Small Kitchen Shelf Ideas Create Functional Areas in Small Spaces

29+ Small Kitchen Shelf Ideas

Small Kitchen Shelf Ideas with Brass Hardware and Terrazzo Countertop

In this Mediterranean-inspired small kitchen, the archway creates a statement corner, defined by materials of unparalleled authenticity. These materials include zellige tiles and terrazzo countertops, complemented by an earthy color palette and shades of cream. This way, the kitchen gains a gentle character and warm atmosphere. And it is complemented by the wooden floating shelves that emphasize the beauty of the archway and open up the space to support the Mediterranean feel. But it still needs something to crown the elegance and casual theme of the kitchen, which comes with the oil-rubbed brass hardware.

Small Kitchen Shelf Ideas with Hook Wall Storage

There is always a way to add more storage. If you are looking for alternative ways to keep your cutting boards and hang your apron and sieve, hook wall storage could be your answer. This kitchen, for instance, features one of those that adds visual interest to the otherwise dull dark gray wall. Plus, you can also use such storage pieces to put your cookbooks on display. For some color, surely, dry plants such as lavender would also bring a nice gentle touch and smell to your kitchen.

Small Kitchen Shelf Ideas

What saves small kitchens from looking cluttered is a couple of space-organizing tricks to use the available space efficiently and make everything look in order. Small kitchen shelf ideas are very beneficial at such moments. From cabinet shelves to floating, corner, and counter shelves, there are multiple ways of organizing your kitchen according to your needs. Since these display shelves expose the kitchenware and utensils, they help navigate the kitchen and offer convenient access to the most-used items.

More importantly, the shelves don’t only have functional benefits but also add aesthetic value to kitchen designs. You can style them in many different ways and even use them to emphasize the character of the kitchen. For example, shabby chic kitchens love wall-mounted plate racks that you can also use in farmhouse-style kitchens, while industrial kitchens go with metallic shelves to suggest the industrial look. Of course, there is a lot more to learn about these shelves. In this blog, we compiled over 30 small kitchen shelf ideas you can glean from, which will introduce you to the different forms of kitchen shelf ideas and how they are integrated seamlessly as part of the existing narrative of kitchens.


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Subway Tile Backsplash with Wooden Countertops and Floating Shelves

Though known for its minimalist and simple look, this Scandinavian-style kitchen preserves the daily rhythm of the kitchen with wall-mounted rails and floating shelves without surrendering completely to a minimalist look. It consists of wooden countertops, a white beveled subway tile backsplash, and flat-front cabinets. Its soothing color scheme with organic textures offers a relaxing atmosphere, while asymmetrically installed floating shelves exhibit characteristic accessories for a punch of character.

Sleek Kitchen with Whitewashed Brick Backsplash and Black Cabinets

Applying contrasting colors in the right proportions surely makes compact spaces look larger, and this kitchen is no exception. It owes its sleek and enhanced feel to the streamlined black cabinets and a white-washed brick backsplash. The poured concrete on the floor also joins the rest for a seamless look, while the color fluctuations and discoloring are both visible on the ground and backsplash, which ties the space together. But of course, the overall look wouldn’t be that immersive if it weren’t for the wooden floating shelves that add a soft contrast.

How to install a small shelf in the kitchen?

By installing small shelves, you can easily upgrade your kitchen’s overall look and inject your personality into the design. But if you are worried about how to mount one, installing a small shelf is much easier when compared to the larger ones. So, you can easily install one by yourself without any need for professional help.

But how to start?

1) Generally, it is required to, locate the wall studs with a stud finder and mark it with a pencil or tape, and ideally, two studs are enough to stabilize the shelves and support the weight of the exhibited items. But with a small shelf, you can just skip this step and just mount them directly to any part of your kitchen walls using anchors.
2) Before installing, just mark the installation spot and ensure that display shelves are mounted at around eye level (1.5-1.8 m high). This way, you provide easy access and make them the visual focal point of the design. Also, if you are going to install more than one shelf, do the measurement accordingly and pay attention to leave 12-18 inches between the shelves. You can also use your level to make sure that the shelves are even.
3) While mounting, you can use a floating shelf mount (if you don’t want to see any hardware) or brackets for better support. For the former one, drill your mounting holes and check if the bracket bars fit them perfectly. Drill mounts should be mounted to the back of the shelves with two screws. Then mount the bracket to the wall by sliding the bracket into the pre-drilled holes, which will give you a secured floating shelf with no hardware visible.

4) If you are going to go with brackets, install the brackets on the wall first. To secure the brackets, use anchors. Then with screws, you can attach the shelves to the brackets.


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Open-plan Kitchen with Wooden Columns and Floating Shelves

The wooden insertions and white-cream color palette create the feel of a bigger room in this natural kitchen design. The fluted doors of wall units and the wooden column lend a sense of sophistication and create a backdrop for the interplay of light and shadows. Yet, what stands out is the kitchen island that becomes the visual focal point, bringing aesthetic and functional benefits. Composed of different layers and a fluted wooden volume, it offers a worktop and floating shelves to exhibit its users’ essential items. The floor-to-ceiling black rod supports this intriguing form on the entrance part of the kitchen, differentiating the kitchen zone from the rest. But to retain a connection, the large format floor tiles bleed into the adjacent room to emphasize the open-plan layout and enhance the openness of the space.


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Small Kitchen Shelf Ideas with Black Cabinets and Countertops

The years-long friendship of white and black finds another embodiment in this small kitchen that uses this couple to divide the kitchen into two halves, the bottom with black cabinets, black countertops, and a black backsplash to create a seamless body, and the top half painted white and punctuated by a duo of long linear shelves. Using shelves in favor of the upper wall units open up the space and design possibilities. With shelves, the kitchen feels more approachable and informal, while the characteristic kitchenware continues to build into the existing narrative of the kitchen.

Small Kitchen Floating Shelf Ideas

Highly customizable, floating shelves can be given any form through different materials, from stainless steel to brass, glass, and wood. They are also available in various sizes, shapes, and designs, opening up the space and adding a visual accent to the walls.

Small Kitchen Floating Shelf Ideas with White Cabinets and Butcher Block Countertops

Though the sloping ceiling seems to be one of the handicaps of this kitchen, it is included as part of the design with a wooden floating shelf that bridges the wall units with the sloping side. As such, the shelf helps build a connection, bringing the design together. And the rest of the features, including the white cabinets and butcher block countertops, keep things feeling architectural for harmonious integrity.

Wooden Floating Shelves and Vintage Wall Sconces with Brassware

For a kitchen to look nice, you don’t need big design moments. Sometimes all that a kitchen needs are a touch of warming elements, vertical paneling for a sense of movement, and symmetrical placements to introduce order. And here, all these features are realized with brass hardware, beadboard walls, and wooden floating shelves flanking the hood, respectively. Additionally, the black vintage-style wall sconces add a characteristic touch, while the white rug brings in a comforting texture.

How to decorate a small kitchen shelf?

Different textures and materials always create a well-curated composition when they come together on exposed floating shelves. So, use items of various sizes to add more dimension and throw in some personal pieces to project your personality. Also, avoid making them look too much in order. Rather, try to capture purposeful randomness. This way, you can help things look more natural and encourage objects to do the speaking for themselves.

Cookbooks, kitchen plants, and beautiful vases could be great additions to enrich your small kitchen shelf repertoire. You can lay the books flat rather than vertically or do both for a better visual composition. If you like vintage stuff, you can pay a visit to thrift stores and flea markets to find some eccentric decorative pieces. But don’t try to fill every single space or gap on the shelf. You wouldn’t want the shelf to look messy or overcrowded.

Apart from those, another strategy you can employ is to continue decorating the counters as well. For example, cutting boards, a cute toaster, spices, a bowl of fruit, a basket of lemons, and jars could be kept on the counters to make the kitchen livelier. Also, pay attention to installing the shelves symmetrically to ease your eyes.

Modern Kitchen Design with Sleek Cabinets and Appliances

Even though this modern kitchen has a basic vocabulary and material palette, it still retains a distinct character. Thanks to the combination of some authentic additions, it also proposes a duality without compromising its modern style. First of all, the off-white waterfall island and sleek black refrigerator add up to the modern features of the space and bring a sense of flow. On the other hand, a duo of terracotta lighting fixtures and a traditional rug give the kitchen a rustic and classic spin, while the wooden floating shelves add texture and warmth to support it. And this combination of various textures and vibes results in a distinct kitchen character that comes as a visual feast.

Wooden Cabinets and White Subway Tile Backsplash with Black Hexagon Floor Tiles

If you can’t decide on which colors to use in your small kitchen, you can go with a safe color scheme that includes a trio of white, black, and wood. To play safe, this kitchen also does the same, employing wood counters and pairing them with a subway tile backsplash for a timeless look. Black hardware and black hexagon floor tiles coordinate naturally to anchor the look while floating shelves build extra interest and make a room for a stunning wall sconce that brings the outdoors in.

Are floating shelves outdated?

On the contrary, floating shelves have been preserving their popularity for a very long time for their ease of use and installation along with economic benefits. Especially small kitchens always need extra storage that doesn’t take up much space and doesn’t make the space feel enclosed. In that sense, floating shelves help the small kitchens feel more open and airier. As such they are transformative pieces that can be thought of as wall decorations, which explains their popularity.

If you have a busy-pattern wall and want to create a visual break, you can add floating shelves that will provide some breathing space. Plus, if you get bored with how they look, you can easily upgrade them with a few small touches. Even if you have a minimalist kitchen, a floating shelf still works well. Just keep it long and in the same material as the backsplash and install it right above where the backsplash ends. You can also complement it with a couple of minimalist decorative pieces.

Small Kitchen Shelf Ideas with White Countertops and Blue Window

The all-white look of this kitchen feels soothing with a casement window that invites garden views indoors. The marble-look porcelain tiles add a neutral backdrop with striations bringing movement. In an effort to add more interest, the window frame is painted blue and the brass hardware is used to add a sense of sparkle. And the wooden floating shelves make the space feel bigger. Lastly, if you have nice garden views, you can leave the windows untreated to embrace nature.

Are floating shelves in the kitchen practical?

Floating shelves are very practical additions to your kitchen, helping you to make efficient use of space while also decorating your walls. You can keep your most-used items on those shelves for convenient access and use them to highlight your backsplash. Plus, they are even practical in aesthetic terms. Not only that they are highly customizable but also, they suit every kitchen style. By making small changes in the color and material palette of the shelves, you can create different looks. For example, in industrial-style kitchens, you can use metallic and stainless-steel shelves, while wooden floating shelves suit farmhouse and rustic kitchens more. But if you want a more delicate and stylish touch, glass floating shelves will befriend your kitchen effortlessly.

Minimalist Kitchen with White Cabinets and Quartz Countertops

With details kept as spare as possible, this minimalist white kitchen showcases the sophistication of simplicity. To do so, it prioritizes remaining achromatic and proposes a counterpoint with a contrasting statement island. On the perimeter site, it is lined with white shaker cabinets paired with white quartz countertops and a backsplash that provides a sleek look. Also, the range hood remains out of sight to preserve uniformity, while the floating shelf stands outs as another minimal touch, providing a gentle frame to the backsplash.

Small Kitchen Corner Shelf Ideas

Corner shelves help small spaces stretch and extend, creating the feel of a bigger space. Especially if you mount them near the windows, you can expand the impact of the natural lights penetrating through the windows, which will come back as extra brightness and airiness within the kitchen.

Modern Kitchen Corner Shelf Ideas Near the Window with White Cabinets

To benefit from the natural lights, this kitchen uses corner shelves right near the window so that the lights have enough space to linger around. Also, the dominant use of white color with the cabinets ensures a sense of flow throughout, which is enriched with a pink carpet and timber accents.

How do I add more storage to my small kitchen?

To maintain an unencumbered look in your kitchen, the best solution is to add more storage. But how do so? If you have run out of space on the walls, you can consider getting counter shelves for your countertops or cabinet shelves you can install right under the overhead cabinets. For example, windowsills are excellent additional storage space if you have them. Likewise, pegboards can hold up a lot of stuff, including pots, pans, canisters, and utensils. Your backsplash can serve as storage as well, with a couple of wall-hung rails.

Besides those, a freestanding shelf can add not only extra storage but also bring charm to your kitchen. Especially the woven ones bring in nice textures. But if you have a contemporary sleek kitchen, black metal freestanding shelves would suit your kitchen better.

Display Cabinets with Wooden Corner Shelves and White Backsplash

Used alongside the white display cabinets, the wooden corner shelves provide breathing space for the corner. And behind the shelves, the satin finish ceramic tile backsplash peeks out, adding a slight shimmering effect to the background.

Veneer Corner Shelves with Quartz Countertop and Custom-made Cabinetry

Visited by the streaming lights, this warmed-up kitchen corner features veneer corner shelves that add a punch of character and extend the visual impact of the window instead of cutting it as a wall unit. Other noteworthy features include the custom-made fluted cabinet door design along with quartz countertops and backsplash bringing contrasting finishes for layered complexity.

Small Kitchen Shelf Ideas with White Shaker Cabinets and Beadboard Panels

For this natural kitchen design, the homeowners choose to go with a light-color palette and lots of wood shades and textures to complement it. To support the airiness and openness, they also incorporate wooden corner shelves, which are well-curated with a variety of elements. For the final touch, the kitchen plants are brought in to add a touch of green for a sense of freshness.

Small Kitchen Shelf Rack Ideas

Almost vital to any design, small kitchen shelf racks have multiple benefits to making the space decluttered and well-groomed. And if you wish to increase the impact of their aesthetic benefits, you can install them on accent wall features or statement-finish ceiling-height backsplashes like marble or marble-look quartz.

Small Kitchen Shelf Ideas with White Cabinets and Marble-look Quartz Backsplash

To open up the space in small kitchens like this one, a ceiling-height backsplash with a shelf rack makes a perfect couple. And the rest can be disguised in white cabinets for a seamless look, supported by the slab-front and handle-free door style as here. In the background, what defines the kitchen is the marble-look quartz backsplash with pronounced striations that becomes a visual focal point punctuated by the shelf rack. Additionally, the patterns on the quartz and the black vertical features of the wooden shelves keep the background better articulated with a designer look.

Subway Tile Backsplash with Shelf Racks and Light Green Cabinets

Here we have another small kitchen that makes use of a ceiling-height backsplash and shelf racks to add storage in place of overhead cabinets. And what is complementing them are light green cabinets and ceramic cube pattern floor tiles that create a soft dramatic look. To offer more space for cabinets, the appliances are also kept smaller; to spice up the look, the oil-rubbed brass hardware is added for a sense of warmth. Overall, the subway tile backsplash with the shelf racks brings a timeless aesthetic that suits the causal rhythm of the kitchen.

Scandinavian Kitchen with Freestanding Shelf and Black Shelf Rack

In this Scandinavian kitchen, the black shelf rack is like the cool kid in the classroom. It is accompanied by wooden countertops and light bluish-gray shaker cabinets, featuring a basic and minimalist look. Across the perimeters, another freestanding shelf is added for extra storage. Its timber texture coordinates with the wooden countertops effortlessly to bring the kitchen space together in this open-concept room.

What should I show on my kitchen shelf?

Kitchen shelves are one of the best ways to project your personality into a kitchen. That’s why they can be used to exhibit some personal items, which could be a framed print, an inexpensive artwork, a favored mug or a vase, a family photograph, cooking books, a clock, and more. To put it differently, it is important to know that just because it is a kitchen shelf, you don’t necessarily have to place kitchenware or plates on the shelves. Instead, you can mix them with other personal items to make the shelves look more intriguing and make them narrate something.

Secondly, it is better to place the most-used glasses and plates to save time and effort. This way, without any need to open and close the cabinets, you can easily reach your essentials.

Wet Bar with Black Countertops and Black Shelf Rack

We love how this wet bar sits nicely, framed by wooden beams that give the kitchen a rustic feel, while the custom steel shelf rack gives a stylish finish to the wall. A little down, the cutting board, flowers, and cookbooks laid flat and vertical on the countertops bring in purposeful randomness to enrich the wet bar’s design vocabulary. And finally, further below, the richly stained wood cabinets and a beverage cooler complement the overall design scheme of the wet bar.


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Cream Cabinets With Butcher Countertops and Black Shelves

In this light-flooded kitchen, everything feels in harmony from the cream cabinets to the butcher block countertops and a glass sheet backsplash. And to enrich the look, a slatted wood feature is added to create an accent wall and offer a perfect background for black shelves that store some spices and mugs. The designers also bring in black ergonomic stools not to make the black shelves feel alone.


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Small Kitchen Shelf Ideas for Dry Bar with Blue Cabinets

This cozy dry bar corner is filled with eclectic decorative items, including a wall-mounted whale figure and a two-tiered black shelf displaying another interesting collection of homeowners. Right below, resting against a green wall and white square tile backsplash, the bespoke blue cabinetry has a coastal flair, serving as a home to a coffee machine, a kitchen plant, and a lovely lamp. Overall, this dry bar features a very characteristic design that gives a lot of hints about the personal tastes of the homeowners.

Small Kitchen Cabinet Shelf Ideas

If you are not fond of floating shelves, you can consider another alternative, which is something both open and a cabinet. If you wish you can have them right under the overhead cabinets. This way, you can also keep them closer to you for convenient access. Or better, you can just have a vertical row of them for visual treatment. Also, by playing with the color and material of these cabinet shelves, you can enrich the aesthetic value of the kitchen or use them to break up the uniform look. For example, if you have an all-white kitchen and want to spice it up, a wooden cabinet shelf will do what you need.

Beadboard Cabinets and Scalloped Farmhouse Sink with Cabinet Shelf Ideas

From the moment one steps inside this kitchen, what greets them is the consistent employment of vertical lines, which come with beadboard cabinets, wood vertical paneling, and the scalloped farmhouse sink. All together they create harmony, while white quartz countertops cheer up the space. At the back, the cabinet shelf painted dark green has a dramatic impact on the space, and the brass hardware and light wood shades smoothen it. The green-painted window frame, muted green door, and green diamond patterns on the floor tiles just make things even better, creating a continuous design throughout the kitchen.

Black Cabinets with Granite Countertops and Cabinet Open Shelf

Even though this kitchen is small and compact, we know one thing for sure this delightful design makes use of the space to the fullest. The full-height black cabinets at the back transform into a cozy nook on the way, which again turns into the cooking zone sheltered by a sleek black range hood. And what happens between these two sections is just a lot. The stunning granite countertops infuse the pink shades with black, creating a very modern feel. On the other hand, the black shades of the cabinets are offset with timber additions and the cabinet shelf. Lastly, the poured concrete on the floor adds an industrial feel, also reminiscent of outdoor life.

Are open kitchen shelves still in style?

Open kitchen shelves are still popular for many reasons. They are budget-friendly, highly customizable, easy to install, and very practical. Plus, they fit any style whether traditional, transitional, or modern. As a result, coming with both aesthetic and functional benefits, open kitchen shelves seem to be on-trend in the long term as well.

Small Kitchen Shelf Ideas with White Cabinets and Subway Tile Backsplash

We love how this kitchen sits in peace, featuring a visually light palette. From the white flat-front cabinets to the white subway tile backsplash, and stainless-steel hardware, everything is kept simple and functional. Though, one distinguishing feature comes with the wooden cabinet shelf that delivers a sense of warmth and texture to the otherwise all-white kitchen. Also, the woven baskets placed on the range hood and a counter shelf with pull-out drawers, along with the cabinet shelf, enriches the storage styles of the kitchen, making efficient use of the small space.

Scandinavian Kitchen with Window Backsplash and White Cabinets

This Scandinavian kitchen offers such a cozy spot to cook while enjoying the garden view from the window backsplash. What complements it are white flat-front cabinets, wooden cabinet shelves, and gray countertops that celebrate the beauty of simplicity. And particularly, the non-symmetrical placements of the cabinet shelves showcase purposeful randomness to suit the casual theme of the kitchen. At the back, the white-painted vertical panels clad the walls to add a sense of movement and help the kitchen to blossom into a farmhouse flair. Additionally, the wooden shelves and woven baskets, and a vintage-style pendant bring the right amount of warmth to complement the overall look.

Small Kitchen Counter Shelf Ideas

You know what they say: “the only limit is your imagination.” And surely, the same goes for space-organizing shelf ideas. Ranging from custom-design shelves to pitchers for kitchen utensils, an under-cabinet rod or rail, double-stacked woven trays, cup hooks, three-tiered wire baskets, wire racks, wall-mounted pull-out drawers, and corner shelves, you have plenty of counter-organizing shelves. This way, you can keep the most essential kitchen items like spices, oil, crocks, and other utensils easily accessible. And especially, if you don’t have space for floating shelves to hang on your walls, then what could be better than a counter-shelf?

Small Kitchen with Counter Shelf and U-shaped Layout

Sometimes you also need shelves to organize the stuff you keep on the countertops. In such cases, there is nothing better than the counter shelves to align your spices, jars, or oil bottles. In this kitchen, for example, the timber counter shelf house mugs, cactuses, and other ceramic containers that keep things in order and neat. Yet, the counter shelf has another duty in this kitchen. Though the kitchen’s U-shape layout allows for maximizing storage, accompanied by wall units as well, the resulting scheme doesn’t leave room for floating shelves. That’s why the counter shelf brings another benefit to compensate for the lack of a floating shelf to keep the most-used items within arm’s reach.


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Custom-Design Counter Shelf for Monochromatic Kitchen and Wooden Countertops

Supported by two rods that extend from the countertop to the bottom of the upper cabinet, the custom-design counter shelf offers a space wide enough to keep utensils of various sizes. Here, for instance, the homeowners use it to keep spices and hang a whisker and a ladle. And its sleek look is a perfect match for the modern off-white cabinets and white porcelain subway tile backsplash. The only element that makes a counterpoint to the monochromatic scheme of the kitchen is the wooden countertops which bring a gentle contrast for a sense of warmth. But the overall look feels well-curated and balanced.

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