Modernize Your Kitchen with Creative Storage and Decor Above the Cabinets
The space above kitchen cabinets often ends up collecting dust or becoming an afterthought in kitchen design. But this overlooked area is ripe with possibility to add visual interest, extra storage, and express your personal style. With some clever decorating ideas, you can transform the empty void over your cabinets into a functional and inviting design feature.
From open shelving to create a more open and airy look, to stylish new lighting fixtures that provide task lighting, there are many ways to maximize both the form and function of the area above your cabinets. The finishing touches like updated hardware, accent tile or wallpaper backsplashes, and trimwork lend personality and polish. Read on for inspirational ideas to take your kitchen decor to new heights – literally!
Clever Storage Solutions and Open Shelving
Closed upper cabinets have their place for concealing less attractive items. But open shelving opens up the kitchen visually and allows you to display your favorite dishware and accents. The trick is incorporating smart storage solutions so everything has a place while maintaining an organized look.
Baskets, bins and other organizers are must-haves for keeping items corralled yet accessible. Place any lesser-used items towards the back of the shelves. For a tiered look, install short floating shelves stacked on top of the existing cabinets for housing spices, cookbooks and other kitchen tools within easy reach.
Benefits of Open Shelving
- Creates an open, airy look
- Allows you to display decorative items
- Easy access to frequently used items
- More visual interest than closed cabinets
- Use baskets, bins and organizers to corral items
- Place lesser-used items towards the back
- Incorporate racks for spices, utensils and cookbooks
- Try a tiered shelf design for more vertical storage
- Use sealant to protect wood shelves from moisture and spills
- Wipe down regularly to keep dust at bay
- Edit items on display to keep clutter in check
Stylish and Functional Cabinet Lighting
The proper lighting can make all the difference in kitchens. Well-placed fixtures provide essential task lighting while also enhancing the aesthetic. When it comes to illuminating your kitchen, look up – the area above the cabinets is prime real estate for installing lighting.
Pendant lights dangling above islands or sinks supply focused task lighting and style. Opt for bulbs that provide the brightness needed for food prep and cooking. Sconces or track lighting on the upper walls cast both ambient and directional light. Under-cabinet LED strips illuminate your counters and backsplashes.
Types of Lighting
- Pendant lights over sinks or islands
- Sconces or track lighting on side walls
- Under-cabinet lighting for tasks
- Low-profile LED strip lighting
- Centered over cabinets vs. offset placement
- Finishes and materials like brass, nickel, glass
- Hardwired vs. plug-in installation
- Dimmer controls for ambiance
Lighting Layout Tips
- Layer lighting for depth and dimension
- Highlight key areas like the sink and prep space
- Bounce light off the ceiling for soft, indirect light
An eye-catching backsplash delivers visual impact while also protecting the walls behind counters and sinks. Extending your backsplash material to the ceiling behind the cabinets creates a cohesive, seamless look. But even a more budget-friendly accent strip backsplash can lend personality.
Play with different textures like subway tile, hexagons, or arabesque patterns. The material possibilities are endless – natural stone like marble, metal and tin sheets, reclaimed wood planks, removable wallpaper, and more. Tie in cabinet and countertop hues for a pulled together look.
- Tile: ceramic, glass, metal, natural stone
- Reclaimed wood planks
- Tin or copper sheets
- Removable wallpaper
Patterns and Textures
- Subway tile, hexagons, arabesque patterns
- Bold colors or muted neutrals
- Metallic finishes like copper or brass
- Distressed wood, exposed brick
- Tie in countertop and cabinet colors
- Extend to the ceiling for a seamless look
- Use an accent strip if full backsplash is too much
It’s often the little details that take a kitchen remodel from basic to beautiful. Elevate your space with these finishing touches for the over-cabinet area.
Swapping out dated hardware for updated knobs and handles can give cabinets a fresh facelift. For a cohesive look, choose hardware finishes that coordinate with your fixtures and appliances. Molding and trimwork add lovely architecture. Crown molding, corbels and shelf trim infuse traditional charm.
Glass-front upper cabinets allow you to display cherished dishware while keeping it dust-free. Refinishing or painting worn cabinets in a new color is an affordable upgrade. The right touches turn your kitchen into a stylish space you’re excited to spend time in.
- Knobs, handles, pulls in black, brass, nickel
- Go for cohesive look vs. mixing metals
Molding and Trim
- Crown molding, corbels, shelf trim
- Paint to match or contrast cabinets
- Refinish, paint, or re-stain for an upgrade
- Glass-front upper cabinets for display
Bringing life to the previously ignored area above your kitchen cabinets opens up exciting possibilities. With a dose of creativity and style, this blank canvas can be an opportunity to reflect your personality while enhancing functionality.