How to Perfectly Decorate the Space Above Kitchen Cabinets

updated Aug 5, 2020
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Have you ever noticed that weird space between the tops of your cabinets and the ceiling in your kitchen? If not, that’s completely understandable. You either lucked out with cupboards that stretch all the way to the ceiling, have open shelving, or this blank spot just hasn’t come to your attention yet. You don’t really notice awkward spaces like this until you’re eating breakfast one morning and happen to glance upward, or maybe you’re reorganizing your kitchen, and somehow this catches your eye. It’s not really a bad or a good thing. It’s just dead space that’s not being utilized—a whole foot or so of space between the ceiling and cabinets that simply has no purpose. As someone who appreciates decor and design though—and perhaps as someone that’s perpetually looking for more storage, you know that odd corners and tight spots can always be improved in some way. 

Whether it’s adding a favorite plant, a prized collection, or simply using this spot for storage, the following ways will help you make that gap above your cabinets look intentional.

1. Add a plant

While you typically may want to avoid drawing people’s attention to the empty tops of your cabinets, adding a plant like the tenants of this Oakland apartment did is a stunning way to make this area look much more beautiful and draw the eye up. Just be sure that whatever greenery you put up there will get enough sun in this spot.

2. Think outside the canvas

It’s hard to think of a more fun way to jazz up the space above cabinets than with art. This colorful New York apartment provides the perfect example of how to incorporate a mix of DIY and store-bought art to banish blah blank space.

3. Matching collections

Collections don’t get groovier than this one featured in an Australian kitchen. If you’re an avid collector of some sort, lining pieces up on the tops of your cabinets is an original way to show off your treasures and find a home for them. The only caveat here? You will have to dust things regularly to keep them in mint condition.

Credit: Alvin Wayne

4. Create a mini kitchen library

Cookbooks aren’t the only reads reserved for the kitchen. That excess stack of coffee table books can also be stored above your dishes and cups, as seen in this Brooklyn apartment, Feel free to place extra vases and decorative pieces here, too.

5. Vintage gallery

You can easily store items like waffle irons and grills up above your uppers, but you might as well make whatever you stash look cool. This Oakland loft provides the perfect example of how to use this space as practical and pretty storage, turning the whole surface into a vignette for items you’ve collected from friends, family, travel, and thrifting.

6. Cabinet top bar cart

If you don’t have the space or let’s be real—the time, to maintain a separate, super styled out bar cart, you can store your bitters, liquors, and wine above your cabinets instead. This Chicago flat even incorporated some uplighting which makes that spot look even cooler.

7. Create stylish storage

For the most utilitarian purposes, this blank space is ideal for storage. That doesn’t mean your storage pieces need to look messy or boring though. You can incorporate fun patterns, different shapes, or bright colors, similar to what these Melbourne homeowners did.

Credit: Liz Calka

8. Upcycled bud vases

Leftover bottles make for pretty bud vases and top-of-cabinet decor. The tenant of this Maryland apartment took the chance to upcycle something old and reuse it for stylizing her place. It’s best to use faux flowers for this little project, that is, if your tops of cabinets are a pain to access.

9. Grow a garden

Why only put one plant above your cupboards if you can start a whole indoor garden? While this might not be the first place you’d consider keeping your houseplants, this Knoxville apartment’s set up makes a convincing case. Again, just be sure to make sure this spot is hospitable for your little jungle.

10. Antiques and other unique pieces

Those fun, albeit random, treasures you discover in antique shops typically end up in the back of your closet or in the basement. Storing your coolest finds above your kitchen cabinets, however, as seen in this eclectic apartment, is both unique and useful.