Festive Christmas Kitchen Shelf Decor Ideas

The holiday season is a time for joy, family, and of course for all of us who enjoy decking the halls, festive Christmas decorations. And while your Christmas tree mantel, and entry often steal the show in the “holiday decorating department”, don’t forget to add some holiday sparkle, color and style to the shelves in your kitchen.

With a little creativity and some festive touches you can easily transform your open kitchen shelves to add a touch of holiday magic to your home.

I started to add seasonal decor to the open shelves in my kitchen earlier this year when I decorated the shelves for fall, while still keeping the functional ease to grab a plate or bowl when needed.

A mix of Christmas decor items styled on open shelves in a kitchen.

I liked the look of the styled shelves so much, I thought I would do something similar for the Christmas season. All the stacked plates and bowls we use on a daily basis are still easily accessible.

How to Style Your Kitchen Shelves for Christmas

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to decorating the shelves in any room, not just your kitchen for Christmas. So don’t be afraid to experiment and try using a mix of your favorite holiday items. The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the process!

Clear the Clutter – Before you start adding festive items to the shelves, it’s important to give your shelves a good clean and declutter. Mine were pretty dusty, especially the higher shelves that don’t have dishware that we use everyday. Take everything off and give the shelves a good cleaning.

Next, arrange the stacks of dishware, glasses or what you need on the shelves on a daily basis. If you find you have too many, consider storing the items that you won’t need for the season to make some room for the decorative items.

Once you have what you need on the shelves, then its time to start filling in the open spots. This will make it easier to visualize how your Christmas decor will look.

Red and and white DIY Christmas shelf decor in a kitchen with some accents of green.

Pick Your Palette or Theme – There are endless possibilities when it comes to holiday decorating color schemes and themes. You can go with the classic red, white and green like I did or go for a more elegant or sophisticated look. If you like lots of color, mix and match a colorful palette to create your own unique look.

Wooden Santa in red on shelf in kitchen.

With my grand kiddies coming for the holidays I decided to go with the traditional holiday color scheme of red and green with a mix of Christmas plaids and a focus on Santa.

I went through my Christmas decor stash and chose a few red and sparkly ornaments.

Resources: The painted wood Santa is from Hobby Lobby. I found the Santa candle holder at the thrift store, the plaid plates, mugs and white ceramic houses at HomeGoods.

A mix of Christmas decor items styled on open shelves in a kitchen.

Add a Touch of Greenery – Greenery is a must-have for any Christmas decor, and your open kitchen shelves are no exception. You can use fresh greenery, like pine boughs or rosemary, or faux greenery if you prefer. Just a few sprigs here and there will add a touch of festive cheer to your shelves.

3 white ceramic houses displayed on open shelving in a kitchen.

Add Some Lights – What’s Christmas without the glow of light? I added a few light-up white ceramic houses as an easy way to add a little glow to the shelves at night. The white ceramic houses are from HomeGoods.

I have also seen the white ceramic light up house at Crate & Barrel and a larger style at Target.

small lamp on kitchen counter with evergreen wreath, a glittered pinecone, and a red ball ornament surrounding it.

Under the shelves I have a small kitchen counter lamp accented with an evergreen wreath. When lit, it makes the kitchen feel very cozy. If you don’t have a small lamp on your kitchen counter I highly recommend it, not just for Christmas, but the all-year long as it gives the room an inviting ambiance.

If you want extra twinkle, add strings of battery-operated fairy lights along the shelves or in Mason jars or glasses for a festive glow.

Christmas card in red bowl on open shelf that says merry.

Add Your Personal Touch – This is where you can really get creative and make your shelves your own. Display your favorite Christmas ornaments, cookbooks, a special Christmas dish, or even frame a family photo from Christmases past.

The Merry Christmas card I found when I went through a bunch of old Christmas cards I had. I cut it down to size and placed it in a Picture Holder I made to display photos.

decorated shelves for Christmas using red, white and green color scheme.

I wanted to line the back of each shelf with plaid plates, but I only found 3 that would fit, most were dinner size plates which were too tall.

The snowman I made from gift wrap that I glued to cardstock and cut out. The holder for it, I linked above. I made it using wire and a lid from a glass canister.

decorating shelves for Christmas in a kitchen using traditional holiday colors.

So what did I do to get a few more plaid plates? I made a few by covering the center of a white salad plates with plaid gift wrap.

In the red and white Transferware pitcher, I placed a faux boxwood sprig, but you could add a handful of candy canes to add holiday cheer.

Diy Christmas shelf decor ideas for open kitchen shelves.

With a little creativity and a few holiday-related items you can easily transform your open kitchen shelves into a festive and inviting Christmas display.

Blogger of DIY Decorating blog Diane Henkler of In My Own Style

Additional Christmas Shelf Styling Tips:

  • Use a variety of textures to add interest to your shelves. For example, you could combine rough-hewn wooden pieces with delicate ornaments.
  • Don’t overcrowd your shelves. Leave some space between items so that your eye can wander.
  • Use different heights to create visual interest. You can do this by stacking items on top of each other or by using risers. For instance, use a stack of cookbooks or wrapped gift boxes as risers.
  • Mix and match old and new pieces. This can give your shelves a more eclectic and interesting look.
  • Group items in odd numbers to add a sense of balance that is pleasing to the eye to create more interesting displays.
  • To keep ball-style ornaments from rolling off the shelves, place them on a round key ring or a clear scarf ring.

More Christmas Shelf Decorating Ideas

In past years I only added a few items to the shelfs and focused on adding festive trim to the edges of each shelf.


One year I made Christmas Tree Paper Chains using Kraft paper and glitter to decorate the open shelves. I added a few silver ball ornaments tied to a few jingle bells so the ornaments stayed put and didn’t roll off.

Another year, I glued plaid gift wrap to the center of paper doilies to make Christmas Doily Shelf Trim to hang over the shelves.

When we first moved to the house I only added a few sprigs of greenery and ornaments to decorate the kitchen for the holidays.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to decorating your Christmas kitchen shelves.

Experiment and Have Fun!

Remember, your kitchen shelves or even bookshelves in any room are a blank canvas just waiting to be transformed into a festive and inviting Christmas display. So get creative, have fun, and enjoy the merriment of creating a festive home for the holidays.

White kitchen shelves decorated for Christmas. Text overlay says Christmas shelf styling ideas and tips.

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  1. Love the shelves decorated for Xmas and the kids 🎄. Truly magical ⭐️

  2. That all looks beautiful and festive. You have plenty of color to spread the Christmas cheer. I love all of it. It’s the inspiration I need to get started immediately after Thanksgiving!

  3. Looks wonderful, really like the picture holder, what a great idea! Do you have any source information for the darling red and white print mug? Would so appreciate knowing where you found it. Thanks for the cute ideas!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Julie – I got the read and white mug just last week at HomeGoods.

  4. Everything looks so nice! It’s very bright and cheerful!

  5. So pretty!! I just love it, very inspiring. Thank you for all of the good tips too!

  6. The houses are adorable! Can you share where you found them? I love what you did with the shelves and the tips you shared. You really have an eye for decorating and prove to us over and over again that it doesn’t have to be expensive. Happy holidays to you and yours!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Beth – I got the ceramic houses at HomeGoods. The large one is from Martha Stewart living. The others were sold as a set. All were very affordable.

  7. I love the classic red, green & white, so beautiful.

  8. Diane Vasti says:

    Absolutely beautiful. So festive! Where did you get the light up ceramic houses? I have been looking all over for them.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      I got the ceramic houses at HomeGoods. The large one is from Martha Stewart living. The others were sold as a set. All were very affordable.

      1. Diane Vasti says:

        I have been checking there but can’t find them. Did you get them recently?

        1. Diane Henkler says:

          Hi Diane – Yes I got the houses recently at HomeGoods in Destin Florida when I was there 2 weeks ago on vacation. You should also check TJMaxx and Marshalls as they carry the same items sometimes.

      2. Where did you find the lamp? It is exactly what I have been looking for? Your shelves are beautiful this year!

        1. Diane Henkler says:

          Hi Deb – I found the lamp a few years ago at a store near me called The Nested Fig. I wish I had a link for you. I am not sure they still carry it, but here is the link to the store. https://thenestedfig.com