The Benefits and Drawbacks of Kitchen Cabinet Shelf Liners

Your mother most likely did it. It was most likely done by your grandma. It’s now your turn. Should you line the shelves and drawers of your kitchen cabinets? Are you wondering if it’s worth the time, money, and effort? Yes, I am. And to help me decide, I’m weighing the benefits and drawbacks of kitchen cabinet shelf liners.

If you’ve ever wondered if using shelf or drawer liners is truly essential or worth the time, you’re not alone. I’ve pondered the same thing over the years, and I’ve occasionally omitted this crucial step, only to go back and fix it later. Because this is a frequently asked issue, I felt it would be useful to explain why you need shelf and drawer liners. And, because we all enjoy cleaning and organizing hacks, I’ll show you some other unique ways to put it to use.

This post may contain affiliate links. Full disclosure here.

Pros and Cons of Kitchen Cabinet Shelf and Drawer Liners

Lining kitchen cabinet shelves is about as much pleasure for me as watching grass grow. Washing windows is right up there.

I’ve previously lined shelves and drawers. It’s a time-consuming ordeal that tests my patience.

However, our cabinets, like those in most kitchens, get a lot of usages. In addition to being mistreated. (My apologies to the kitchen.) We adore you, and I vow to do my best to take better care of you!).

Here are the benefits and drawbacks of lining your kitchen cabinet shelves and drawers that I discovered.

Advantages of Kitchen Cabinet Shelf Liners

Kitchen cabinet shelf liners are worthwhile for the following reasons…

  1. Water protection
    Okay, I’ll confess it. I’m entirely guilty of putting away dishes that aren’t completely dry. I know it’s bad, but I’m just a little impatient. I force my kitchen to keep up with our hectic schedule. Kitchen cabinet liners prevent cabinets from water stains and rings left by wet dishes.
  2. Scratch-Resistant Finish
    Certain types of cookware, such as pots, pans, and small appliances, are particularly damaging to kitchen cabinets. Pulling those pots in and out of kitchen cupboards frequently results in scratches and dents. Here’s a picture of where I keep my pots and pans. And, for some reason, the cupboard behind my kitchen sink has also been subjected to identical treatment. Watermarks from previous sink leaks (previous owner), ugly rings from dog food cans (well, that’s my fault…).Shelf liners are a strong method to protect cabinets from nicks and scratches caused by cookware and small appliances.
  3. Using Shelf Liner Makes Cleaning Easier
    Lined cabinets are easy to clean and do not require a special cleaning (where certain types of wood might). And if the stain or debris is really tough to remove, replacing the liner is far easier than cleaning the filth out of the wood grain!
  4. Noise Reduction
    Number one, I’m envious if you have kitchen cabinets with soft-close hinges. Number two, adding lightly cushioned liners can assist reduce noise to a minimum. It will minimise the sounds of slamming pots and scraping dishes on bare cupboard shelves. And if the liners are textured, they will keep those drawer organisers (particularly the silverware ones!) from sliding about and creating noise!
  5. Adds Color
    Using interesting, colourful liners is a subtle and discrete way to add pattern and colour to the kitchen. It’s a simple and inexpensive way to add flair to your house.
  6. Using Shelf Liner Keeps Small Items From Disappearing
    I enjoy the appearance of certain wire shelving, but it is undeniably inconvenient. Installing a liner prevents tiny objects from going through and ending up who knows where.

The Drawbacks of Kitchen Cabinet Shelf Liners

To be sure, the benefits of kitchen cabinet shelf liners listed above were persuasive. But I’m not sure I want to invest a lot of time and money lining the shelves and drawers in my kitchen cabinets.

  1. The Liner Is Extremely Sticky
    My grandmother’s super-sticky contact paper comes to mind when I think about shelf liners. And, in my experience, installing without wrinkles requires a very steady touch. And a very straight hand to make the appropriate cut to fit the edges of the shelves and drawers.Contact paper is great since it is both water-resistant and long-lasting. And it works flawlessly for a few years. The removal procedure is excruciatingly painful and aggravating. The scrubbing The excavation. The act of peeling away the contact paper increases the danger of harming your kitchen shelves – precisely what the contact paper was designed to prevent!
  2. Inadequate Stickiness
    To prevent the annoyance of removal, most contact paper substitutes have a “light” tackiness. That seems great in principle, but…I couldn’t locate a liner that received rave reviews for its ability to stay in one spot. The majority of the issues in the evaluations were about the shelves that contained bigger goods, such as pots and pans and small appliances. However, they are the shelves that require the greatest liner protection. Hmmmm…. And the best-reviewed liners were a little pricey. And if you plan on lining every shelf and drawer in the kitchen, the cost may quickly add up.
  3. The Holes
    This disadvantage is exclusive to the “waffle” kind of shelf liner. This is now displayed on shelves in my basement. Crumbs, dirt, and other ick end up on the wood surface beneath due to the gaps in the waffle design. It can become revolting. And “disgusting” is not a word I would use to describe my kitchen cabinetry.
  4. Color Fading
    One of the benefits of liners mentioned above (the addition of colour) might also be a drawback. Consider lining all of your kitchen cabinet shelves and drawers in a gorgeous dramatic design, such as the multi-colored butterfly contact paper seen above. Then, a few years later, you come across a trendy new paint colour that you simply must have in your kitchen. Perhaps you’ve fallen in love with a new dish set. However, it is entirely incompatible with the design and colour of the contact paper.

Do Shelf Liners Help Kitchen Cabinets Last Longer?

You’ll note that I didn’t mention that shelf liner have the added benefit of extending the life of kitchen cabinets. According to kitchen cabinet installers, while shelf liners help keep shelves cleaner and more hygienic, they are not the primary motivator for homeowners to replace their kitchen cabinets.

Tips for Getting the Most out of Your Shelf Liner

Clear out your cabinets. Make cleaning your cabinets an annual habit, even if it’s unpleasant.

Leave out the waffles. This was once a favourite of mine, but I’m trading it in for something without holes! Because of the holes, crumbs and dirt will wind up on the surface underneath. Also, it isn’t always non-slip—it might bunch up and move as you put or take things out. It’s also more difficult to maintain clean.

Choose something that will last a long time. Cut vinyl flooring to fit inside drawers and cabinets, then secure it using removable wall poster glue. It is considerably more durable, so you will never have to replace it!

Leave out the sticky things. The glue itself should not harm your shelves, but peeling it off may. What’s the point of safeguarding your shelves if removing the protective covering results in dents and scratches? Look for models with a low tack.

Consider cedar. Natural cedar liners can be useful in storage places where moths and other insects might be a problem, such as where you keep spices, dry goods, or kitchen linens, due to their repellent qualities.


Cork is an option. Cork, which comes in rolls many feet long, has a robust surface that cushions fragile things like glassware. It is also mould and mildew resistant.


Prevent it from sliding. Put a little dab of reusable mounting putty in each corner to ensure the liner does not slip.
Consider installing an under-the-sink mat. They’re better in absorbing spills and many are machine washable!

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