The Best Shelf Paper for Drawers

Updated February 21, 2017

Your drawers' interiors are somewhat secret places. While the driving force behind lining them with shelf paper is usually functionality, the process also creates an opportunity for hidden customisation and self-expression. Use practical, colourful or textured shelf paper to add some joy to these normally utilitarian spaces.

Removable Liners

Adhesive backed shelf papers can cause about as many problems as they solve. Their sticky surfaces are tricky to apply, the adhesive can off-gas fumes into your drawers and some pests, such as cockroaches, enjoy feasting on the glue. Over time, the adhesive can become so firmly attached to your drawer's surface that the attached paper is nearly impossible to remove and leaves behind a damaged, sticky residue-covered drawer. Removable liners, while often a pricier option, avoid these issues and allow you to change your shelf paper at your whim or bring them with you if you move.

Nonslip and Grip Liners

The less objects that roll around inside your drawers, the easier keeping your drawers organised will be. Look for removable shelf papers with flattened ridges or ribs instead of the spongy popcorn texture, which tends to shift. The flatter surface grips better to the drawer's bottom and provides a more stable surface for resting objects. If you'd rather use a completely flat surface, opt for cork shelf liner. Cork is mildew resistant, soft, and, like ridged shelf paper, grips well on both sides.

Eco-friendly, Budget-friendly Options

If your decorating budget is limited to more visible improvements, you don't need to forsake lining your shelves. Line your shelves with paper or fabric you have available from other projects as long as the leftover material is large enough, water resistant and wipes clean. Fabrics up to the task include oil cloth, sturdy felt and general outdoor fabrics. If you're lining a drawer to protect the contents from the acid emitted by wood, only use leftover papers and materials you're sure are acid-free, or you increase the risk of acid damage to your drawers' contents. Use a small square of acid-free, double-sided tape to hold your DIY liner in place at the corners.

No Shelf Paper

Shelf paper protects wooden shelves' unfinished porous or chipable painted surfaces from damage such as moisture, bacteria and staining. Most new shelves are constructed from sealed wood, particle board or medium-density fiberboard (MDF). These construction materials, especially when covered by a laminate surface, aren't as porous as unfinished wood and are wipeable, which makes installing shelf paper unnecessary.

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About the Author

Katherine Harder kicked off her writing career in 1999 in the San Antonio magazine "Xeriscapes." She's since worked many freelance gigs. Harder also ghostwrites for blogs and websites. She is the proud owner of a (surprisingly useful) Bachelor of Arts in English from Texas State University.