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How to Decorate the Top of Your Kitchen Cabinets So You Don't Waste Space

how to decorate above kitchen cabinets - kitchen with plant styled on top of cabinetry

Photo: Home and Spirit

If the space between your kitchen cabinets and the ceiling is collecting dust, it might be time to consider new options to make the room feel complete. Along with incorporating designer ideas like framed artwork, cookbook collections, and lively houseplants, this area in your home can also be prime real estate when it comes to storage solutions—especially in small kitchens.

Whether you're pulling out the paintbrushes for a quick weekend DIY project or installing built-in shelving to store your most essential kitchen accessories, decorating above your kitchen cabinets can help round out your space for an intentional look. And thanks to interior designers, there are plenty of different décor options that can suit styles from modern to traditional (and everything in-between).

Style your cabinet gaps to the max with these simple design tips for filling in the empty space in your kitchen.

01 of 10

Style Eye-Catching Décor

how to decorate above kitchen cabinets

Photo: Home and Spirit

Add a bit of visual interest to the empty space above your kitchen cabinets by choosing a few small pieces of décor that stand out against your wall color. We love the woven accents that draw the eye from the countertop to the ceiling in this white kitchen by tying the room together: Thanks to an earthy blend of neutral colors, the use of different textures helps blend these wood, woven, and floral pieces for an intentional finish that doesn't overwhelm the space.

02 of 10

Organize Your Cookbook Collection

how to decorate above kitchen cabinets

Photo: Home by Polly

Who doesn't need more room to store cookbooks? Consider using that space above your cabinets to store your lesser-used books that are just too pretty or sentimental to part with. Not only does the finished design look great and complement kitchen themes, but it's just the right amount of space to store a collection of cookbooks without feeling cluttered.

03 of 10

Play With Scale

how to decorate above kitchen cabinets

Photo: Dazey Den

You can never have too many vases, but finding a safe place to store these delicate items while not in use can be surprisingly difficult. Because vases are often aesthetically pleasing even without flowers in them, they can add an element of height to your kitchen while playing with scale. Bonus: They're less likely to get knocked around or broken when they're out of reach.

Opt for vases of different sizes, shapes, and patterns for a dynamic design, or display a matching set to complement a minimalist kitchen.

04 of 10

Add a Pop of Greenery

how to decorate above kitchen cabinets

Photo: Home and Spirit

The top of your cabinets is a great place to grow a trailing plant—like a philodendron, pothos, or ivy—especially if you have a lot of natural light with bright windows in your kitchen. Many trailing plants are adaptable and easy to care for, but it's also helpful to keep a step stool nearby for easy watering to ensure your kitchen garden stays lush and thriving. We're swooning over this bright, airy kitchen with small touches of greenery on the countertops that accent the cabinetry's vibrant leaves.

05 of 10

Opt for Molding

how to style above kitchen cabinets

Photo: Amber Pierce Designs

For a clean, minimalist look, fill the space between your cabinets and ceiling by installing a tall variety of crown molding. This option works best in kitchens that have little room for décor, plants, or artwork, but still leave empty space to fill. It also brings a more elegant, traditional vibe to modern kitchen designs and makes the ceilings appear taller. Paint your trim the same shade as your cabinetry for a sleek style, or use it as an opportunity to introduce a pop of color for a more eclectic look.

06 of 10

Introduce Texture

how to decorate above kitchen cabinets

Photo: Dreamy Whites Atelier

Whether you have open shelving, closed cabinets, or a mix of the two, the space between your kitchen storage and the ceiling can make a big impact with the right textures. We love the weathered shiplap installed above the backsplash in this rustic kitchen that continues around the room to make shelving and open wall space fit seamlessly together. Styled with white bowls and coffee mugs, this textured option makes a distinction between the décor and its background while keeping to the all-white kitchen look.

If you don't want to commit to a more permanent fixture like shiplap, consider installing removable wallpaper that works well with the rest of your space.

07 of 10

Display Your Favorite Wall Art

how to decorate above kitchen cabinets

Photo: Afro Bohemian Living

If you don't need the space above your cabinets for storage, add a decorative element to your kitchen by displaying wall art. This tip works for both open shelving and closed cabinets: Mount hanging pieces directly to the wall, or style framed leaning artwork across the top to create a focal point. Kitchens with high ceilings and unused space can especially benefit from larger pieces of wall art.

08 of 10

Install Built-In Storage

how to decorate above kitchen cabinets

Photo: Anne Sage

One clever way to use the gap strategically is to add built-in shelving above your cabinets. Whether you opt for open shelves or smaller cabinets with glass doors, this storage solution is a great choice to blend the cabinets with the ceiling. And while professionally installed cabinets can be expensive, brackets with open shelving are a more affordable option—but both can extend your usable space even further to keep your kitchen organized.

09 of 10

Make Open Shelving Functional

how to decorate above kitchen cabinets

Photo: Kirsten Diane

If your kitchen features open shelving above the counters, it can be tricky to master the art of filling in empty space with stylish décor while keeping things functional. The solution: Mix and match décor with your less-used kitchen accessories. We love the blend of storage jars and plants that fill in these upper shelves to create visual interest between the kitchen's storage and ceiling.

10 of 10

Tuck Away Less-Used Items

how to decorate above kitchen cabinets

Photo: Burchard Design Co

Along with styling baskets above bookshelves and bathroom cabinets, this simple storage solution can also come in handy in the kitchen. Turn empty space into a functional area with containers that can hide lesser-used utensils, small appliances, or cookbooks in style. Matching baskets create a cohesive look to store items while keeping them within easy reach anytime you need them.