Help with Cafe Shelves in Kitchen

Decorating Dilemmas is a weekly column in which our stylists answer your design questions, so you can tackle your home decorating project with complete confidence.


I would greatly appreciate your help with my kitchen wall on which I recently installed three four-foot white cafe shelves.

I was planning on putting a large chalkboard behind the kitchen cart/table, but decided to purchase the cafe shelves to give us more storage.

My question is, what do you think of the shelves with this table/cart? Something doesn’t seem right and I can’t figure out what it is.

Are they too big for the wall, should I only do two shelves or should I put something else behind the table, like the chalkboard or some art? If they stay where they are, I think they should probably be painted as the whites don’t match.

My second question is, how can I style them so they better? Any help you have on accessories, plates, etc. for the shelves and table would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much for your help.


Dear Sally:

We agree – something is just not right. First, you might want to paint the wall behind a feature color.  Something bright and fun or make it a chalk board.

Next, you need to paint the shelves the same color as the cart.

As far as decorating the shelves, add some bright accent pieces – maybe a vase with a great design.

Stack the dishes at least three-quarters the height of the space. Add a collection of cookbooks standing upright.

Make sure you use pieces that are large enough to make a statement.

You can also soften the look with a great plant.

We hope these suggestions help you make your shelving corner a great little space!

Happy Decorating

The Style Studio Team

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How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.


  1. Reply


    September 25, 2013

    I also think that the table needs to be a bit larger – the shelves appear “top-heavy” in the picture.