

Fortunately, one of the best things about floating shelves is how easy they are to rearrange. Just try an arrangement and see how it goes. If you don’t like it or want to tweak it later on, you can always redo the entire shelf with minimal effort!

Hopefully, you guys have found this short article helpful and inspiring. Do you have any plans for your own floating shelves? If so, I’d love to hear about them!

Feel free to leave me a comment, check out my Instagram, or read one of my other blog posts for more home decor ideas.

Thanks for reading, y’all. Until we meet again!

Frequently Asked Questions about how to decorate floating shelves in kitchen

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Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

What should I put on floating shelves in the kitchen?

As open kitchen shelves, these shelves are great for both daily essentials and decorative pieces. Personally, I’d try to have both if possible. The final selection is up to you, but some common selections include cookbooks, dishes, plants, spices, glasses, and photos.

How can I make my floating shelves look better?

There are a few different things you can do, starting with making sure that your shelves aren’t crowded. From there, it’s a good idea to mix both small and larger decorative objects on your shelves. Mixing textures can also help as well! In the end, it all comes down to curating the right selection of items for your space and theme.

Are floating shelves in a kitchen a good idea?

Installing a floating shelf is a great way to add extra storage space in smaller spaces. Floating shelves also offer an easy way to display your favorite kitchenware while allowing you to keep essentials within arms reach. This makes them a solid option for most kitchens.

Can you put heavy things on floating shelves?

Sort of. You can generally expect floating shelves to be capable of supporting 15 to 30 pounds, although there are some that can hold upwards of 40 lbs. That said, they’re generally meant more for decorative purposes, rather than serious storage. While a small stack of plates should be fine, I would save the heavier items for the cupboard!

Do floating shelves sag over time?

They definitely can, especially if you’ve placed too much weight on them! Of course, this will happen much quicker with a cheap shelf than with a more expensive, natural wood shelves. Fortunately, the best way to avoid this is by minimizing the weight on the shelves. If this is unavoidable then you may want to consider adding additional supports.

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