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

Kitchen shelving

Amy Bartlam

We all know about that awkward gap between the top of the kitchen cabinets and the ceiling that is basically just there to collect dust (and maybe act as a perch for your cat). But if space is at a premium in your kitchen, that's valuable real estate that is going entirely unused.

If you have a lot of dead space in your kitchen, spend an afternoon (really, it will take under an hour) to organize that gap and put it use.

Possible Materials To Help You Style That Cabinet Gap

  • Framed artwork
  • Baskets
  • Greenery
  • Canisters
  • Paint and a paint roller
  • Your cookbook collection
  • Plywood and brackets for shelving

If you aren't ready to remodel the kitchen and extend your cabinets up to the ceiling, here are a handful of ideas to make that space a little more functional.

Add Baskets for Storage

Of course, one of the easiest ways to use the space on top of your cabinets is to turn it into storage. But just tossing random stuff up there is a recipe for disaster. Instead, invest in matching baskets to store rarely-used kitchen items.

If you cook with a lot of grease in your kitchen, look for a wire basket that is easier to clean.

Arrange Framed Artwork

Storing something on top of your cabinets will require a little bit of hassle every time you need to get it down. If you want to use that space but don't need it for storage, consider layering a few pieces of framed art there.

This idea is great for loft spaces or any kitchen with really high ceilings and a lot of dead space above the cabinets.

Grow Something

The top of your cabinets is a great place to grow a climbing plant, like a philodendron, pothos or ivy, especially if you have a lot of natural light and high windows in your kitchen. Many winding plants are adaptable and easy to care for, but keep a step stool nearby for easy watering while you make your kitchen garden lush and vibrant.

Paint It

Not really interested in climbing up to water plants or store kitchen supplies? Sometimes just adding a coat of a bold paint color like black or navy blue can help add a little bit of visual interest and help blend the space between your cabinets and your ceiling.

Try a contrasting color from your cabinets for the biggest bang. If you have white or gray cabinets, a moody hue is a great choice.

Store Your Cookbooks

Who doesn't need more room to store cookbooks? Consider using that space above your cabinets to store those irregularly used books that are just too pretty or sentimental to part with. Not only does this look great, but it's just the right amount of space to store cookbooks without feeling cluttered.

Extend the Backsplash

Why not take your kitchen backsplash all the way to the ceiling? By extending the subway tiles to the top of the room, you can add more depth to your kitchen and get rid of that awkward white space between your cabinets. Plus, a simple subway tile is a perfect backdrop to a few plants or decorative baskets to really finish out the look.

If you don't want to install all new backsplash, consider laying down wallpaper that works well with the rest of your space.

Add a Shelf

One very clever way to use the cabinet gap strategically is to add a shelf above your cabinets. Whether you have them professionally added to look built-in or you simply install brackets and matching wood, a shelf is a great way to keep things organized and extend your usable space even further, especially if you have a large gap to fill.

Store Vases and Planters

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 look good when arranged above your cabinets. Plus, they're less likely to get knocked around and break when they're out of reach.

Take your look to the next level by using a branch or a stick to connect the space between your cabinets and hang plants in front of a sunny window.

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