As a little girl I was always fascinated with drawer liners. The pretty paper and lovely smells were enticing. I knew I wanted my drawers lined with this lovely paper.
My mom always lined drawers, cabinets and such with poster board or tag board. That was totally utilitarian and did not have the beauty that I loved so. However, I have been known to use poster board or tag board since it stays in place and is durable. I particularly like cardboard in shelves that will house ceramic, glass or porcelain items just because it makes removal easy since it doesn’t stick to the item.
Since I am my mother’s daughter, I do line all my drawers and shelves. I do this for several reasons: First, if it is a wooden shelf or drawer, I do not want the wood or stain to leach onto my fabrics or objects. Second, if it is painted, sometimes paint will stick to items placed on it, particularly if the item rests there for a lengthy time period. Third, much of my furniture is antique. Though I clean it, I really don’t know what was stored there prior to my ownership. It just allows a barrier between my current objects and long ago objects. And finally, with fabrics it helps to prevents snags if there are splinters in the cabinetry.
My go-to liner is white, Duck Brand Smooth Top EasyLiner Non-Adhesive Shelf Liner for Kitchen Cabinets. I use it for drawers and shelves in kitchen, bath and bedroom. I cut it a few inches larger than the bottom of the drawer and let it go up each side about 2 or 3 inches.
For shelves, I cut it to the exact measurement of the shelf. If it is a long run, spanning several doors, I try to keep it in one piece, cutting around any supports of their impediments. One continual piece helps to keep the liner in place.
I am not a big fan of the sticky plastic liners, but I have purchased or inherited a few pieces which had this lining attached. I just left it in place and covered it with my preferred non-stick liner.
But for those special drawers, like a drawer you open daily or where you keep lingerie, I recommend good, old-fashioned scented paper liners. I put these over my plastic liner because, unless it is a small drawer, the paper may not be wide enough to cover the entire drawer.
I do reserve the scented liners for drawers because the paper will move around more on a shelf and the scent may dissipate quicker.
If you are a crafter or allergic to certain scents, you may want to make your own scented paper. There are several videos and Pinterest pages that will tell you how to make scented drawer liner out of wrapping paper or scrapbook paper using water and essential oils. I think it would be fun to line drawers (maybe a desk or dresser) in scented paper maps. One could plan their next trip while dressing or paying the bills!
The other option is cloth liners. The instructions I saw online involved cardboard, covered in quilt batting and then covered in fabric. I would make it like I would a quilt, with batting between two pieces of fabric. I would then sew the corners so that the quilt would go up the sides about 2 or 3 inches.
For cabinets and drawers in the bathroom, I like to line them with the same Duck product. It prevents spills from getting on the wood and making it swell and split. It also keeps makeup from staining the wood and, it makes cleaning the drawers easy. When I am ready to clean, I just remove the liner and wash it down. There is not much dirt/make-up/hair in the actual drawer, so one quick wipe and it is clean. Once the liner and drawer are dry, I replace the liner and contents. Easy breezy.
Personally, I always like to line drawers and shelves in white or light colors. The reason is that it will help bounce light and brighten those dark spaces. Drawers and shelves can be so dark that I don’t think there is much reason to make them darker. Out in the country we have brown recluse spiders, so I want to see those little devils!
Other than plastic, rubber, fabric, paper, and poster or tag board, other options for liners include cork, felt, and cedar. Many of these options come in adhesive, non-adhesive and low tack adhesive so that you can choose the best application for your situation. Felt can be treated to retard varnishing or left untreated. The treated type is perfect for storing silver items; in particular you usually see this in a drawer designed to hold sterling or silver plated flatware.
Lining drawers are just a small way to personalize cabinetry or furniture for your pleasure. It’s like nice underwear…no one else will know it is there, but it will make you happy!
Bonus Information: What makes the treated felt retard tarnishing of silver? The felt is infused with silver and/or zinc particles which attract the tarnish causing sulfur compounds. The felt is relatively expensive (Amazon.com shows it starting at about $12/years), but it does continue to work for many years. Pre-made bags are also available to store large trays or bowls. Similarly, sectioned bags are available to store flatware.