May 22, 2023
The 10 Best Shelf Liners of 2023
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Real Simple / David Hattan
Spills and messes are unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean you have to ruin your cabinets and drawers. Shelf liners can protect your shelves from scratches, stains, and more—and that's not all they can do.
Shelf liners are also “easy to clean, and they create a flat surface where there otherwise wouldn't be one (specifically on wire or ventilated shelving),” says Alysha Fenn, founder and CEO of Making Space Today. Plus, she adds that they “add color or design to an otherwise visually bland space.”
To find the best shelf liners on the market, we researched top options while considering type, material, price, patterns, adhesive, and more. We also spoke with Fenn about what to look for when shopping for shelf liners and how to keep them clean.
It comes in eight unique colors and patterns and is machine-washable.
The rolls are only available in one width.
For a reliable and top-quality shelf liner that can be used for multiple purposes, consider our top pick from Drymate. The liner, which comes in a pack of two, is non-adhesive, absorbent, and slip-resistant, not to mention machine-washable and quick to dry when it’s time for a rinse.
This liner is suitable for all cabinets and cupboards, with its versatile design that keeps your shelves spick and span. The waterproof polyester wicks away moisture and stops liquids from soaking through (therefore preventing damage), and its backing stays firmly in place without sliding. Plus, you can cut it to size with scissors, so you can be sure it fits any drawer perfectly. The liner also comes in eight colors and patterns, including charcoal, taupe diamond squares, and indigo swirls.
You might need to stock up on a few of these rolls to cover all your drawers, cabinets, and cupboards, as there is only one width available. Still, there’s so much to like about this effective shelf liner.
Price at time of publish: $28 for 2-pack
Type: Non-adhesive | Material: Polyester | Dimensions: 59 x 12 inches
This waterproof shelf liner is super durable.
It can be tricky to adhere the liner without bubbles or creases.
If you want a shelf liner that can stick to any surface, opt for this top-rated self-adhesive option from Con-Tact. To use the paper liner, cut the amount you need using the grid, peel off the backing, and stick it onto the drawer—it adheres immediately, and the backing is removable if you need to reposition the liner.
Additionally, this liner is waterproof and durable, ensuring you get plenty of use out of it. You can use it to cover shelves, drawers, counters, or less conventional areas like lampshades or frames. Since there are a whopping 45 color and pattern options, you can find a few varieties that fit your style and decor.
Although the liner is easy to cut, you can choose from several sizes to ensure it fits your spaces perfectly. And when the liner gets dirty, you can easily clean it with a sponge or replace it with another pattern to mix things up. Just be sure that when you apply the liner, you work slowly to avoid bubbles or creases.
Price at time of publish: From $13
Type: Self-adhesive | Material: Paper | Dimensions: 18 x 9 inches, 18 x 20 inches, 18 x 60 inches
It’s moisture-absorbent and beautifully designed for an elegant finish.
It’s pricey for just one roll.
For a non-adhesive shelf liner with a stylish design, consider this beautiful cork liner from Williams Sonoma. The unique material makes the liner extra absorbent, mold-resistant, and soft, making it ideal for kitchen drawers. It comes in a thin yet flexible sheet that you can easily trim with scissors to fit your cupboards and cabinets.
This cushioned liner protects your drawers from spills and stains, absorbs moisture (a must-have for glassware), and stays flat and steady to prevent items from sliding around. While you can’t throw it in the laundry machine when it gets dirty, you can wipe it clean with a cloth before letting it air dry and returning it to the drawer.
This isn’t the cheapest shelf liner, especially for just one roll, but if you want a high-quality liner with an elegant look, you can’t go wrong with this pick.
Price at time of publish: $25
Type: Self-adhesive | Material: Cork | Dimensions: 12 x 17.5 inches
These uniquely patterned liners have a cushioned grip backing.
People with narrow cabinets may have odd-shaped trimmings left over.
These non-adhesive shelf liners from Con-Tact come in a large assortment of colors and patterns that add flair to your drawers, including khaki squares, blue and white swirls, yellow and white zigzags, and more.
This liner isn’t just fun to look at, though. It’s also waterproof and durable, with a cushioned grip backing that helps it stay in place, even without adhesives. You can cut the vinyl material into whatever size and shape you need, and since the package comes with four rolls, you won’t need to repurchase any time soon. Plus, the liner is stain-resistant and washable; just take a damp cloth and soap to clean it before letting it air dry.
Price at time of publish: $14
Type: Non-adhesive | Material: Plastic | Dimensions: 8 x 18 inches
The Container Store
It’s available in many lengths and depths, and is quite sturdy.
Measuring and cutting the material can be tricky.
If you don’t want your shelf liner getting more attention than the items themselves, you might want to opt for a clear option, like this pick from The Container Store. The translucent liner provides an understated barrier while protecting your drawers from spills and stains.
This shelf liner is ideal for wire shelves, but can also be used on other shelves and drawers. It comes in various lengths and depths, so you can find options that work for your set-up and cut if needed—just note that the material makes trimming a bit more time-consuming. But since the liner is so thin, you can easily combine multiple layers to cover the length of a shelf or drawer. Despite its thinness, this liner is sturdy, helping to keep items stable and organized.
Price at time of publish: From $6
Type: Non-adhesive | Material: Polypropylene | Dimensions: 9 sizes ranging from 12 x 18 inches to 20 x 36 inches
The material is very breathable and comes in 23 colors.
The corners aren’t square, which makes cutting difficult.
With shelf liners, it’s crucial that they stay in place and don’t move around when you pull items out. This pick from Gorilla Grip has impressive gripping technology that keeps the liner firmly stuck to the drawer and prevents items from moving, without the hassle of an adhesive backing. When you need to remove the liner for cleaning (soap and a cloth are all you need), you can do so without the risk of tearing it or leaving residue behind.
This thick, durable liner isn’t just sturdy, it’s also pretty to look at, with a range of 23 colors and patterns, from white chevron to hunter green. The material is breathable and reversible, with an open grid construction that makes it easier to clean and prevent debris from accumulating.
To trim the liner into the shape and size you need, all you need is a pair of scissors—but be warned that it can be difficult to keep even lines because the corners aren’t square. All in all, this is a high-quality liner that makes a big difference in your home.
Price at time of publish: From $17
Type: Non-adhesive | Material: Grip | Dimensions: 12 sizes ranging from 1 x 10 feet to 2 x 30 feet
The Container Store
It’s cushioned and keeps clothes and linens in mint condition.
The liner is only available in one colorway.
Shelf liners aren’t only for kitchen drawers—they also keep clothing safe and secure in closets and dressers. For clothing storage, we love the Grey Fabric-Top Drawer Liners from The Container Store. The elegant fabric liner is soft and thick, making it ideal for cushioning clothes or linens.
The liner is non-adhesive, with a grippy backing that prevents sliding and stays firmly on the surface. You can cut the liner to fit your drawer’s specifications, and the roll comes with enough material to extend its use into your linen closet, kitchen, and bathroom too. The design of this liner is a neutral pattern, so it can go with practically any decor style. It’s also easy to clean—just wipe it down occasionally with a cloth and soap.
Price at time of publish: $15
Type: Non-adhesive | Material: Fabric | Dimensions: 48 x 18 inches
It has a smooth top ideal for sliding out dishes and glasses.
It’s not as thick or elegant-looking as other options.
If you want shelf liners to protect your pantry shelves, opt for these Duck Smooth Liners, which keep your drawers safe from spills, crumbs, and other messes that accumulate with time.
This non-adhesive liner is ideal for pantry shelves due to its smooth top, which allows dishes and glassware to easily slide on and off without the risk of them falling or becoming disorganized. The liner is machine washable, too, making for a super simple cleaning process, and it comes in four color and pattern options: black quatrefoil, grey polka dot, taupe, and a basic white. You can choose from seven sizes and cut the liner as needed.
While these liners aren’t the thickest or the prettiest shelf liner on our list, they will keep your pantry cabinets in top shape no matter what items you put in those drawers or how often you use them.
Price at time of publish: From $30 for 2-pack
Type: Non-adhesive | Material: Fabric | Dimensions: 1.7 x 24 feet, 1 x 20 feet
It comes with locking tabs to help it stay in place on your shelves.
The locks don’t work with every shelf type, and there’s only one color available.
Whether you have wire shelves in your closet, pantry, or bathroom, the ClosetMaid Shelf Liner Roll makes the most of your shelving. This non-adhesive, plastic liner prevents items like shoes or condiments from falling through the wires or knocking over other items while giving your shelves a seamless look by covering up the wires.
This liner is made from heavy-duty plastic that’s durable, thick, and easy to install, thanks to its included locking tabs that keep it securely in place. It comes in two size options (albeit just one color, a classic white). While it’s not machine washable, you can keep it clean with just soap and a damp cloth.
Its only downside is that the locks won’t fit every shelf, so you might want to add an adhesive to ensure the liner doesn’t move around. Otherwise, this liner is a great pick to keep your items secure on wire shelves.
Price at time of publish: $17
Type: Non-adhesive | Material: Plastic | Dimensions: 1 x 10 feet
It has a fun, fitting design and is machine-washable for easy cleaning.
It’s not as grippy as some other liners.
We love these cute, unique liners, which feature illustrations of fruits and vegetables and fitting words like “crisp”, “fresh”, and “crunchy”, among others. You can get the design in a subtle gray or a bright green. The adorable design is perfect for your fridge, but you can also put it in your pantry, kitchen drawers, or bathroom.
This non-adhesive liner comes in a pack of six and is cushioned to support your items. You can easily cut it to any size and shape for a tailored finish that perfectly fits your refrigerator. Best of all, the liner is machine washable, so it’ll take minimal time and effort to keep it clean, which is essentially essential when food is stored atop it.
This isn’t the grippiest liner on our list, so you might need an extra adhesive to keep everything in place. But it is great for adding some vibrancy to a fridge while protecting your drawers from spills and stains.
Price at time of publish: $17 for 6-pack
Type: Non-adhesive | Material: Grip | Dimensions: 12 x 24 inches
Our top pick is the Drymate Premium Luxury Shelf & Drawer Liner, which we love for its above-average absorbency, multiple color options, and machine washability, among other factors. If you want an adhesive option that won’t budge, opt for the Con-Tact Brand Creative Covering Color—it comes in 45 colors and patterns to add a pop of color and vibrancy to your drawers, shelves, and cabinets.
Shelf liners fall into two categories: adhesive and non-adhesive. Adhesive shelf liners have a sticky backing and tend to stay in place more firmly, but aren’t reusable and may have other downfalls. “Removing liner from a painted surface can often remove the paint and/or damage the material of the shelf it's on, and it can be tricky to ensure the lining lays perfectly straight in the drawer or on the shelf and without any air bubbles,” says Alysha Fenn, founder and CEO of Making Space Today.
Non-adhesive liners, however, are reusable, simple to clean, and “easy to relocate to a different space and/or be swapped out for a different material or pattern,” says Fenn. Still, they aren’t as grippy as adhesive liners, and “if you're sliding things around on the shelf or sliding when pulling things out, the liner might move around or get caught under what you're pulling out.” Non-adhesive liners are often easier to cut, too, which is important if you buy a liner that’s not the right size and shape for your drawer or cabinet and you need to trim it.
Shelf liners come in various materials, including plastic, polypropylene, fabric, and foam, according to Fenn. Plastic and polypropylene liners are easy to keep clean but may be harder to cut than other materials. Grip and foam liners are more difficult to clean but are effective at staying in place, while fabric and cork liners are often the most visually attractive (cork is moisture-resistant, too).
You can use shelf liners in kitchens, pantries, bathrooms, closets, and more, but the liner you choose should suit the space you have in mind. “You'll want to ensure any liner used in a kitchen is BPA-free and water resistant,” says Fenn, since there’s a greater chance of moisture seeping through. And for any shelves where you need to slide items in and out, she suggests a non-grip liner, since you don’t want to damage your drawers with frequent movement. Lastly, opt for cushioned shelf liners for your closet—they provide extra support for long-lasting garments.
Shelf liners can protect your cabinets and drawers, prevent smaller items from falling through the cracks, and keep items in place rather than moving around freely. Still, “they're not necessary if your surface is already smooth and easy to clean, or if you have products in the drawer/on the shelf that will catch any spills and stains,” says Fenn.
“Depending on the material and location, they can last years and years,” says Fenn. To ensure that you get the most use out of your shelf liner, clean it from time to time to rid it of stains, crumbs, and more. Just check the instructions first; some liners are machine-washable and can go straight into the laundry, while others require hand-washing with soap and a damp cloth.
You shouldn't use a shelf liner on any surface or material that gets hot. Depending on the material, heat can cause damage and melting, according to Fenn. Otherwise, shelf liners are safe to use on most surfaces.
This article was written by Rachel Simon, a writer for Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, The New York Times, and many other publications. To write this article, she researched popular shelf liners and judged them based on type, material, dimensions, and more. She also spoke to Alysha Fenn, founder and CEO of Making Space Today, for expert advice.Price at time of publish: $28 for 2-packType: Material: Dimensions: Price at time of publish: From $13Type: Material: Dimensions: Price at time of publish: $25Type: Material: Dimensions: Price at time of publish: $14Type: Material: Dimensions: Price at time of publish: From $6Type: Material: Dimensions: Price at time of publish: From $17Type: Material: Dimensions: Price at time of publish: $15Type: Material: Dimensions: Price at time of publish: From $30 for 2-packType: Material: Dimensions: Price at time of publish: $17Type: Material: Dimensions: Price at time of publish: $17 for 6-packType: Material: Dimensions: