Is Expensive Shelf Liner Worth the Extra Cost?
You all know that one of my favorite details in any organization or furniture makeover project is to line the shelves/drawers with pretty paper. Not only do I love the pop of playful pattern I get to see every time I open a unit; but I also like that shelf liners provide a durable, wipeable surface that is easy to clean, keeping our (rental) features and furniture free from scratches and dents. I’ve used pretty much everything to line cabinets and drawers, including inexpensive contact papers, wrapping paper, and wallpaper. Since we move so much and I am constantly changing my mind on how I want things to look, I typically don’t like to spend a lot of money or time on such projects. But when I recently discovered Chic Shelf Paper and fell in love with one of their patterns, I found myself wondering “Is expensive shelf liner worth the extra cost?” I set about to find out; and in short, my answer is “yes!” but I’m guessing you’d like to know why!
One of my all-time favorite furniture makeovers is the china hutch we transformed into a media cabinet…
The outside of this piece is simple and classic; but at the time, I chose to line the shelves and back of the lower cabinets with this quite modern, abstract, and (dare I say) ugly shelf liner I found at TJMaxx. I never really liked the paper that much and always knew someday I’d re-paper the inside with something more to my style and liking.
In HomeGoods recently, I stumbled upon four matching boxes (which never happens!) that were perfect for holding most of what we store inside this cabinet (e.g., candles, movie sets, Wii components, etc). The size, colors and pattern of the boxes were perfect. What was not so perfect? How they worked with the hex shelf liner. Suddenly re-papering the inside of this cabinet became a priority.
I had a really, really hard time finding a patterned paper that worked with the new storage boxes. I really wanted something that was chic yet playful but not too busy with the stripes on the boxes. I scoured wrapping paper selections and peel-and-stick wallpaper sites, and just couldn’t find something I liked. When I came across Chic Shelf Papers on the recommendation of a friend and found this Scallops pattern in the Whipped color scheme, I had a hunch it might work. After ordering a free sample of the Fine Weave Fabric option (you can read more about the various paper options here), I was confident I had a match in both color, scale, and design; and I was truly impressed with the texture and durability of the paper! But I was still hesitant to order. At just over $100 for the amount of paper I needed for the project, would it be worth it?
I decided to reach out to Chic Shelf Papers in hopes that they’d allow me to test their product so I could share my results with you. And how lucky for all of us that they said yes! I literally couldn’t wait to put their paper to the test, and boy did I! This project was not exactly a “simple” papering job, but the results turned out so, so great. I am genuinely impressed with this shelf liner…and for certain projects and circumstances, I highly recommend it. Here’s why!
I wish computer technology was advanced enough to allow you to touch this Fine Weave Fabric liner. It’s not your simple roll of sticky paper from Walmart that tears with your fingernail. It’s thick, very durable, and slightly textured. It actually reminds me a lot of the woven peel-and-stick wallpaper from Spoonflower which I’ve worked with on a bunch of different surfaces (dresser, stool, lamps). In fact, if you’re looking for an alternative to peel-and-stick wallpaper, this shelf paper would be great on a kitchen backsplash, bathroom wall, or on tables/shelves in a kids’ play space!
This added thickness, durability, and sturdiness not only makes it ideal for surfaces that may get a lot of wear-and-tear, but it also makes completing a tricky papering job like this one so.much.easier! Let me show you what I mean.
This cabinet is about 60+ inches wide, and I really wanted to paper it all in one stretch (horizontally) so I didn’t have to match any seams. That means I needed to wrangle a 24″ tall by 60″ wide sheet of paper in and around doors, posts, a shelf, and a ridge along the back. I had to push, pull, twist, and bend this paper over and over and over to get it into the right spot. It was creased, it was pulled on and off the cabinet countless times, and it even stuck to itself (sticky sides together) on occasion…
…but despite all the tugging and pulling, I was able to smooth down each and every inch throughout the cabinet to achieve a perfect surface! That added weight and durability really allow you to work with it yet still end up with perfectly smooth results!
GREAT FOR BEGINNERS
If you’re new to lining shelves and drawers or the thought of working with huge, sticky sheets of paper in tight spaces gives you the willies, then this might be the paper for you! #saywhat? Usually, I recommend starting with inexpensive products to get the hang of a new (and often exasperating!) technique. But in this case, cheap, poor-quality contact papers can make your job even tougher because they rip, wrinkle and bubble so much easier than higher quality papers. I’ve had to throw sheets of inexpensive paper out because it sticks to itself and I can’t get it unstuck, or I pull it out of the drawer because the bubbles are so bad, or all the stick is gone after the first application and I can’t reposition it. You will be able to remove and reapply this paper several times before you see any changes in the adhesive, allowing you to eventually get the perfect alignment and bubble-free application you’re likely desiring.
Did you catch that when I said I worked with a 24″ tall stretch of shelf liner? Yep! In case you’re not too savvy on shelf liner sizes, that’s much taller than most standard rolls (most are 18-20″). This added height allowed me to fully paper the inside of the cabinet without having to order lots of extra length just to get the necessary depth.
In addition to wider lengths of paper, they also offer sheets cut to sizes of most standard drawers, as well as custom measurements. If you don’t have the time or willingness to wrestle with a roll of paper, the pre-cut sheets are a pretty cool option whether you’re lining a drawer or cabinet or using the papers for another small DIY project! In my experience, I’ve found a rotary cutter and clear ruler work best when cutting things like this.
PICK THE PAPER FOR YOUR PROJECT
One of the coolest things about Chic Shelf Papers is they carry several different types of liner types. Every one of their 400 patterns is available in three different finishes. The Laminated Vinyl will look and feel more like a standard contact paper. It’s a little less expensive and is great for kitchens and bathrooms. The Fine Weave Fabric (which is what I used here) has a thicker, more durable texture. It’s more expensive, but it’s ideal for furniture projects like this one. Finally, they have Matte paper, which has no adhesive. This paper would be great to line drawers or even do small craft projects with! You can read more about the different textures here.
Admittedly, there is a reason I used this paper on a cabinet that is ours’ and will move with us over and over again rather than on the insides of drawers in a rental home that we would either have to trash or leave behind. This stuff is designed to last, so it’s a great investment for a forever home or as the finishing touch on a furniture makeover that you’ve lovingly slaved away on. If you are looking for something that will last without tearing, fading, curling or wearing away, this kind of paper would be a worthy investment. That said, if you’re a renter or someone who changes their design whims frequently, sticking to more budget-friendly papers is probably a better bet!
I genuinely loved working with this paper, and I would absolutely use it again on future projects…especially furniture makeover projects or even wall/home DIYs like a fireplace surround, kitchen backsplash, and furniture surfaces. I love that when we open our media cabinet, not only is it nice and organized (see our movie boxes here), but the beautiful paper adds a lovely detail that makes my heart extra happy.
Have you ever worked with a really high-quality shelf liner before? Did you notice a similar difference compared to standard, less expensive options? What type of project would you use such beautiful and durable paper on? I’d love to hear in the comments!
I hope enjoyed seeing this long-overdue furniture update and learning more about various shelf liner options! See you back here on Tuesday!
I did not receive compensation for this blog post; however Chic Shelf Paper did provide the Fine Weave Fabric shelf liner seen in this post for my use and review. Please remember that I only work with brands and products I fully support and that make sense for my home, my family, and this blog. All opinions are 100% my own!