How to change up wire shelves for less than $10

How to change up wire shelves for less than $10

I am still working my way through the house purging, organizing, and cleaning.  I showed you the kitchen and pantry before/after pictures and some big changes in there.  Next on my list was the linen closet and I was excited about something specific I recently found that I knew would fix some big problems I had in there. 

Here’s our linen closet before…

How to change up wire shelves for less than $10

One of the things that I don’t like about our house is a lack of storage.  But I am thankful for this little closet.  I don’t actually store a lot of “linens” in here since towels are stored mostly in the bathrooms they are used in and can I just admit this…. I don’t have a second set of sheets for our bed!  I really do need to buy a second set but the entire time we have been married, I have only had one set – I just launder and put back on the same day.  I do have a second set for the guest room but I store them in a small bench/chest in there. 

So this closet is used for extra storage for other things – I like to keep a stock on hand of extra shampoo, hairspray, and all kinds of toiletry items.  I buy them when I have coupons for them and when they are on sale at 1/4-1/2 the price saving a lot of money in the end.  I always joke to my husband when he says he is out of shampoo or toothpaste, “I will run to the store and be right back” and go and get it out of the closet. 🙂

BUT wire shelves and bottles DON’T get along.  They fall over the place…

How to change up wire shelves for less than $10

and end up in the floor.

How to change up wire shelves for less than $10

So I recently saw a tip on covering wire shelves with foam board.  You know, the thicker foam board you find with poster boards in the store.

How to change up wire shelves for less than $10

I picked up 5 sheets of foam board for $1 each – you can find these at Wal-Mart, craft stores, even the dollar store.  I measured my shelves and then cut foam board to shape.

How to change up wire shelves for less than $10

And the little scrap left behind – don’t throw that out.  Cut a 2 inch strip the same length as the shelf.

How to change up wire shelves for less than $10

And use clear packing tape secure it and make it into a “L” shape. 

How to change up wire shelves for less than $10

Now you have not just a shelf liner, but a “faux” shelf cover!  You can stop there if you want but I chose to take it a step further. 

How to change up wire shelves for less than $10

I found this gray and white chevron contact paper at Wal-Mart.  If you can’t find it in the household/kitchen section – then look in the paint department.  I think it was like $4.97 for the roll.  So I spent $5 on the foam board and $5 for the contact paper and have over 1/2 the roll of contact paper left.

How to change up wire shelves for less than $10

I covered the top and front of my “shelf cover”.  I didn’t cover the bottom – but if you wish to do that you can.  Cut your contact paper with about an inch overlap to wrap and stick to back and if it doesn’t seem to be sticking well especially in corners – just use a bit of packing tape on the back to secure it down. 

Soooo much better!

How to change up wire shelves for less than $10

Of course after I had my cute looking shelf over in there I noticed that for some reason we never painted the closet before we moved in and a fresh coat of light gray paint sure would help too!   #whydoesonethingalwaysleadtoanother?? Winking smile

So I popped the wire shelves off the hooks in the back and did a quick coat of gray paint – seriously took like 20 minutes even with cutting in around clips, corners and edges.

How to change up wire shelves for less than $10

Look at that cute closet!!    Paint color is Silver Screen by Behr.

How to change up wire shelves for less than $10

Then it was time to purge, organize, and put things back.  A big bag went to trash, a pile of stuff went into the yard sale pile, and I added a few more bins and thrifted baskets to help organize things.

How to change up wire shelves for less than $10

Oh and the bottles – they stand up so nice!!  Perfectly in line, not falling over.  And the baskets and towels just slide right out with ease.  And if something was to spill or leak – a quick wipe with a damp sponge would clean it right up instead of it leaking all over everything on the shelves below.

How to change up wire shelves for less than $10

Here’s the before and after!

before + after linen closet

And my mini “store” of our shampoos, hairspray, contact solution, etc. 

How to change up wire shelves for less than $10

Oh and for those that ask what hair products I use for my curly hair – this is it!   My hair is naturally curly and I just get layers cut in it and use these products (a LOT of them!) and a diffuser attachment on my hair dryer to dry it. 

How to change up wire shelves for less than $10

This is my guest shelf – extra towels and  little basket that I move into the bathroom when they are here filled with more hand towels and washcloths and extra sample/travel-size toiletry type items they may have forgotten or need.    And now I could even tell a guest there are extra towels in the closet if they need them without them opening the door and an avalanche of bottles falling on their feet! Smile 

How to change up wire shelves for less than $10

$10 and about 2 hours of time… so worth it!  

How to change up wire shelves for less than $10

Do you have wire shelves in your home?  Love or hate them?  If this was our forever home, I would totally change all the closets out to wood shelves but I will save that for our next house.  Until then my “less than $10 chevron shelf covers” work perfectly!


  1. You are amazing and totally inspire me! Thanks for sharing.

    • Linda Stone says:

      Love what you did. When my daughter bought her home, I helped her with ‘shelving’ in the kitchen, which also had the wire shelving in the pantry. I also used the foam board from DT. A tip…you can get the paper cover off the foam board easily by wetting. Just hold over the kitchen sink and wet. After it is thoroughly wet, the paper peels right off. This makes cutting the board easier.

  2. Sandy Manning says:

    Oh my goodness. I always thought you were amazing but now you have graduated to a super genius! That looks fabulous!

  3. Totally impressed!

    Stay warm…

  4. How clever! Big impact for little $$$. Love it!

  5. Clever. Looks great.

  6. Very clever! I am starting to discover the wonders of foam core board. Dollar Tree store for supply. It’s also good to make custome fabric covered valances, and since it is so lightweight, you can use the removable velcro type hanger for it.

  7. Your closet looks great–organized and so modern! I have a little “store” of toiletries but mine isn’t as pretty as yours. I had been following your makeover of your master bedroom. Have you taken a break from working on it, I realize that its a huge job, but dearly love to follow your progress and challenges on it. I like that you keep it real and that its not smooth sailing all the time!

  8. Kelly Palmer says:

    This is absolutely brilliant Christina!! I don’t have any wire shelves in my home but my oldest daughter has a huge kitchen pantry with double bi-fold doors and it has wire shelving. Do you think the foam board would hold up alright in a pantry closet as well? Also I have seen the gray chevron contact paper in pictures online but haven’t been able to find it in an actual store yet. How smart of you to look in the paint section! If you think this would work in a pantry then I would love to send my daughter out for a few hours one day and surprise her with a pretty pantry make over 🙂 Thanks so very much for sharing!!!!

  9. Looks great, Christina. What a clever tip for wire shelving. Cheap and easy…my kind of diy. Thanks for sharing.
    Heather @ Thrifty Stories recently posted..My Top 10 Pregnancy Must-HavesMy Profile

  10. Awesome! I have some in my laundry room that could use this just to look better!


  11. This is pretty! I saw someone else do this in Youtube and loved it!
    Suzie@homemaker-mom recently posted..Pepperoni Flaky Tower SandwichMy Profile

  12. Great idea! Looks real nice and I like that items will stand up straight the way they’re supposed to.

  13. grammygoodwill says:

    This might be the best idea I’ve seen on a blog ever. I love the idea and I love how it looks. Fantastic!

  14. Beautiful job. Really like it and planning to do the same thing……soon.

  15. Love it! Will definitely be doing this to my shelves very soon… But can you share what you used to cut the foam board so neatly? Anything I’ve ever tried comes out uneven and crumbly and looks like a dog chewed it up! Thanks 🙂

  16. AWESOME!!!! I am going to do the EXACT same thing with our pantry! Found the idea on Pinterest. And, shout out to the Aussie Instant Freeze gel! It’s a curly girl’s styler for sure! I love that stuff! Thanks for sharing!

  17. I recently used leftover floor vinyl for my wire shelves. I like yours, and I like the idea for foam board for valances.

  18. Love the result! Great idea and your choice of contact paper is super “tony.” In the pantry, though, I notice you did not do this. Good call–crumbs can fall through the grid and makes it a lot easier to clean pantry shelves….

  19. This is just super idea. I have the same problem as you had, and I’m going to solve it at this very moment, thanks to this advice.
    Thanks for this super uselful advice
    Milena recently posted..$200 – $500 Coffee Grinder ReviewsMy Profile

  20. I was looking for a way to cover my wire shelving unit and came across this. I love how you did this. Thank you so much. I have my supplies and am looking forward to getting started….

  21. Love this idea! Thanks for sharing.
    Christina recently posted..BaklavaMy Profile

  22. Michaelina says:

    Beautiful makeover. After removing the wire shelving, spackling, and painting, I came across your idea. Would have saved so much time & money. Just another reason to Pinterest first!

  23. Oh my gracious- I LOVE this! I may try it in my pantry. I had shelf liner in there but the foam core board underneath would be very helpful. Thanks!

  24. Katherine says:

    I love you! I just moved into a house that has tons of these awful wire shelves. I am definitely going to use your idea. Thank you!

  25. I LOVE this idea! I also wanted to tell you a trick I’ve been using for the one spare sheet set I have. I store it between the mattress and box spring. If you fold it large and don’t just shove a tightly folded ball of sheets under there, it works well and you can’t even feel it. I hope this helps. You’ve definitely helped me with this shelf lining project.

  26. WOW!! What a great idea, and cheap too!! Can’t wait to try in my new house i’ll be moving into in September!!

  27. Genius!!! So simple but I would have never even thought of it!
    Tara recently posted..Big Boy Dining Room ChairMy Profile

  28. Joyce Brown-Stone says:

    I have wire shelves in my vacation condo and looked at premade shelf covers. The cost was high for just a small, pre cut section and I needed multiple sections, so I decided to not purchase them, hoping to find something cheaper. I was so happy to see this easy, DIY project that will save me so much money!

  29. Joanna Fox says:

    Can that poster board cover wire shelves in the freezer compartment of the fridge? If not, can you suggest something else, so I can stack an extra shelf.

  30. charmaine_sydney says:

    so smart to make the ugly covered! i have plenty of wire shelves….love to do the same!
    thank you!

  31. I DO have wire shelving and I HATE it! Well, I love the functionality. I just hate the way they look. I have been looking for ideas FOREVER. I knew there was a way to cover them, I just couldn’t think of one. This is PERFECT. Thank you SOOOO much. I can’t begin to explain what a pet peeve this has become for me. Now if you will excuse me, I have a trip to the store to make. Thanks again!

  32. This is possibly the most brilliant thing I’ve ever seen! Plus you’re my hero because all the closets and the pantry in our new house have the dreaded wire shelving. Hate it. Pinned, tweeted and share on fb!

  33. This is a great inexpensive spruce up project. I have a linen closet in the hallway that I’m going to try sprucing up during my staycation. It has wooden shelves and contact paper would brighten it up, along with painting the walls.

  34. Thanks for the idea. We bought the foam board and contact paper at the Dollar Tree and did our large pantry. Next on the list will be the linen closet and maybe a couple other closets. We didn’t go the extra mile and put the front piece on but it does a great job.

  35. I finally have the stuff and I am doing my walk in pantry today!

  36. I wish I could post a picture of my pantry-took me two days to get it done (it is 4 1/2′ x 5′ with shelving on three sides- 4 shelves high-each row took a whole roll of paper and 4 foam boards!) thank you for the idea!

  37. Love this idea and I am going to use it in all of our closets! Thank you!!!

  38. Thank you for the inspiration. It looks incredible! I wish I would have thought of this. Going to use this in all my closets.

  39. Jillian Eichel says:

    Wow, so glad I found this. I googled “how do I change my ugly wire shelves for something beautiful” and this came up. I hate my wire shelves (same as yours) and figured I “have” to keep them because they came with the condo that I now own — for the past 10 years! So, I’m excited to try this idea that costs little money and can redecorate them when I want a change of scene when I open my closets.

  40. Hello. Would like a lesson on how you cut the boards. ? Great job. Looks very neat.

  41. This is brilliant. I have wire shelf and created a hack for my food pantry. I put plexi glass on the shelves. This allowed light from outside the pantry to go through the plexi so that it did not become too dark in the back and not be able to tell the food items apart. For the linen closet I love the foamboard and contact paper idea. Thanks.

  42. Beth Pierce says:

    Now this is a truly helpful hint! Also, did you know that the paint color you used, “Silver Screen” by Behr, is the paint recommended if you want to paint a “theatre screen” on the wall rather than purchasing one? Just paint a rectangle using this paint directly on your wall and shine your projector on it. Home theatre, done!

  43. Love this! We just moved into a new house with these confounded wire shelves. Everything keeps falling over, especially in the pantry. I already have the contact paper, so I’m excited to try this idea out! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  44. William Wagner says:

    Thanks. I like to use Lexan, as it’s clear and lets light through, but the sheets are bulky and difficult to fit in a car. This is a great idea. I saw people selling shelf covering systems that were costing more than the shelving units. No way was I doing that.

  45. This is BRILLIANT! I’ll be doing this on the weekend. 🙂

  46. I did the board to cover the shelves several years ago, but didn’t cover them. Love this
    idea. So net. Thanks.

  47. No issues with the foam board crushing? Another option is 1/4″ plywood. It can be painted for people who like the white look, or oak can be stained.

  48. This is exactly the fix I was looking for! My daughter just moved into an apartment & we’ve been trying to figure out an inexpensive, removable “fix” for the exposed wire shelving in the bathroom. Thank you for the inspiration! We’ll be doing this next week! 🙂

  49. We have the same kind of linen closet in our house, and similar wire shelves in other closets.

    Good idea! And they look so nice. You did a good job.

  50. Love this. Thank you.


  52. Hello
    I loved your idea, and this was exactly what I was looking for. Thank you so much.

  53. You are a GENIUS! I Like the idea. I want to see if i can repurpose a wire shelfing system (like this into a closed off closet! any suggestions? Ikea sells wardrobe doors separately, but getting the hinges into the wire would be problem! also, i need only 5 feet tall, not 6.

    still needs inspiration! you got me halfway there!

  54. I am in my forever home and for my main rooms (master bed and bath, kitchen pantry, etc.) I am going to change my wire shelves to wood. However for my spare bathrooms and laundry closets I am totally going this route. Plus no waiting on my boyfriend to get out the saw like other methods on Pintrest! So excited, thanks!

  55. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have been searching for a way to improve my wire racks which annoy me so much. I appreciate the time you took to share this.

  56. Hi! I’m curious how the foam board have held up. I found this post about 4 years from when it was originally published, so I would like to know if they held out before I try.
    Thanks for the feedback!


  1. […] Change those wire shelves into something a little more sturdy. You’ll be surprised how easy this transformation […]

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.