How to Cover Open Shelves in Kitchen: Effective and Stylish Solutions

Last updated on October 28, 2023

Discover the perfect way to transform your open kitchen shelves into a stylish and functional space by following these simple steps.

Open shelves in the kitchen are a popular trend that can add both functionality and style to your space. However, keeping them organized and visually appealing can be a challenge.

If you’re struggling with cluttered or messy open shelves, don’t worry – there are plenty of creative ways to cover them up while still maintaining their practicality. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best methods for covering open shelves in your kitchen, so you can achieve a clean and cohesive look that’s both functional and beautiful.

So let’s get started!

What's Inside

Benefits of Covering Open Shelves

lady in kitchen with open shelves

Covering open shelves in your kitchen can offer a range of benefits, both practical and aesthetic. For one, it can help to reduce visual clutter and create a more streamlined look that’s easier on the eyes.

This is especially important if you have a lot of items stored on your shelves or if they’re located in an area where they’re highly visible.

Another advantage of covering open shelves is that it allows you to control the amount of light entering your space. If you have delicate items or food products stored on your shelves, this can be particularly important as exposure to sunlight over time may cause them to fade or spoil.

Covering up open shelving gives you greater flexibility when it comes to decorating and styling your kitchen space. You’ll be able to choose from a wide variety of materials and styles for shelf covers – from fabric curtains and sliding doors through barn doors – allowing you complete creative freedom when designing the perfect look for your home.

Assessing Your Kitchen Space

kitchen with flower decor

Take a look at the size and layout of your kitchen, as well as the location of the open shelves. Consider how much natural light enters the room and whether or not you want to maintain that brightness with sheer fabrics or let in less light with thicker materials.

You should also think about what items are currently on display on those shelves and how often they’re used. If you have frequently used items like dishes or utensils stored there, consider using a cover style that allows for easy access while still keeping them hidden from view.

Another factor to keep in mind is any existing decor elements in your kitchen – such as color schemes or patterns – that may influence which type of cover material would work best.

Choosing Suitable Materials

kitchen Curtain fabric

You want something that’s both functional and aesthetically pleasing, while also being durable enough to withstand daily use. Some of the most popular materials for shelf covers include fabric curtains, sliding doors, roller shades and hinged panels.

If you’re looking for a more traditional look with a touch of elegance or privacy then consider using thick fabric curtains or Japanese type doorway curtains. These options are perfect if you have an eclectic style kitchen as they come in various colors and patterns.

For those who prefer modern designs with clean lines then sliding doors may be ideal as they offer sleek coverage without taking up too much space when opened.

Roller shades are another great option if you want something simple yet stylish that can easily be adjusted depending on how much light or privacy you need at any given time.

Hinged panels provide maximum flexibility since they can swing outwards allowing easy access to your items on the shelves while still providing cover when closed off completely from view by attaching them directly onto each shelf unit individually.

Selecting a Cover Style

kitchen sliding cabinet

The right cover style for you will depend on a variety of factors, including the size and layout of your kitchen, your personal taste and style preferences, as well as practical considerations like ease of use and maintenance.

Some popular options for covering open shelves include fabric curtains or drapes that can be easily pulled closed when not in use. These can add a soft touch to the space while also providing privacy for items stored on the shelves.

Another option is sliding doors made from glass or wood that can be opened or closed depending on your needs. This type of cover adds an elegant touch while still allowing you easy access to all items stored within.

For those who prefer a more rustic look, barn doors may be just what you need! These sliding covers are perfect if you want something unique that adds character to your kitchen decor.

Installing Fabric Curtains

kitchen shelf curtain

This option allows you to add color, pattern, and texture while also providing a practical solution for hiding cluttered or unsightly items.

To install fabric curtains over your open shelves, start by measuring the width and height of each shelf section. Then choose a suitable curtain rod that fits within these dimensions.

Next, select a durable yet lightweight fabric that complements your kitchen decor. You can opt for solid colors or patterns depending on your preference.

Once you have chosen the right material for your curtains, cut it into sections according to the measurements taken earlier. Hem all sides with sewing machine or hemming tape if necessary.

Finally attach curtain rings onto each panel at equal intervals along its top edge before hanging them from their respective rods above each shelf section using hooks screwed into place beneath cabinets above.

Creating Japanese Type Doorway Curtains

These curtains are made from lightweight fabric and hung on tension rods or hooks above the shelf area. They can be easily opened or closed as needed, providing both privacy and easy access to your kitchen essentials.

To create these curtains, start by measuring the width of your shelf area and adding a few inches on either side for overlap. Then choose a lightweight fabric in a color or pattern that complements your kitchen decor.

Next, cut the fabric into two panels that are slightly wider than the shelf area. Hem all four sides of each panel using an iron-on hem tape or sewing machine.

Hang each panel from tension rods or hooks above the shelves so they can be easily opened and closed as needed.

Adding Sliding Doors

kitchen Sliding Mirror Cabinet

Sliding doors are a popular choice because they’re easy to use and can be customized to fit any style or design preference. They also provide full coverage, which means you won’t have to worry about cluttered or unsightly shelves anymore.

To add sliding doors, start by measuring the width and height of your open shelving unit. Then, purchase a set of sliding door tracks that match the size of your shelf space.

You can find these at most hardware stores or online retailers.

Next, choose a material for your door panels such as wood, glass or acrylic sheets depending on what suits best with the overall look of your kitchen decor theme.

Once you have all necessary materials ready; install the tracks onto either side wall above each shelf level using screws provided with them. Then attach rollers onto top edge backside panel(s)of each door so that it slides smoothly along track when opened/closed without getting stuck midway due uneven weight distribution.

Finally hang up both panels into their respective slots on track system ensuring proper alignment before tightening screws holding them in place securely.

Employ Thick Fabric Curtains for Privacy

These curtains can provide privacy while still allowing easy access to your items when needed. Plus, they come in a variety of colors and patterns that can complement any kitchen decor.

To install fabric curtains over your open shelves, start by measuring the width and height of each shelf section. Then purchase enough curtain material to cover each section with some extra length for hemming.

Next, sew hems on all sides of the fabric panels before attaching them to tension rods or mounting hardware above each shelf section. You may also want to add tiebacks or decorative accents like tassels or fringe for added style.

Thick fabric curtains are an excellent option if you want something that’s easy-to-install yet provides complete coverage when closed.

Consider Barn Doors for a Rustic Look

Barn doors are a popular design trend that can give any space an instant farmhouse feel. They come in various styles and finishes, so you can choose the one that best complements your existing decor.

Barn doors are also practical because they slide easily along their tracks, allowing easy access to the items on your shelves while still providing coverage when needed. You can opt for traditional wooden barn doors or go with more modern materials like metal or glass.

When choosing barn door covers for open kitchen shelves, it’s important to measure carefully and ensure that there is enough clearance between the top of the shelf and ceiling so that they don’t interfere with each other when opening or closing.

Hanging Roller Shades

They offer privacy and can be easily adjusted to let light in or keep it out, depending on your needs. These shades come in a variety of materials, including fabric and bamboo, so you can choose one that complements your kitchen’s decor.

To install roller shades over your open shelves, measure the width of each shelf and purchase enough material to cover them all. Then mount brackets above each shelf where you want to hang the shade.

Next, attach the shade to its corresponding bracket using screws or clips provided with it. Make sure that everything is level before proceeding further.

Finally adjust any cords or chains attached with these roller shades according to their instructions manual for smooth operation.

Use Roman Shades for Shelf Coverage

They offer a sleek and stylish look that can complement any decor style, while also providing privacy and protection for your items. Roman shades come in various materials such as cotton, linen or silk to suit different tastes.

When choosing roman shades for shelf coverage, it’s essential to consider the size of your shelves and the amount of light you want filtering through them. You’ll need to measure each shelf individually so that you can order custom-made roman shades that fit perfectly.

One advantage of using Roman Shades is their versatility; they’re available in many colors and patterns which makes it easy to find one that matches with other elements within the room like curtains or furniture pieces.

Another benefit is their ease-of-use; they’re simple enough even if you have no experience installing window treatments before! All you need are some basic tools like a drill machine or screwdriver set plus instructions from online tutorials on how best install these types of covers onto open shelving units without damaging anything else around them!

Using Roman Shades as coverings over open kitchen shelves provides both practicality (privacy) & aesthetics (style).

Attaching Hinged Panels

kitchen shelf hinged

This method involves attaching wooden or metal frames with hinges directly onto the shelving unit. The frames can then be covered with fabric, wallpaper, or even chalkboard paint for added functionality.

To attach hinged panels, measure and cut your frame pieces according to the size of your shelves. Then attach hinges along one side of each frame piece and secure them onto the shelf using screws.

Once all of your frames are attached securely in place on each shelf level, you can add any desired covering material such as fabric by stapling it around edges at backside after stretching it properly over front surface. Hinging covers is an excellent option if you want something that’s both functional and aesthetically pleasing while still being easy to access when needed.

Using Pull-Down Covers

These covers are easy to install and operate, making them an ideal choice for busy homeowners who want a quick fix.

To use pull-down covers, simply attach them to the top of your shelves using screws or adhesive strips. Then, when you need to access your items on the shelf, just pull down on the cover like a window shade.

When you’re finished using it, let go of the handle and watch as it rolls back up into place.

One advantage of this type of cover is that they come in various materials such as fabric or vinyl which can be easily cleaned with soap water if needed. They also provide excellent protection against dust accumulation while still allowing air circulation around stored items.

Pull-down covers are available in different sizes so make sure that measure accurately before purchasing one that fits perfectly over each shelf section.

Install a Pull-Down Picture Over Shelves

This option is perfect if you want to add some personality and style to your space while still maintaining the practicality of open shelving. To install this type of cover, simply choose a favorite photo or piece of artwork that’s roughly the same size as your shelf area.

Then, attach it securely to a lightweight wooden frame using adhesive strips or small nails.

Next, attach two hooks on either side of the frame at equal distances from each other so that they can be hung over the top edge of each shelf unit. Use ribbon or string attached at both ends with knots tied around these hooks so that when pulled down gently by one end (or both), it will reveal what’s behind without having any obstructions in front like curtains would provide.

Fitting Tension Rods

Curtain Rings

They can be easily installed without any drilling or hardware, making them an ideal solution for renters or those who don’t want to damage their walls. To fit tension rods, measure the width of your shelf opening and purchase a rod that is slightly longer than the measurement.

Once you have your tension rod, simply twist it until it fits snugly into place between the two walls of your shelf opening. You can then hang curtains or fabric panels from the rod using clips or hooks.

One advantage of using tension rods is that they allow you to easily change out curtains whenever you want to update your kitchen’s look. You can also adjust the height of the curtain by moving up or down on the rod as needed.

Creating Custom-Made Frames

This option allows you to showcase your creativity while also adding a touch of elegance and sophistication to your space.

To create custom-made frames, start by measuring the dimensions of each shelf that needs covering. Then, choose a material that complements the overall style of your kitchen – wood or metal are popular options.

Next, cut pieces of material according to measurements taken earlier.

Once you have all necessary materials ready at hand, assemble them into frames using screws or nails as per requirement. You can then attach these frames onto open shelves with hinges so they can easily swing out when needed.

Custom-made frame covers offer endless possibilities for customization – from painting them in different colors or patterns to adding decorative elements like knobs or handles on their surface! They not only provide an attractive look but also protect items stored on shelves from dust and dirt accumulation over time.

Maximizing Functionality

basket in kitchen shelves

One of the best ways to do this is by using baskets or bins to store items on your shelves. This not only keeps things organized but also adds a decorative touch that can complement your cover style.

Another way to maximize functionality is by adding hooks or hanging storage solutions underneath your covered shelves. This provides additional space for storing utensils, mugs, and other small items that might otherwise clutter up valuable counter space.

If you have limited shelf space in your kitchen, consider investing in stackable containers or shelving units that can be easily moved around as needed. These versatile storage options allow you to make the most of every inch of available shelf space while keeping everything neat and tidy.

Considering Aesthetics

You want to choose a cover style that not only provides functionality but also complements the overall look and feel of your space. For example, if you have a modern or minimalist kitchen design, you may want to opt for sleek sliding doors or simple fabric curtains in neutral colors.

On the other hand, if you have a more rustic or farmhouse-style kitchen, barn doors or thick fabric curtains with patterns can add warmth and character.

It’s also essential to consider how your shelf covers will coordinate with other elements in the room such as cabinetry finishes and countertop materials. By choosing covers that complement these features rather than clash with them can help create a cohesive look throughout the entire space.

Maintaining Your Shelf Covers

soft-close hinges for cabinet install

Depending on the type of cover you choose, maintenance may involve regular cleaning or occasional repairs. For example, fabric curtains can be easily removed and washed as needed to keep them fresh and clean.

Sliding doors may require lubrication from time to time if they start sticking or becoming difficult to move.

If you opt for hinged panels or pull-down covers, make sure the hardware is securely attached so that it doesn’t come loose over time. You should also periodically check for any signs of wear and tear such as fraying edges or broken hinges.

Consider how your shelf covers will impact your daily routine in the kitchen – some styles may be more cumbersome than others when it comes to accessing items on the shelves behind them.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

When it comes to covering open shelves in your kitchen, there are a few common issues that you may encounter along the way. One of the most frequent problems is difficulty accessing items on covered shelves.

To solve this issue, consider using pull-down covers or hinged panels that can be easily opened when needed.

Another problem you might face is finding suitable materials for your shelf covers. If you’re struggling to find fabrics or other materials that fit your style and budget, try looking online for inspiration or visiting local home decor stores.

If you’re having trouble maintaining your shelf covers over time due to wear and tear or damage from spills and stains, consider investing in more durable materials like vinyl-coated fabrics or laminates.

By troubleshooting these common issues ahead of time and taking steps to prevent them from occurring in the first place – such as choosing high-quality materials -you can ensure that your covered open shelves remain functional and beautiful for years to come!


What are some creative ways to use curtains or fabric to cover open kitchen shelves?

Some creative ways to use curtains or fabric to cover open kitchen shelves include using tension rods, employing magnetic strips, or implementing a sliding track system for a stylish yet functional look.

Are there any temporary solutions for covering open kitchen shelves during a party or event?

Yes, temporary solutions for covering open kitchen shelves during a party or event include using fabric curtains, decorative screens, or pretty tablecloths.

What materials can be used for creating custom-fit covers for open kitchen shelves?

Custom-fit covers for open kitchen shelves can be created using materials such as fabric, plastic, wood, or metal.

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