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How to Make Backdrops for Open Kitchen Shelves

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Creating open shelving in a kitchen is a great way to display your favorite dinnerware, collections, cookbooks and more on the shelves. Don’t stop by styling shelves with objects only. You can create more impact when you add colorful backdrops to the shelves.

Making bookcase or shelf backdrops to include when styling a shelf is an easy and very budget friendly decorating idea you can do in about 30 minutes with a few simple supplies.

Kitchen decorating idea. How to swap out the backdrop color on open kitchen shelves to change the look or for the season on special occasion.

After I repainted my kitchen cabinets and started to put the room back together again, I realized I needed to come up with some open shelving ideas so I could find a place for this…White-bowl-bought-in-a-thrift-shop

A large ceramic mixing bowl with a handle and spout. I could not pass it up when I saw it at the thrift store. It was only $3.90. 

I did have a problem with it though – I had no place to put it. I didn’t want to hide it behind a cabinet door, I wanted to display it.

I thought about removing a few cabinet doors to create open kitchen shelving that is popular now, but I didn’t have the cabinet space to spare.

kitchen baskets on open shelves in kitchen

Then I laughed at myself when I realized that I already had open shelves in my kitchen – the shelves where I have had baskets for the past 12 years.  I decided to see if the bowl would fit if I removed the baskets.

open shelving ideas for kitchens

It did fit – just barely, I liked it.


I am not afraid to act on my instincts and decided to make a change.

Leaving the inside of the shelves white would just make the white bowl disappear.


I went into my “retail display” mode to create colorful backdrops out of foam core boards for the shelves so the white bowl and other white items would pop when placed in front of the backdrop.

Decorating-with-color from the dollar store

Making foam core or corrugated cardboard backdrops is super easy – I made two sets of backdrops so that I could easily change the color on a whim or for the season.

One set in blue, the other orange.


Change is one of the reasons I like to decorate with white or neutral colors for walls. It makes it easy to change the colors of my decorative accessories.

How to Make Foam Core Open Shelf Backdrops

supplies needed:

  • Foam Core Boards – I buy them at The Dollar Tree.  You can also get thin plywood cut at the home improvement store.
  • Bead board wall paper, gift wrap, wallpaper, fabric, or paint. I used Orange paint and bead board wallpaper.  The blue color is gift wrap.
  • Spray glue
  • Mailing or duct tape
  • Ruler and Craft knife
  • Pencil

1. Measure the back of each shelf:  width and height.  Cut foam core or plywood to these measurements making the board slightly smaller so it will fit in the shelf after you wrap the paper or fabric around it.


2.  If foam core boards are slightly warped, pile a few books on them overnight to flatten. Once flat, attach the paper with spray glue.


3.  If using bead board wallpaper. Paint it and let it dry before attaching to the cut foam core. If you paint it on the foam board the moisture in the paint will loosen the spray glue.

4.  Wrap the excess paper to back of the foam board and use mailing or duct tape to secure.

5. Place in shelf. If it is a tight fit and you want to remove it, wedge a spatula behind one edge so you can grab it to remove.


The colorful orange backdrop makes the white mixing bowl pop.


In the fall it can be orange…


Presto-Change-o!  It is blue for the summer.


I still love the baskets that used to be on the shelves and moved them to a hanging cubbie my mini mudroom.


I covered the cabinet door with black and white fabric to make it into a memo board.

You can find out how to make one yourself in this post:

One Yard Decor: Inset Cabinet Door Memo Board

Is there open shelving or a bookcase in your home that would look nice with an easy and budget friendly color swap?

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  1. Diane your home is so lovely. I always enjoy my visits to your blog. The pop of color on the open shelves is wonderful and vibrant! I think I could use a pop of color in my laundry room. xo

    1. Hi Kathy – I don’t even like to cook, but I love Ina Garten and her cookbooks. As you noticed they are my colors – I think that is why I buy them – for the colors and to have a bit of her style around me. They used to be in a cabinet, but I like seeing them displayed now. Why have all those yummy colors hidden away? Who knows I may even use them to cook more now. :)

  2. What a great, great idea. Love the orange pop of color for Fall…and I love the light blue, too. I really need to get at my laundry room and do a switcheroo there! xo Diana