Want to add a character to a builder grade kitchen? Bummed that your cabinets don’t go all the way to the ceiling? This is the post for you, friend. Over the last year, I have been making small but intentional changes to show our kitchen some love. In turn, I have truly come to treasure this space! It has been a lesson for me about patience and gratitude, honestly. A few months back I shared tips for upgrading a basic kitchen without renovating, and today I have a new idea for you. If you have space between your kitchen cabinetry and the ceiling, you can decorate the tops of kitchen cabinets with baskets, vases, cookbooks, and more! Keep reading for our before and after, as well as decor finds for your kitchen.

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Our Kitchen Before

I ignored this space for years because it wasn’t my “dream kitchen” (quartz counters, large island, beautiful sink, tall cabinetry). But once I started seeing the positives (lots of light, spacious, functional appliances, etc) I had a change of heart! I’m so thankful for this space and all the ways it serves our family. Here is our spring kitchen decor before I styled the cabinets. I really liked this look, but wanted to make it feel more warm and welcoming, with a bit of cottage-inspired charm.

ruggable washable runner, gray kitchen island with butcher block wooden top, kitchen cart for a small kitchen, organic modern decor

How to Decorate the Tops of Kitchen Cabinets

I shared an Instagram reel about decorating our kitchen cabinets, and somehow it received 10M views? Still in shock about that! Many viewers were concerned about dust accumulating on the decor. This is definitely a valid concern; the tops of my cabinets were pretty dusty considering I had not cleaned them in… well, years. But after a quick vacuum, I decided to go for it. Decorating is my creative outlet, so I know I will end up swapping the items before too long. I will be sure to clean and keep things (mostly) dust free. To me, it is worth a little extra work, but it may not be for everyone, and that’s okay! 🙂

decorating the top of kitchen cabinets with baskets and plants

If you would like to decorate the tops of kitchen cabinets, here are some tips!

  1. Gather a collection of unused vases, planters, faux plants, bowls, baskets, and cookbooks.
  2. Begin grouping items together, based on your cabinet layout and where you would like to put things.
  3. Since we have staggered cabinets, it was easy to decide where different groupings should go. In the design above, I put plants in one section, baskets in one section, and vases in one section. I then anchored the ends with items of a similar shape and color–a woven bowl and footed tray.
  4. If your cabinets are straight across the top, try large groupings in corners and at the ends. Alternatively, you could use one type of decor all the way across, like a collection of similar vases or picture frames in a row.
  5. Have fun with it! I put together this design, lived with it for a few days, and then decided to make some changes. Decorating a new space usually takes me multiple tries before I feel that my vision has come to life!

Our Kitchen with Decor Above Cabinets

How to Decorate the Tops of Kitchen Cabinets | faux purple branches, baskets and vases above cabinets, cozy cottage kitchen, how to decorate a builder grade home, plum fake cimicifuga ramosa leaves
How to Decorate the Tops of Kitchen Cabinets | faux purple branches, baskets and vases above cabinets, cozy cottage kitchen, how to decorate a builder grade home, plum fake cimicifuga ramosa leaves

Here is the completed space! Compared to the look above, you can see that I removed one of the baskets because they were a bit squished. I also swapped my maidenhair fern for this artificial zebrina with a more subtle tone. Finally, I added some dried florals for a little more texture. I am so happy with the final look!

Side note: I just ordered these plum fake cimicifuga ramosa leaves that often sell out. They are a popular choice for fall, but I am enjoying them for summer too.

Shop Our Kitchen

braided seagrass basket | small striped plant pot | large striped plant pot | artificial zebrina plant | bubble plant pot | wooden pedestal bowl | fluted glass vase | white vase | gray vase | woven bowl (similar) | faux purple leaf branches | dried gypsophila flowers | large handled planter | wood top kitchen cart | alessia dark wood rug | wood cutting board | gold canister | beautiful air fryer | paper towel holder | gray ceramic cookware (10% off with my link)

gray kitchen cart, faux purple branches, baskets and vases above cabinets, cozy cottage kitchen, how to decorate a builder grade home, plum fake cimicifuga ramosa leaves
neutral kitchen decor, affordable kitchen finds, ruggable kitchen runner, gray kitchen cart, decor on tops of cabinets

Tops of Kitchen Cabinets Before and After

Here is a side by side comparison so that you can see the difference! Which look do you prefer? I am loving the cozy, cottage-inspired look right now. But can also appreciate a clean, minimalist space!

If you have a similar kitchen layout and are wanting to add character to your space, I hope you found this post helpful. Be sure to tag me on Instagram if you try this, I would love to see what you do! XO,

Caitlin Marie Design calligraphy signature sign off
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