3 Kitchen Counter Styling Ideas Professional Home Stagers Swear By

published Jul 10, 2019
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Credit: Minette Hand

You may not think much about how your kitchen counters look. Sure, you know that an organized, clutter-free counter is ideal, but chances are you haven’t considered it as a major opportunity to show off your style.

However, counters typically take up a lot of space in a kitchen and properly styling them can really make the room pop. Whether you’re looking to stage your home to sell or simply want kitchen counters worthy of an Instagram post, professionals have some easy styling moves that will help make your counters become the focal point of your kitchen. While you may not be trying to live full-time in a staged home, these can be great ideas to really show off this area. Here, easily reproducible ways to style your counter space, according to professional home stagers:

1. Less is more

When it comes to kitchen counters, minimalism is the name of the game.

“Kitchens get quite a bit of attention and usually flow into other areas, so having an organized and simplistic countertop can make your kitchen look as beautiful as the rest of your home, says Cathy Lorenz of Cathy Lorenz Design.

Annie Gruenberger of Warburg Realty in New York City agrees and says that “clean, white, and bright” is the aesthetic to strive for. Clear countertops of clutter and place accent pieces, like a pretty bowl filled with citrus fruits or flowers, where you’d usually absentmindedly drop things like keys and mail.

Stephanie Plymale, president of Heritage School of Interior Design, recommends tucking away all non-essential appliances and dishware in drawers and cabinets, too.

Not only will your kitchen look clean and uncluttered, it might even make it look bigger, says Lorenz.

2. Add some texture and color

Though you want to keep your kitchen counter simple and neat, keeping it too bare can make it look sterile. Because most kitchen counters are in neutral colors, Allison Chiaramonte of Warburg Realty suggests adding a pop of color in the form of a bowl of lemons, cook books, fancy soaps, or olive bottles. 

“Adding texture is key to making kitchen counters inviting,” she says. “Flowers, succulents, or even some wash towels in a thick cotton can make a big difference.”

3. Set a scene

Rather than filling a counter haphazardly with appliances or random decorative elements, setting an intentional vignette can really pull the room together. This especially comes in handy when selling, as it helps potential buyers visualize themselves living in the home.

“I like to set up a little scene of what might be happening in that kitchen—think preparing a cappuccino, opening a bottle of champagne, etc.,” says Chiaramonte. “Having a few beautifully edited items that tie to the activity (say some lovely cups, a sleek Nespresso maker, and sugar in a stylish container; or two champagne glasses, an ice bucket, and a decorative bottle of bubbly) works well and evokes thoughts of good times—whether it’s a cozy Sunday morning or a celebratory drink.”

Other ideas for scenes? Cheryl Eisen, celebrity interior designer and luxury home stager with Interior Marketing Group, often will set up an open cookbook on a wood cutting board with a rolling pin. Or if there’s an island in an apartment without a dining space, she’ll put some sushi settings on the surface to show the space’s functionality.

Now that your kitchen counters look great, maybe you want to style your whole kitchen? Here, 7 low-cost (or free!) kitchen staging ideas professionals swear by.

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