DIY Copper Shelves for the Kitchen


Open shelving in kitchen made with copper sheeting

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Update: the tutorial for making the shelves is here.

Hey! We finally finished these shelves!

When we last left the kitchen–nearly a month ago!–I talked about how we finally took down the weird and terrible corner cabinet that was hanging out smack in the middle of our kitchen:

….and I mysteriously referenced a super secret open shelving project we had in the works.

It took a lot longer to come together than we’d planned, but now they’re done and ready to be revealed to the world: copper! beautiful, shiny copper! Is what the big secret plan was all along. Like for many months, in fact–way before we ever took down the cabinet.

Today I’m just showing off how pretty and shiny and full of owls they are; I’ll be back next week with a tutorial and some handy learn from our mistakes type tips.

I know open shelves in a kitchen are a controversial choice. But once we decided to take down the awful cabinet, we really didn’t have much choice in the matter, so we didn’t spend a lot of time debating the merits of them. We wouldn’t know where to begin to track down a matching (non-corner) cabinet, so it was either shelves or a big patch of empty wall. I love the way shelves look in a kitchen, though, so I’m willing to take a chance and find out if they work well for us practically speaking.

Anyway, ANYTHING is more practical than an ugly cabinet that regularly gives guests concussions.

The very, very short version of the tutorial that I’ll be writing for next week is that we took mdf boards, painted the ends black, and wrapped them in copper sheeting.

The colors and wood tones in this kitchen are not what I probably would have picked, but they’ve definitely grown on me over time. I still don’t love the speckly granite, and the tile is a little….tan for my tastes. But I’m really into the light wood of the cabinets after living with them for a few years, and the tile and counter tops are far from terrible and they’re good quality stuff….I’m definitely not ready to tear them out. So I’ve been getting a good feel, over time, for how to work with the colors in here while still having it flow with the (blue, blue, and more blue) that I prefer in the rest of the house).

Gold and brass are usually my metals of choice these days, but I felt like copper would work much better in this space. Fortunately, I also love copper, but it’s never seemed quite right when I’ve considered it for other parts of the house. So this was my chance to finally get some copper in my life.

And here they are, unadorned!

copper shelves

Then I put owl things on them. Also other things. The bottom shelf has the smaller plates and bowls that we use every day on it, and the higher up, harder to reach shelves have some less frequently used serving pieces. And, you know, things that look pretty.

diy copper shelves for the kitchen

Like I finally have a place to show off the matroyshka measuring cups one of the kids got me for Christmas over a year ago. And of course my hedgehog:


So many owls! Plus a couple of mortar and pestles; I thought some wood would break up all the metal and porcelain that was going on here. The squirrel butter dish was a housewarming gift (from Target) from my friend Kristi. The owl serving bowls came from Tuesday Morning awhile back. The salt and pepper shakers were a Christmas gift from my mom (I think they came from TJ Maxx or Homegoods).


I love the way our turquoise Ikea dishes look with the copper, along with the green/turquoise shades in the pitcher up top (a wedding gift from a friend of Dave’s family. There was a big matching bowl, but it met with a kid and broke years ago. The pitcher ought to be safe up there!)


On the counter below is my fox cookie jar (another gift–this one from my friend Tracy, and also from Target) and some copper canisters that were a thrift find awhile back:

copper shelves in kitchen


There were some tense moments with these shelves, but I’m so happy with how they turned out, and SO glad the weird and dangerous cabinet is gone.





kitchen with copper shelving

Happy weekend! Back with a tutorial next week!

Linking with:

Link Party Palooza at I Heart Naptime

May Before and After at Thrifty Decor Chick




DIY Copper Shelves for the Kitchen — 42 Comments

      • Hey Gretchen, a little late to the party, but – if you’re still in need of the salt and pepper shaker, I bought multiple on target clearance and still have one.

        • really? that is an extremely tempting offer, but I’m trying to be in a decluttering kind of phase these days, and I already have more salt and pepper shakers than I can use 🙁 but thanks!

  1. love the shelves and i love all of your accessories on them! i want them all! 🙂 i have the cookie jar, but i need the butter dish. my white deer one is lonely.

  2. Love how they turned out! They seem really reflective. Weird question but have they made the kitchen feel brighter?

    • The after picture looks brighter because I took the picture with the overhead lights off…those lights really bring out the orangey tones in the wood. I should probably look into some different light bulbs. But the room doesn’t get a ton of natural light since it’s adjacent to the sunroom, so they usually need to be on. Anyway….so I don’t know if it really makes the room look brighter, generally speaking. but definitely less closed off!

  3. Pingback: Great Ideas -- 20 Home DIY Projects!

  4. All looks great. Have you ever thought of painting that bit of wall at end of “stove” wall a blue to match your dishes? You mentioned not liking the tan. Maybe back wall inside the cupboards or just back of bottom shelves. I think counters and tile work is great. Copper was great idea. Old canister set…what a find!

    • I love the idea of painting the inside of the cabinets a different color! The wall color we actually did pretty recently, and we did it not so much because we loved the color as because it went well with the things we couldn’t change easily, like the tile. We may opt for something more exciting eventually, but for now we’re thinking we’ll add color with accessories instead and let the permanent features stay neutral. Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂

      • I double-sided taped target teal wrapping paper to the back of my cabinets for a temporary pop of color (to avoid repainting to something more neutral when it’s time to sell). I wasn’t sure how it would hold up, but it’s still going strong and I smile every time I open a door.

  5. These are sooo pretty! Trying to think of the perfect word to describe the copper, “yummy” or “delicious” is what comes to mind… Which I guess is good for a kitchen, right? Such a great project! I love how they turned out!

    • I’m going to get you to write my titles from now on, Brynne: “Delicious copper shelves” 🙂 And thank you!

    • Thanks, Janet! We’ve been really happy with them, and they were pretty easy as far as metalworking-esque projects go 🙂

  6. Love them! I’ve always wanted to clad a table in copper – this is a great idea!! Oh, and I have matroyshka measuring cups, too and love them!

    • Thanks, Karen! Aren’t the measuring cups adorable? I’ve had the matching spoons on my Amazon wish list for a couple of years now, but no one’s bought them for me yet 🙁

  7. Great project! I think I might do the same thing but I’d like to use copper foil tape (from Amazon, etc) so that the sides of the shelves match perfectly as well. Thanks for the inspiration!

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