The Best $30 You Can Spend on Your Kitchen Right Now

updated May 7, 2021
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(Image credit: Elissa Crowe)

When it comes to our kitchen cabinets, most of us are stuck with what we’ve got. Sure, if you own your place, you can do a full remodel — but even if you’re going the IKEA route, a renovation will easily cost you tens of thousands of dollars. And as anyone who’s ever done it knows, painting kitchen cabinets is an enormous pain.

Related: How Much Does It Really Cost to Get Kitchen Cabinets from IKEA?

But there is one thing you can do for your kitchen cabinets that will keep them clean, preserve them long-term, and make them look better, too. And it only costs about $30!

“I always, always install shelf liner on the bottoms of the cabinets,” says Tonia Tomlin of Sorted Out, which offers professional organization services for homes and businesses. I know, shelf paper is something your grandmother used and just doesn’t seem like something you need, but omlin swears you do: “If you spill something, you just wipe it clean. It protects your cabinets from stains and sticky stuff. And if you have a leak — even just spices sneaking out of your jars — the liner keeps it from getting into the cracks in the cabinetry.” Plus, even the most plain liner can dress up ugly or worn shelves.

Of course, the total project price will depend on how many cabinets or drawers you have. But you can always just do the roughest drawers or most-frequently used cabinets if you need to stick to a budget.

Which liners to buy? Tomlin has two favorites she uses again and again.

Credit: Target

1. Simple and Easy to Use

Her pick for ease of use is Con-Tact Brand Zip-n-Fit Shelf and Drawer Liner, about $10 for a four-foot roll. This clear liner (it comes in other colors, too) has perforated edges that make it easy to rip the perfect size (yes, without scissors!) to fit inside your cabinets or drawers. The liner wipes clean and is fairly unobtrusive, so it blends right in to your cabinets.

Buy: Con-Tact Brand Zip-N-Fit Shelf and Drawer Liner, $9.99 for a four-foot roll at Target

Credit: Chic Shelf Paper

2. Cute and Colorful

Tomlin’s pick to add some flair to your cabinets is Chic Shelf Paper. This company offers more than 400 designs, from traditional to trendy, in different weights of wipe-clean paper, and sells the paper in several different sizes, so you can buy as much as you need for a small or large project. They can even custom-cut the paper to your specs ahead of time.

Buy: Chic Shelf Paper, from $21 for a three-foot roll

Do you use shelf paper in your cabinets or drawers? If you do, what do you like about it? If you don’t, do you think you’ll start?