What’s the one area of your home that’s likely off your radar and just gathering dust? It’s that nameless space above your upper kitchen cabinets.
Unless your cabinets extend all the way to the ceiling, you likely have some space above your cabinets—and we’re here to point out that giving this spot a little attention can make a big difference in terms of the statement your kitchen makes.
A word of caution, however: Whatever style you decide to embrace, there are certain items to avoid placing here. Like what? For one, those once-popular dried flower arrangements. These dusty looks are retro in a bad way, and the heat from your stove can cause them to crumble and drop into the dinner you’re prepping (ick!).
“This look is dated and stuffy and draws too much attention,” warns Anna Shiwlall, owner of 27 Diamonds Interior Design.
Ditto for a bunch of tiny accessories.
“Small dust-catchers look cluttered, and they don’t do anything to catch the eye—and they’ll make you wonder when they were last cleaned,” says Darla DeMorrow, an organizing pro and author of the new book “The Upbeat Organized Home Office.”
Here’s more on styling the tops of your kitchen cabinet so this oft-forgotten area can make a surprisingly huge impact.
1. Highlight a quirky collection
Most of the time you’ll see a row of platters or baskets on cabinet uppers, but these types of collections can be sort of a snooze. Instead, dig deeper into your accessories to curate a look that’s a little striking or even quirky. Juju hats, vintage sieves, and earthenware pitchers are all worthy candidates.
2. Hang some art
Graphic prints or black and white photographs both work well in this space. And if your art is food-themed, then all the better.
3. Add bright paint
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It’s the little things that make all the difference. Loving our newly lit lime green kitchen thankful for my father in law’s handy skills and thrifty ability to always find what we’re looking for who installed our new overhead light – before we had harsh fluorescent tube lighting and now it feels so warm Julian also painted our bathroom (I almost said we haha). Only took years to finally get around to doing! . . . #torontoloft #loftkitchen #limegreenkitchen #hardloft #limegreen #homeimprovements #lovemykitchen
Styling this space can be easy and affordable—in fact, all you need is a single can of vivid paint to make it pop. Define the area with a color you might not normally use elsewhere. (Lime-green is fashionable and attractive in small doses.)
4. Create cubbies
Adding an extra shelf above your kitchen uppers or splurging on built-in cubby holes that also light up are another couple of ways to create a stylish spot in this room, notes Shiwlall.
“If your cabinets are hung 12 inches or more from the ceiling, you can order coordinating pieces to slot in, and with some minor carpentry and paint, they’ll look custom,” notes DeMorrow.
Fill your new display areas with something you want to highlight, such as special pottery you’ve collected from your travels or items that need protection like antique glass.
5. Add a sign
Chip and Joanna Gaines–style signage is the perfect joyful antidote for that sad empty space. A retro or distressed sign fills the nook and channels a decor theme, modern farmhouse or otherwise.
6. Add plants
Green plants are inviting and crisp, which is why windowsill herb gardens are so popular in kitchens of every size. You can mimic this type of garden by elevating plants to your cabinet uppers. Even easier: Choose good-looking fake plants like spider ferns, aloe, or caladium. You won’t have to water them, and they’ll always look fresh.
7. Install new windows
If the structure of your home allows it, knocking out the wall above these cabinets to create a new set of windows is a creative idea that lets in more light.
8. Continue your tile
“Never underestimate the power of pattern and color,” reminds DeMorrow.
To that end, drawing the eye upward is easily done with sticker tiles in a bright shade as seen in encaustic patterns. Or simply connect the tile you already have on your backsplash to this upper wall for a wraparound designer look, she adds.
9. Put in wine storage
Who needs a wine cellar when the spot above your fridge or upper cabinets will do nicely? Installing wine cubbies is a relatively easy DIY project, though you can also put in ready-made wine racks to hold your collection.
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