How to Style Your Kitchen Wall Shelves

It’s a universal truth – we all need more storage. In the kitchen, we love working in wall shelves or a hutch to display favorite dinnerware, linens, and cooking essentials. But knowing how to style your kitchen wall shelves so that they’re both functional and pretty can be challenging. We’re sharing our best secrets for creating a beautiful and storage space in your dining room or kitchen.

Style kitchen wall shelves with most used items on the bottom shelves

1. First Function

Above all, your kitchen wall shelves needs to be functional. This is a hardworking room, so you want all of your most-used items handy and placed on the most accessible shelves. Start by setting aside those pieces you reach for the most, then add those to the shelves first, placing them on the lowest shelves.

Style kitchen wall shelves with stacked plates and standing plates

2. Stack, Stand, and Space

More than likely, you’ll be using your hutch or shelves to store and display dinnerware, but we like to incorporate plates in different ways. For plates with decorative patterns, we like to stand them up to display the color and textures. For your everyday plates that you use the most, stack them so they’re easy to put away.

Style kitchen wall shelves with table linens

3. Add in Linens

Typically, we think of adding table linens to drawers, but we like to work them into our kitchen wall shelves too. With glasses, ceramics, and metals, it’s nice to bring soft goods into the mix. Here, we neatly folded linen napkins, then let just the corner of our placemats hang over the edge of the shelf.

Style kitchen wall shelves with rows of orderly glassware
4. Create Order

To keep your hutch from feeling too cluttered, symmetrically place items on a few of your shelves. We filled one entire shelf with mugs stacked in perfect straight lines and lined up glassware on another. For any set of shelves, you want to give your eye a place to rest, and tidy shelves help balance other more layered ones.

Style kitchen wall shelves with cookbooks5. Books

Cookbooks are a great way to bring color to your kitchen shelves. Stand up books with spines facing out, and stack books to bring height to favorite serving pieces. One of our favorite tricks is to flip to a favorite photograph or recipe and place it facing out to fill the back of your shelf with color.

What do you think? Do you feel confident about how to style your kitchen wall shelves?

Browse our tabletop pieces and serve ware. For more inspiration, check out the posts below:

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Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply


    February 24, 2020

    Help!! I have floating shelves in my kitchen and they aren’t wide enough to put stuff on I need suggestions!!
    Thank you!!!

    • Reply

      Abbey Nolte

      February 25, 2020

      Hi Amber,
      We have a team of interior designers who would love to help you figure out your decorating dilemma. Simply upload images of your room and your question here.

  2. Reply

    Tiffany mitchell

    June 20, 2019

    Id like to get some ideas or tips on how to decorate living room bookcases.i try to make it look non cluttery and elegant but am not having any luck..??

    • Reply

      Abbey Nolte

      June 21, 2019

      Hi Tiffany,
      We actually have a couple other posts on styling bookshelves here & here. Hope that helps!

  3. Reply

    Elisa Ledwon

    May 13, 2018

    Could you provide ideas for a china cabinet in a formal dining room?

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      May 14, 2018

      In terms of styling, I would follow all of these same suggestions for a formal dining room. If you’d like, go a little more symmetrical in a formal china cabinet, but overall, these tips apply to formal spaces as well!
      Happy Decorating,