Ideas for Decorating Above Kitchen Cabinets

Sally Painter
Vases above cabinets

Create Symmetry

The space above kitchen cabinets is an ideal area to further decorate to give your kitchen greater design depth.

This design takes advantages of the cabinet sections. A sign and vining plant are placed directly centered above the range hood. Placed on either side, are two vases and two covered jars. The tallest of each pair is placed on the inside with the smaller one on the outside with vining greenery flowing toward the sign. The symmetry is completed with vining greenery on each end of the cabinet top.

Vases and urns

Patterned Vases and Urns

A large grouping of patterned vases and urns can show off a collection. This grouping of blue and white porcelain ginger jars, lidded urns, vases, bowl and teapots accentuate the subtle blue wallpaper with white accents. Some pattern designs include Holland Delft pottery (Delft Blue), Pagoda, China Blue, Blue Chinoiserie and Blue Willow.

The key to a successful grouping is to use different sizes and shapes. Work with odd numbers in groupings. Break up large groupings with a bowl or plate; add in a few single-color pieces to break up the patterns.

Kitchen stencil

Add a Decorative Stencil

The space above kitchen cabinets can be accentuated with a stenciling effect. This is an ideal choice for cabinets that are flush to the wall without space to display objects. Stencil patterns should fit your kitchen style and blend into the overall décor. Use one color or several to repeat your kitchen's color scheme. A few examples of stencil options for different styles include:

  • French and Italian décors: Go with ivy or grape vines, or a classic fleur-de-lis.
  • Country traditional: Choose gingham, florals, fruits or roosters/chickens.
grouping of decorative objects

Off-White Decorative Animals

This kitchen takes advantage of the off-white color scheme with the decorative objects placed on top of the cabinets; the focus here is on the pair of swans backed by a wooden plaque, with numerous other off-white objects flanking them. From cows to chickens to bees, you can highlight a beloved animal.

Use other off-white objects like:

  • Dried floral arrangements
  • Lidded jar
  • Serving tray
  • Pedestal urn
  • Large serving bowl

Select the most prominent color in your kitchen color scheme and repeat in decorative objects.

Mixing bowls above cabinets

Keep It Simple

You don't always need an elaborate or highly decorative design above kitchen cabinets. Simple can be more provocative and present a great way to display a collection, especially a family heirloom.

Keeping the theme related to the function of the kitchen is a natural decorating choice. You can use antique as well as new mixing bowls of various designs and styles to create a unique and appropriate display.

Decorative finials

Finial Vignettes

One great design idea is to use various decorative finials in groupings and with other objects to create an interesting vignette above your kitchen cabinets. Some of the objects you might use include:

  • Bird perched on finial
  • Wood or resin plaque
  • Stylized wooden hand-painted chicken
  • Vases with dry flower arrangements
  • Trio of finials of varying heights
  • Large wooden decorative arch
  • Faux variegated ivy
Cubbies above cabinets

Attractive Cubby Storage

Cubbies above cabinets provide more storage options in the kitchen. These cubbies are a continuation of the vertical ones running along the side of the kitchen cabinets.

You can recreate this look by adding cubbies and painting them in an accent color. Once completed, store cookbooks, wine bottles, vases, plants and other objects. While useful, be sure to display these stored items attractively, taking care to stack and line them nicely. The cubby walls provide a visual break between smaller groupings of items.

Art centerpiece

Artwork Centerpiece

Depending on the size of the space above your kitchen cabinets, you can highlight various pieces of your art collection. Choose pieces that go with your overall decor colors, style and theme.

For example, this art features a golden autumn landscape with dark tree trunks. The dark brown is repeated in the various boxes and wood slat towers. You might prefer a beachscape painting or two with white and blue art objects. Accent the art with:

  • Large painting/artwork
  • Greenery
  • Dark wooden boxes
Use seasonal decorations

Seasonal Decorations

The cabinet stain color here is complemented by the choice of colors used in the groupings above the cabinets. The decorative objects used are a combination of plaques, cross-stitch, word art wooden plaques, vase of wine corks and square plaque.

You can exchange some of these objects with seasonal ones to augment various holiday decorating, such as the ones in the photo. These include a wintry landscape plaque, a basket filled with greenery and red berries and a Christmas plate on a stand.

When adding seasonal objects keep style, color, and contrast in mind so they blend well with the other objects. This way, the design still flows regardless of the season.

Decorative items with distressed finishes

Distressed Finish

This grouping works because most of the items have a distressed finish and offer interest in different designs, sizes and heights. The darkest objects anchor the center of the grouping.

Items to use include:

  • Lattice trays
  • Finials
  • Candlestick
  • Bistro sign
  • Friezes and wall reliefs plaques
  • Wood cutout basket
  • Stacked books
  • Small clock
  • Variegated ivy
Behr kitchen design
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Add Contrast

You can use light and dark objects to create contrast and interest. This is an especially dramatic effect for a white or light colored kitchen. Dark green, shades of brown, and deep gray vases placed above kitchen cabinets stand out against white and lighter colored cabinets.

Place various styles and sizes of vases in a grouping of different colors. Use several taupe and brown vases for a lighter contrast effect if you don't want to call too much attention to the area.

Canisters above cabinets

Canisters Within Reach

Some kitchen cabinets are low enough that the top can store items within easy reach. This transforms what was a decorative space into useful storage for items used when preparing meals.

Pastas and spices can be stored in attractive tall slender canisters (for pastas) and shorter ones (for spices). You can either mix up the heights or display them in descending heights. Placing a decorative vase or item that is a similar shape as the canisters adds a little interest.

plants for color

Plants for Color

Either potted plants or simply using faux vines and other greenery that can be placed on top of the cabinets in single sprigs or clusters are great ways to decorate a kitchen. In addition to using greenery, you can introduce or repeat décor colors with silk floral arrangements and vines. This style is versatile enough to put in every kitchen.

Place decorative objects above kitchen cabinets to repeat your kitchen style, such as colonial, retro, or modern. Don't let the space go to waste when it could enhance your kitchen design.

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Ideas for Decorating Above Kitchen Cabinets