Storage shelves are a staple item in most storage solutions, whether in a closet or an entryway. Storage shelves may be metal or wood, solid or wired. However, not everyone finds these aesthetically pleasing. This leads many to ask, “How can I make my storage shelves look better?

  • Liners
  • Paint
  • Baskets
  • Color coordination 

Below, we will discuss several ways you can spruce up your storage shelves. Keep reading to get your creative juices flowing!

How to Make Storage Shelves Look Nice

There are many things you can do to spruce up the look of your storage shelves. All are simple to accomplish and leave room for your imagination to run wild. 

To spruce up storage shelves, some people choose to line the shelf bottoms with contact paper, and others choose to paint them. You can even add baskets or organize shelves by color. 

Below, we will discuss four ways to make your storage shelves look better. Keep the following tips in mind as you decide what to do. 

Liners and Contact Paper

Shelf liners, sometimes called shelf paper or contact paper, are decorative liners for the inside of shelves. 

Depending on your preference for permanence, you can choose adhesive or non-adhesive shelf liners. Follow the steps below to apply contact paper to your shelves. 

  • Empty each shelf of all its contents. 
  • Clean each shelf with a damp cloth. 
  • Measure the length and width of the inside of your shelf.
  • Cut your liner to fit the shelf.
  • Test your sheet of liner by laying it face down on the shelf. Mark any notches that need to be cut to fit the edges precisely. 
  • Place the finished liner on the shelf, adhesive side down, smoothing it out as you go. 
  • Place your items back on your shelf. 

You can also use contact paper on the inner backside of your bookcase. This gives the inside a bit of dimension and contrast from the rest of the shelf. 


Painting your storage shelves is another great way to spruce them up. This allows you to be creative and match your shelves to a room’s decor. 

Grab a can of interior paint, then follow the steps below to paint your storage shelves:

  • Clean each shelf to remove dust and let them dry.
  • Paint the edges of your shelves with an angled brush.
  • Paint the rest of your shelves using a roller brush.
  • Allow the first coat to dry, then add a second coat to ensure everything is fully covered. 

After you finish painting, allow the shelves to dry for several hours before placing any items back on the shelf.


If you don’t want to paint or line your storage shelves, you may want to try sprucing them up with baskets. There are several types of baskets that look great on these shelves while also helping you optimize storage space and organization.

Rattan Baskets

Rattan baskets look similar to wicker baskets. They work great for storing things like stuffed animals or extra throw blankets. 

You can purchase Rattan baskets in a round, square, or rectangular shape. Depending on the color and tightness of the weave, they tend to work well in traditional or bohemian-styled homes best.

Cloth Baskets

Cloth baskets can come as solid or collapsable. The collapsable ones usually have a piece that pops into the bottom to make them sturdier and work well for storing toys. 

Solid cloth baskets work well for laundry or bookshelf storage and closet storage. They can house belts, hats, purses, and more. 

Wire Baskets

Wire baskets come with or without cloth liners in them. The cloth liner allows more coverage for the things you are storing and tends to go well with an industrial farmhouse look. The ones without the liners work well for storing things like stacks of paper.

Color Coordination

Color coordinating and organizing items by color is one of the easiest ways to make your shelves look nice. For example, you can place your child’s books in a rainbow color scheme, brightening up their bedroom. 

In other areas of your home, you can group vases or trinket boxes on any unused shelves, giving your storage area a color-coordinated vibe that matches the rest of the decor.

As simple as it sounds, grouping items on different shelves based on their color can turn your storage solution into a statement piece that brings the whole room together.

In Conclusion

Storage shelves don’t have to look plain. In fact, shelves are a staple in modern home decor! You can use them to keep you organized, or you can use them to display your favorite decorative items or photos.

There are many ways to make your storage shelves look nice, ranging from liners and paint to baskets and appealing color coordination. Whether your shelves are housed in your entryway or laundry room, you can let your imagination run wild while following the path of your room decor.