If you have builder grade kitchen cabinets that do not go up to the ceiling, this post is for you. While some believe that top of kitchen cabinet decor is outdated, I personally have to disagree. With the right styling, you can absolutely decorate above kitchen cabinets in 2024!

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This post will give you ideas for decorating the top of kitchen cabinets with baskets, vases, faux plants, cookbooks, and more. Keep reading for decor finds, plus a comparison of our kitchen before and after!

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Design Dilemma: Top of Kitchen Cabinets

Let’s begin with a little backstory. Our builder grade kitchen doesn’t have quartz counters, a beautiful sink, or tall cabinets that extend to the ceiling. Sadly, I ignored this space for years because I didn’t see it as my “dream kitchen.”

But more recently, instead of seeing what isn’t here, I decided to focus on what is. Lots of light, space, and functional appliances. In addition, I chose to make small but intentional changes!

empty space on top of kitchen cabinets, ruggable washable runner, gray kitchen island with butcher block wooden top, kitchen cart for a small kitchen, organic modern decor

A few months back I shared tips for upgrading a basic kitchen without renovating, and today I have a new idea for you. I decided to decorate the top of our kitchen cabinets, and I think you’ll be surprised at what a difference it makes!

The picture above shows 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 charm.

Decor Ideas for Above Kitchen Cabinets

Before you begin, gather a collection of decor from around your home to use on top of your kitchen cabinets. Here are some ideas:

  • Vases
  • Planters
  • Faux plants
  • Dried flowers
  • Bowls
  • Baskets
  • Cookbooks
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wood cutting board, faux flowers in fluted vase
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You probably have many of these items already! But if you are starting from scratch, here are some of my favorite items for decorating above kitchen cabinets:

Vases and Planters

Faux Plants and Dried Flowers

Bowls and Baskets

Cookbooks

How to Decorate Above Kitchen Cabinets

Now, some specific ideas for how to decorate above kitchen cabinets. Above all, you will want to group decor items together based on your cabinet layout.

Staggered Cabinets

Since we have staggered kitchen cabinets, it was easy to decide where to place decor groupings. The tiered height of the cabinets divides up the space on top into sections!

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First, I put planters on top of the corner cabinet section. I like the way the hanging plant trails down over one side and balances the stems on my island.

Next, I placed all of my extra vases on top of the center cabinet section (above the microwave). A large basket between these two sections keeps the design from feeling cluttered with small objects.

Finally, I anchored the ends of the kitchen cabinets with items of a similar shape and color–a footed bowl and a woven basket. Balance is key! Try to mirror colors, textures, and shapes so that the design feels cohesive.

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If you need encouragement, remember that styling a new space usually takes multiple tries. While decorating the top of our kitchen cabinets, I put together one design, lived with it for a few days, and then decided to make some changes. I am so happy with the final look!

Straight Across the Top Cabinets

I would not use the exact design from my kitchen for cabinets that are all one height, because the decor would look cluttered without the separation of the staggered cabinets.

Instead, for kitchen cabinets that are straight across the top: try a large decor grouping at each end, and one grouping at the corner, leaving space in between. Or you could use one type of decor all the way across, for example a collection of vases or picture frames in a row.

Top of Kitchen Cabinet Decor Sources

More exact and similar kitchen decor here!

What About Dust on Top of Kitchen Cabinets?

I shared an Instagram reel about decorating above kitchen cabinets, and somehow it received millions of views? Still in shock about that!

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Many viewers were concerned about dust accumulating on the decor. The tops of my cabinets were pretty dusty considering I had not cleaned them in… well, years πŸ˜‰ But after a quick vacuum, I decided to go for it!

cozy kitchen decor with plum purple leaves branches, baskets trays and plants

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. For me it is worth a little extra work, but it may not be for everyone, and that’s okay!

Above Kitchen Cabinets Decor: Before and After

Here is a side by side comparison so that you can see before and after I decorated above the kitchen cabinets. Which look do you prefer?

I am loving the cozy cottage look right now, but I also appreciate a 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!

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8 Comments

  1. Rhonda Fancey says:

    I love your kitchen, have tried forever to figure out decor. Love the island. Where did purchase it? If you don’t mind me asking! We have similar kitchens and now I have some great ideas. Thank you

    1. Hi Rhonda! Thank you so much! Our exact island was from Target and unfortunately no longer available. However, here are some really similar gray island options from different stores! Lowe’s, Wayfair,
      Amazon. Hope that helps πŸ™‚

  2. Campbell Addison says:

    Loved the way you have used kitchen space and provided with storage idea and main focus was the few changes in your kitchen, the white tones looks very classy, i have similar style kitchen and i am also going to take some idea from your exclusive kitchen…

  3. Do you have any pictures of how you change the decorations with the seasons? I love the look!

    1. Jennifer, thank you so much! I need to take some new photos soon, so far I don’t have any new ones. Will update this post once I do!

  4. Looks great! We have similar looking cabinets with varying heights and crown molding. Finding it’s not a flat and even up there, plus we need to raise the decor items so not half hidden by the crown molding. What did you use to perch items so they are elevated? Hope this question makes sense πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Lucy! Our cabinets are the same way. For smaller items, I propped them up with old books or even plastic containers! For larger or heavy items, I did not prop them up. Hope that helps!

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