Decorating Above Kitchen Cabinets

Today, we’re updating one of our most popular posts on decorating above the kitchen cabinets and thankfully the photos too he he.

Earlier this year, we hosted a birthday party and had a bunch of people over at our house. Everything had gone really well and we were bringing all the dishes into the kitchen as the party was winding down. I was at the sink rinsing off a few things before putting them into the dishwasher when I noticed the person I was talking to had her eyes and attention mindlessly wandering around the kitchen.

It didn’t bother me at all, at first. I mean, it was loud and everyone was having a great time so it made sense she was easily distracted during our conversation. But then something happened that made me cringe….

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I watched as her eyes slowly wandered up to the tops of our kitchen cabinets and stopped for a long pause. She then proceeded to wrinkle her nose as if to say, “Wow, more stuff. These people have collections in every corner of the house.”

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At the time, I brushed it off, you know? I gave myself a pep talk, “That’s her problem…she’s the rude one…we’ve worked SO hard on this kitchen…l feel blessed I even have a home I love after living in a super shady apartment for crying out loud…I’m sure it’s not me, or my house, she probably just had a bad day before she even got here.”

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You know how it goes, we’re all friends here, so I know you know how it goes when something like this happens and it throws you off for a hot minute.

The thing is though…I knew she was right….as much as I hate to admit it…there was just too much stuff on the top of the kitchen cabinets and it was something I had been struggling with since we had painted the cabinets.

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Way back in 2015, I wrote a post about the controversial space between the tops of the kitchen cabinets and the ceiling. Ironically, it’s been one of my most popular posts.

Truth be told, if I had my way, I would have cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling. One day, fingers crossed, I will. For now, though, there is an almost 2-foot gap between the cabinets and our 9-foot ceiling and it’s just too much to leave bare. I mean sometimes you just have to work with what you have, you know?

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Here are a few things to consider if you choose to decorate above your kitchen cabinets too…

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Choose a color scheme that’s tone on tone it will make it easier to display your favorite pieces.

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Choose pieces that are classics like ironstone, milk glass, chinoiserie, pottery, silver or a collection of something you love that is consistent with the rest of your home like vintage globes.

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Choose items that help enhance the feel that you’re trying to achieve in your home.   For example, we use ironstone because it’s utilitarian, tone on tone, a classic collection and helps to add a bit of farmhouse charm to the kitchen.

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Choose pieces that will visually add height to the kitchen and extend the cabinets closer to the ceiling.

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Add a layer of texture. Baskets are the easiest way to add texture, just make sure they’re appropriate in size and shape. You might also want to consider tarnished silver trophy platters, vintage signs, or even antique cutting boards to help add texture as well.

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When in doubt, edit, edit, edit. That’s the key, right? On one hand, I have a simple style. On the other, I love, love, love, ironstone and transferware and tarnished silver and books and baskets and vintage pieces that have been loved for years…you know what I mean? Maybe for you it’s pottery or fish or sailboats or marmalade jars or pigs and cows.

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Collections en masse will always be a statement maker in our homes but they’re not meant to be displayed on the tops of the kitchen cabinets. They can quickly become visual clutter if not displayed correctly. That’s why editing is so important no matter what room or vignette you’re working with.

I’ve gone through three variations of decorating the kitchen cabinets but I often think about that “wrinkled nose moment of truth” when I’m on the fence trying to decide if something I’m working on is too much or not enough. I’m thankful for the experience now even if at the time, I’ll admit, it stung a bit.

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I know you guys know this already but creating a home you love takes time. As we grow confident in our decorating choices and hone our nesting instincts, it will become an adventure we will treasure, decorating mistakes and all.

See you guys back here tomorrow. I can hardly believe it’s been almost one year since we painted the kitchen cabinets. I’ll share how they’re holding up and the one little snag we’ve run into. Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Many blessings,


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  1. Hey CoCo – So sorry that a nose-wrinkler made you doubt your taste or style for one nano-second. You and your home are lovely…just as you are! We love your kitchen then and now. We too dream of white painted cabinets one day. Half of our team already had their dream come true LOL. It is always tricky decorating the cabinet tops. We both have lots of space above our cabinets and we try our best to make it look pretty and stylish. Thanks for your tips!

  2. Your staging on top of the kitchen cabinets is lovely. I decorate on top of my kitchen cabinets seasonally and I always get postive comments on how lovely it looks. Never, ever think negatively on your talent. Some people are minamilist and that is ok for them. My husband thinks I put too much time and effort in decorating the tops of the cabinet but if I left them bare it would look so drab, so I make them look so cozy that I think they are the icing on top the cake!!! Never ever put down your decorating skills..it is a talent some people just dont have. ❤️

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