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What Do You Do With That Awkward Space Above Your Kitchen Cabinets?

Here’s a real design debacle for you: what do you do with that little space above your kitchen cabinets??? Do you do anything with it? I had lots of questions about this space when I accidentally discovered the power it has to bring your eye upward (trust me it’s powerful). Let me tell you the backstory –– it all started with a bowl…

I live in a studio apartment that has about 5 kitchen cabinets total. It’s the perfect little space for my boyfriend and I, but there’s one little problem: we LOVE to cook and do it often. Well, that’s really just the root of the problem, the main issue is we don’t have enough storage for our pots, pans, and portable pizza ovens/grills (that’s a real thing). As birthdays, Christmases, and anything else that could possibly involve a gift comes around, our cookware collection grows stronger, better, and faster. While we love our huge collection of random kitchen appliances, we’re getting more and more desperate for storage. Well 2 months ago it officially outgrew these 5 cabinets and we were desperate.

Here’s where the bowl comes in. We realized we didn’t have a good, big salad bowl (and we love making big salads as full meals) so I thought, no worries I’ll grab a big, deep, bowl for our salad needs. I found a classic white one from CB2, brought it home, found a perfect spot for it in cabinet #3, went to shut the cabinet door and *CLUNK* the cabinet door was stopped in its tracks by my large bowl (and it was only about .3 inches from it shutting all the way). Have you been there before??? It’s demoralizing to say the least. So I did what anybody would do, I threw it at the awkward space above my cabinets because unless I wanted my bowl in my “bedroom” closet, I had NO other option. It was a “for now” kind of temporary solution until (to my surprise) I realized, “wait a minute I think I like this.” It IMMEDIATELY brought my eye upward (which in a small space is beyond critical. So I started throwing random items up there like it was basketball season. It was a whole new world of opportunity. I could have tall, wide, long items up there that would have never fit inside my cabinets in 1 million years. PLUS the space felt BIGGER. Was I dreaming? I thought I was until…

This Happened

Once I got all my random bowls and serving dishes up, I realized it looked like sh*t thrown together with no rhyme or reason. And the best part? I don’t know how to make it look good. So welcome to my design agony where we do what I love doing most…figuring it out with you guys 😉

Let’s start by doing some homework (FUN!!) aka collecting inspiration photos that will give us an idea of what’s been done before so we can copy, I mean recreate, the things we like. Let’s start with Emily’s kitchen in her first house:

Style Minimally

Okay, let’s dissect why this works and what we can take away from this. There’s lots of artwork, which looks great because it adds a lot of color to an otherwise white space, and it can add some depth if you want to layer things in front of it. It offers height too, which if you have A LOT of space between the top of your cabinets and your ceiling like Em does here, then it fills up that vertical space really well. I want to incorporate more color into my styling, so this could be a good area to do that in. There are 2 other things I want to point out about this styling specifically: 1. the wood basket adds a lot of warmth and helps to sprinkle around a wood tone that would only otherwise be on the floor and the counter in that cutting board –– we love spreading the color palette around in a room and this is a great area to add more of the colors you already have (even if wood TECHNICALLY isn’t a color, you should treat it as such :)). The second thing I want to mention is that this above cabinet styling job is pretty minimal. Now I’m rethinking if I should style the entire wall of cabinets or if I should just do a small section like in these photos…what do you guys prefer?

photo by zeke ruelas | from: the casa soria kitchen reveal (+ 5 things i would have done differently if it were my kitchen

Ah, I love this kitchen Orlando renovated for his parents (it’s sooo sweet). This is an interesting inspo picture because he was dealt an awkward nook card and he slapped it down, crushed it, and won the game. I like how he used a really minimal color palette in his decor, but kept the visual interest by adding in that really fun sculptural thing on the right…I don’t even know what it is but I love it and want it desperately.

Go Green

home by branchabode | via schoolhouse

Plants!? Plants. This photo definitely solidifies that plants can work above your kitchen cabinets and make your home feel like a cute little earthy greenhouse if you want it to. I’m not nearly skilled enough to keep this many plants up here because I would in fact forget about them and let them die (I’m not a good plant mom and that’s okay). I might opt to put one or two easy going plants like, I don’t know, a succulent?? Or maybe something that would make it feel a little more bright, happy, and just all around alive up there, but I don’t think I could physically handle this many…

Repeat One Design Element

photo by ngoc minh ngo | via architectural digest
home by honey n hydrangea | via honey n hydrangea

We’re all about the power of repetition in a space, and this area seems to be no exception. This is an especially great option if you have a collection that you want to display. For example, this would be a great spot to display a collection of plates (my grandma has a plate collection and it’s very cute) or vases or even something like candle holders. Remember though, this is probably best if you’re looking for pretty over function and would be best served in kitchens that already had ample storage space for your needs.

Make It Your Cookbook Library

home of trudy gould and seamus mccartney | photo by eve wilson | via the design files

First off, I love the way they styled this…it looks SO effortless, cozy, and casual. It’s definitely making me rethink things. If you don’t have the space to stack your books vertically (I definitely don’t) then you can also stack them horizontally and incorporate them in with your cookware storage.

If you’re interested in taking a stab at styling above your kitchen cabinets, I thought I’d give you a little roundup of our favorite decor items on the internet right now to make it look the best it can look!

1. Chevron Flow Print | 2. Tara Serving Bowl | 3. Vintage Dough Bowl | 4. Colorway Pot | 5. Cake Stand | 6. Tobi Taper Candle Holder | 7. Pillar Sculpture | 8. Form Ceramic Candle | 9. Pool Party for Two | 10. Soft Shapes IV Framed Art Print | 11. Black Waxed Metal Vase Set | 12. Waverly Wall Mirror | 13. Wooden Hand | 14. Wicker Wall Clock | 15. Kati Stash Box | 16. Shaped Taper Candle – Set Of 2 | 17. Wood Chain | 18. Whitney Vase

My Next Steps…

These inspiration photos definitely got me thinking and I have a few key things I know I’m going to change after researching and writing this post. Now we’re all aware that due to the space limitations I explained in great detail before, I’m most definitely here for storage, so having some bowls and random vase storage up there is going to be critical for me (I’m really driving this storage point home). I’m thinking I should pair back a bit on the AMOUNT of stuff up there. For example, I probably don’t need 2 of the same pitcher styled directly next to each other like I have now (lol). So some rearranging and minimizing may be in order. The last thing I’m thinking about is incorporating more of my cookbooks up there (probably horizontally with a little box or something on them), just to break up the glass vase/bowl museum and give myself some more cookbook storage space (yup, that collection is growing quickly too). What are your thoughts?? Any wisdom or styling advice for this area before I take a real stab at making it look nice?? Thanks for reading and I’ll meet you in the comments below 🙂

Opening Image Credit: Photo by Tessa Neustadt | From: Emily’s Glendale Kitchen Reveal

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Mary C
2 months ago

Thought for you-everything up there gets dusty and greasy from the air in the kitchen, so you’re going to have to clean everything before you use it. I also lined the tops of the cabinets with cut linoleum pieces so they’d be easier to wipe down. Baskets can also work up there and then you can hide multiple pieces in them. Just a few things I’ve learned in my 30-something years of homeownership.

Katie
2 months ago
Reply to  Mary C

In my last apartment, I lined the top of the cabinets with lidded baskets with cute labels. It added warmth to my builder-grade beige laminate cabinets, provided a TON of storage, and kept everything clean (the dust is a very sticky, greasy dust and a pain to clean).

Nina
2 months ago
Reply to  Katie

oooh going to browse for some basket inspiration right now

Cheryl
2 months ago
Reply to  Katie

Maybe lidded canvas style boxes would be helpful, and then instead of styling them, they’d simply blend right into the wall and disappear.

Kara
2 months ago
Reply to  Cheryl

That’s similar to what I have – those large white cardboard boxes with lids from Ikea that blend with my white cabinets. I have them going the whole length of the wall for a seamless look and tons of extra apartment storage.

Esmith
2 months ago
Reply to  Mary C

I lay down newspaper and replace as needed…then I don’t have to wipe anything down

Mary C
2 months ago
Reply to  Esmith

That’s an even better idea! In my last house, you could see the tops as you came down from upstairs which is why I used linoleum. But my new house you can’t. Newspaper is a great idea!

Val
2 months ago
Reply to  Esmith

Such an amazingly awesome idea!!! I’m so going to have to do this! I hate the nasty stuff that lurks all over “the space” up there and I’m so ready to get rid of my upper cabinets all together when we finally get to the kitchen part of the renovation (we are slowly renovating our entire house and it’s beyond overwhelming!). Thank You for the amazing and useful tip!! If you have any other ones please share them! I’m always looking for better and easier ways to do life and enjoy learning!

Kate
2 months ago
Reply to  Mary C

Was coming here to say this, too.

No matter how much you use your hood vent, the aerosolized cooking oils will coat what you have up there with a stubborn film and so you need to be prepared to really scrub and clean those items, or basically sacrifice them to what will happen.

Looking at the group of paintings – you can’t clean them once that film gets on there, so it’s important to know that going into your decision process.

Julie
2 months ago

I think that your cabinets are already on the right track. You have incorporated some pretty pitchers and bowls and have included color and shapes. I think just approach it like you would any other vignette – a variety of texture, color, and heights (the stacked cookbooks are a good idea – maybe some vertical, some horizontal) and perhaps mix in a single (I vote fake) plant for variety/touch of nature. Looking forward to seeing the finished product!

Andrea
2 months ago

Agree with Mary C – I keep my cake plates & other assorted, cute, large stuff in that space, but it gets dirty up there FAST. And it’s the sticky dusty kind, so you really have to wash everything and wipe down the top of the cabinets often, which, let’s be honest – doesn’t really happen. I’m 100% Team Use That Space – just be realistic about what’s up there. I wouldn’t put cookbooks up there unless you’re really going to be cleaning up there at least 2x/month.

Meg
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrea

Having previously kept my cookbooks up there, I can confirm – this zone makes for super-high-maintenance cookbook storage! Even taking them down regularly, they built up gnarly sticky residue, and I had to move them to a bookshelf. Now I only keep dishwasher-safe kitchen tools up there – if they’re gross when I bring them down to use them, the dishwasher can take care of it quickly. Cleaning my cookbooks, on the other hand, was an odyssey…

Maile Moore
2 months ago

Ahem! I could have told u that😂

Rita
2 months ago
Reply to  Meg

Yes, that build up sticky residue is awful. I have a double shelf above my cabinets and I once had it decorated with an array of dust collectors. That didn’t last long bc of having to clean that sticky stuff way too often. So now I only have 3 very large vases centered and I can live with that, plus it looks good. Keep it minimal, and it will look attractive, clean and neat.

Emily
2 months ago
Reply to  Meg

Yes, the cookbook photo made me cringe! Only put stuff up there that you can wash easily. When I had cabinets like that, I put some of my prettier serving pieces up there. That way it at least looked nice, and freed up space in the cabinets (of which I only had 1.5 uppers!).

Shana
2 months ago

Yup, on the greasy-stick-icky dust, though it varies if you’re over the sink vs. anywhere in shouting distance of the stove (prime grease producer!). If you’re going to use art, ideally go with something glass-fronted so you can clean it… but you’ll also want to secure it, if possible (glass above head height in earthquake country? no thanks!). Large pottery pieces seem best b/c both artistic AND (relatively) easy to clean.

Angella
2 months ago

The best thing to do with this space is find a way to add push up doors attached to the ceiling. Or cute curtains that will keep the grease and dust out. Or large boxes , same size repeated, with lids that are easy to clean. It’s amazing how grease and dust travel up there.

Sally
2 months ago

I’m co-signing the fact that the top of cabinets get unpleasant – one of the reasons that I much prefer this area to be left empty. I also, after a thorough clean, line the whole area with cheap kitchen foil that I tape down at each end – when cleaning time rolls around again I can roll up the foil to recycle and replace almost without any cleaning at all!

Cheryl
2 months ago
Reply to  Sally

Thanks for ideas for covering the area above the cabinets. Laminate, newspapers, and foil. All great ideas that I will make use of! Thank you all!

CW
2 months ago

I have this problem with cupboards and a vaulted ceiling. Plants – nope – too hard to climb on the counters with a full pitcher of water. Cookbooks, often used bowls or dishes, and even cake plates and water pitchers also involved climbing on the counter. I am 5′ 1″, but my much taller husband couldn’t reach things without a stool. We finally put up a few big decorative urns and pictures so I only clean up there twice a year or so. It’s a disgusting, greasy, grimy dust, but my little cat LOVES to sleep up there. She jumps from the floor to the counter, to the fridge top, to the cupboard tops. So cute to see those little black ears sticking up. We just take the good with the bad.

Maile Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  CW

Wow! Just make sure the kitty doesn’t land on any HOT surfaces by accident🙄🙏❤️

Margaret
2 months ago
Reply to  CW

So does mine! She has a bed on top of the fridge, but she often goes higher.
And that’s also where the Invisible Martians must hang out, because she runs back and forth every night, chasing them away and keeping us safe.

Alison
2 months ago
Reply to  CW

Ahahaha this comment gives me traumatic flashbacks! My mom was a realtor and growing up… well, say “hi” to her cleaning lady for homes going to market, or especially after owner move out. One particularly memorable home involved cleaning a large amount of cat ‘business’ off the top of open kitchen cabinets. Ugh and they were cooking in there!!

A good friend of mine and I really did see it all over the years though – cue montage of pulling used feminine hygiene products out of bathroom drawers. If I made a graph of the house price and the shape the home was left in, the more expensive the house… the more disgusting it was to clean. Ugh.

Caroline Charles
2 months ago
Reply to  Alison

My favourite thing I’ve ever cleaned out of a house….. A used pregnancy test. Mmmmm hmmmmm.

Kara
2 months ago
Reply to  CW

My cats like to hang out up there too! And then instead of backtracking from fridge to counter on the way back down sometimes they just jump right to the floor, or slide down the front and give me palpitations LOL

Amy
2 months ago

In an ideal world, cabinets would go all the way to the top. In my real world, I store my collection of white cake plates up there. Mostly because I have kind of a lot. They DEFINITELY have to be scrubbed before use.

Overly decorating this area is too reminiscent of the 1980s for me. And like everyone else said, this area is YUCKY so a hard pass on plants or books. Even baskets are kind of gross to me. And the plants get their leaves all sticky.

PS – I think your pottery collection is fine up there. Easy to wash and you don’t need to use it often. I think it’s bugging you because they aren’t all cohesive so I would take down that glass jar and stick to similar colors (all grays and black so no to the terra cotta) and then similar shape (no to the slinky sculpture). I think you’re close to it being fine. You just have a few outliers that are a little jarring to the eye.

Kiana
2 months ago

I’m sure this is an unpopular opinion, but I liked it just the way you had it. Kitchens are utilitarian spaces. Important, wonderful things are done there with kitchen instruments. It’d be like worrying that your shed didn’t look pretty because the lawn mower was showing. I’m not a designer though (obviously!) so how something looks is only of secondary importance to me after the first question: does this make sense for how I use this space?

Kara
2 months ago

Yes I scrolled back a few times looking for the “bad photo” but your kitchen is really beautiful as-is!

Christy
2 months ago

Ahh this might be the first design post I’ve read that makes me feel inspired about that little space above the cabinets instead of ashamed of it! I like the way you have it now, tbh, but also love the idea of plants.

Reply to  Christy

Totally agree! I know it’s a “design don’t” but instead of being shamed I’m inspired! Thanks EHD!

Julia
2 months ago

Thanks for this post which is renter-friendly and great for those of us not able to drop lots of cash on custom cabinets. I’m feeling inspired and excited to see what you come up with. Only one piece of feedback–it’s PARED back, not paired back (like a paring knife…) 😉

Jessica
2 months ago

We also need the storage space AND I feel like it looks too cluttered to use it for storage (‘cause the things we need to store aren’t attractive), so I’ve just avoided the area entirely 😛 If we ever get around to remodeling the kitchen we’re just taking the cabinets to the ceiling

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with, though!

Dionne
2 months ago
Reply to  Jessica

I agree with Amy: too much stuff looks outdated. Lose the terra cotta and white, and possibly the shallower pieces…also the slinky – it’s cute but doesn’t work there. Then work with what you have left…and not necessarily all evenly spaced out. The tall black pitcher on the right needs to be moved to the left side. Err on the side of less – not more – so it doesn’t look cluttered. Personally, I’ve always loved decorating above my cupboards as it’s a place where I can put stuff that won’t go anywhere else. And then if it doesn’t go there, then I get rid of it. Best to you!

Maya
2 months ago

One thought about plants: a succulent would probably not work because they need a lot of pretty direct light. My personal favorite: pornos! It thrives on neglect and low light!

Maya
2 months ago
Reply to  Maya

Hahahahaha omg that comment took an unintended turn… POTHOS!! POTHOS!! POTHOS!!!

Rusty
2 months ago
Reply to  Maya

😹😹

Caity
2 months ago
Reply to  Maya

Lol I’m pretty sure pornos also thrive on neglect and low light…hehehe…

Cris S.
2 months ago
Reply to  Maya

I needed a laugh this morning and that DEFINITELY supplied one! And yes, they thrive on low light!

Megan
2 months ago
Reply to  Maya

This was the best “damn you, autocorrect!” Thank you for the laugh. 😊

Elizabeth Neary
2 months ago
Reply to  Maya

50 Shades of Grey ? The kitchen or the Pornos 😂

Nina
2 months ago

If you do want to add some plants, there are three things which I learned you should consider
– usually the space above your cabinets gets little natural light, so your new plant babies should thrive in the shade or at least tolerates it very well
– heat rises, so plant babies should handle drying out pretty well
– any overhanging plants will get its leaves stuck behind the cabinet doors, so maybe not the best idea for high-use cabinets unless you want to faff around with the leaves whenever you need to get something.

Which plants can you put up there? Honestly no idea, I just noticed the plants I put above my cabinets didn’t do very well so I had to find new spots for them.

Annie
2 months ago

Same. Exact. Problem. Things in our kitchen live up there because they don’t fit in cabinets. What’s working for us is to line up one bowl above one cabinet door and I have a string of white Christmas lights that runs along the back (you can’t see the lights themselves) so they are all evenly displayed and lit ever so slightly and it sounds nuts but it works. Gives them sort of a museum display or at least makes it look purposeful and not just where I jammed stuff. I also like the soft light in general.

For the grease issue, it’s a thing, but I just wash each of the items before I use it. I wouldn’t put cookbooks up there.

We also have a slim folding stool that slots in next to the fridge so that it’s easy to reach the things up there.

Good luck!

Lisa
2 months ago

I think it is super important to note that “storage of things that don’t fit elsewhere” and “styling” are two opposing notions. Your kitchen photo shows things up there that you needed to find space for. With maybe the exception of the last inspo photo showing the cookbooks, all the inspo photos show decorative styling – things that are there to look good! I love Orlondo’s photo for example, but like he didn’t NEED to find a spot for that amazing hand because he uses it weekly in the kitchen ;). There is definitely a place for styling for the sake of styling, but when you need space for your stuff, sometimes it’s just gonna look like stuff.

Kendra
2 months ago

I have a half-vaulted ceiling in my kitchen, and I tried for a long time to make a cool vignette or art display, and nothing ever looked right, so now I just tucked a roll of old ikea aisle lights along the back edge of the cabinets, and it adds some nice, warm glowy ambiance up there without any visual clutter. Not that that helps with storage…

love the look of the plants, but i would totally not want to water them. so, that’s a no for me. my favorite is the art up there, specifically emily’s old kitchen. love!

Karla
2 months ago

I’ll ditto that things stored on top of kitchen cabinets will get greasy dusty. I have a vintage cookie jar collection that I display on my upper cabinets. 🙂

Ann
2 months ago

When I was a renter with too few cabinets and a need to store a large pressure cooker, glass jars, etc for canning, I created this solution: I bought track for sliding doors to create a whole new level of cupboard up there, covering the doors with wallpaper so it visually immitated a soffit. The cost was very low (possibly less than $25 now). I used “masonite” for the doors, both cheap and easy to cut. The track was inexpensive and easy to attach to both the top of the cabinet and the ceiling with tiny nails or screws. The doors protected the things stored there from the greasy goo of time, and wiped clean. In your case, you could make the doors match the dark grey of the lower cabinets so they are visually regressive and let the rest of your kitchen be the star. You won’t have to worry about pricier pretty things, just put big stuff up there. Your big bowl can stand up. I now use the small above cabinet space in my kitchen to store a large tureen. It’s simple lines look nice, it can go in the dishwasher and it’s not taking up cabinet… Read more »

Susan
2 months ago

My honey is amazing in the kitchen, she has a lot of gadgets and items that are special use. We did 2 things. 1. If it gets used once a year or less, we decide if its really worth keeping or not- can we borrow the needed item from a friend? Gift or not, if its not in regular rotation we donate. 2. We have a kitchen closet that we added floor to ceiling shelves on both sides to hold all of our gadgets. Its not in the kitchen or anywhere near the kitchen, but its dedicated to ALL of her kitchen stuff that’s not used daily. Its not a big deal to pull out what we are using that day from the kitchen closet and walk it to the kitchen. Even if the items live on the counter for a few days, it does have a home and we can put it back to make space in our tiny kitchen. Once we got over the idea that kitchen stuff had to be stored in or near the kitchen, it was much easier to make our space work. All daily use items live in the kitchen, the rest lives in… Read more »

2 months ago

This approach is very ’80… it’s ok for some areas around the house to stay empty. Especially this specific area above the kitchen wall cabinets.

2 months ago
Reply to  Elinor

Also, with a proper design those “left-over” areas shouldn’t be there to begin with.

Cb
2 months ago

Get a bookshelf or cabinet with clear glass doors to store your big bowls and serve ware, and leave it the above the cabinet space empty. Like everyone else is saying, it’s just not practical to store items you use above your cabinets because of the grease and dust collection.

Theresa
2 months ago

Here’s some suggestions. I always fill that area above my cabinets with fake leaf bushes (that look real) that you can purchase at a craft store like Michael’s, JoAnns, Hobby Lobby, etc. Just lay them flat and slightly hanging on each corner of your cabinet. I saw this trick in a lot of model homes. No need to water anything. Then elevate some of your vases to show them off. Use old books or cardboard boxes underneath them. Add some baskets on its side that you can lean against the wall with the opening facing you or if you have serving plates that need a home. I also added fake red grapes and a wine bottle holder to give it a more wine vineyard look (we like wines). Hope this helps. Send me an email and I can share a picture of what I did. I can’t wait to see what you do. Good luck!

Rusty
2 months ago

Mallory, what you’ve done looks fine! 😊 I dunno about all the greasy grime concerns though, I have baskets on top of some (one houses champagne corks that must be accurately thrown up and into one basket, other bits n bobs in other baskets), I clean up there twice a year – it’s not within reach without a chair/step stool, and honestly, it’s not that dirty. A bit of dust is all. But, it’s not near the stove – not that I ever deep fry anything, plus I’m vegetarian so things aren’t generally grease-ridden anyway. The easiest no-brainer plant to keep up high in so-so light for people without green thumbs is: a SWEET POTATO VINE! Seriously. You don’t need to water for a couple of months at a time and then you’re just topping up water like you do in a vase. Cut the end or ends off the Sweet Potato. Put them in a vessel that holds water. Add water so 1/3 of the cut side is in the water … watch it grow! You’ll need to maybe have it hanging down the side of the fridge cabinet or semi-in front of the open shelves… but it’ll add… Read more »

BH
2 months ago
Reply to  Rusty

Hello Rusty, wow I am intrigued by this…. this is probably a really dumb question but does it then grow more sweet potatoes… or just the vine?!

Rusty
2 months ago
Reply to  BH

Just the vine. They last for aaaages. You can add a tiny, like pinch, of sugat every 2 months if they look sad, but generally, they grow just in water and are lush, green, living things!
Try it out and see.🤗

Heather
2 months ago

I’m team nothing on top but just because I was traumatized by that fake greenery of the 90’s that everyone used up there – like the garland stuff. Also, I’m sure other commenters have mentioned how gross it gets up there. So dusty and sticky, especially if you’re cooking often.

However, I know you need the extra storage space, but again, I vote keep it minimal. A few big interesting shaped bowls, etc. Cookbooks will get dirty fast. And maybe just one or two real plants. When it comes to developing your green thumb, the Planta app is so helpful. It’s free and will send you notifications on when to water your plants and watering tips. It is beyond helpful, and my plants are now thriving.

Jill
2 months ago

I love this post and it has me thinking what I co do to make my above the Cabinet storage more attractive. Currently I have my cake stand collection up there and glassware i don’t use except for holidays.
I think breaking it up with a variety of materials would go a long way. A plant and a stack of cookbooks would go a long way.

R
2 months ago

Living in southern California, it’s always in the back of my mind that items placed high become projectiles during an earthquake. Secured pictures and lightweight baskets can be safer options.

Caitlin
2 months ago

We are moving to a new house, and for the first time, we have space above the cabinets. My husband asked me what we’d do, and I said, “Let me check Emily Henderson[’s blog]!” And then this was on the home page hahaha. So thank you for this serendipitous timing!!

I’m thinking cookie jar, some landscape paintings if they’ll fit, and some sculptural items. I’m with you on the plants. I’d like one or two, but I’m not confident in my plant care to keep them alive.

mila iney
2 months ago

came here to say exactly what everyone has said about the cookbooks, please don’t put them up there.
After dealing with the ick that formed in everything placed up there, an easy solution was to paint the back wall in a shade matching the cabinets to make us seem a more intentional empty area. This has worked great and has meant little cleaning. You could probably do it in the same shade as the small side shelves and that would make your current items look in place.

Chris
2 months ago

I tried this years ago. Hassle getting a step stool out to put things up and take them down. Dust, grease, cobwebs stick to everything up there and clean that spacewalk hard for me to reach even with a step stool. I tried fake greenery up there but my cats would jump up there and knock it down. Then I had a collection of Shiela’s wooden house cutouts I set up there. They got so grimy I took them down. Now 3 of my cats have claimed the space. I figure if it doesn’t fit in my cabinets or pantry cabinet I will never use it.

Joanne E. L.
2 months ago

I keep small electric appliances there (slow cooker, roaster, etc.) but I had identical covers made for them all that match my décor), and that keeps everything neat.

Sara Valverde
2 months ago

Cookbooks would look nice but I would worry that they would get full of grime up there.

Deanna Jolly
2 months ago

A collection of colored bottles with a string of battery powered lights behind them. Arrange the light string so you can reach it without climbing.
Waaalaaaa!

Emma
2 months ago
Reply to  Deanna Jolly

That gives me a flashback to frat houses using empty bottles of Jager above the cabinets as decor 😂

Alicia
2 months ago

We have vaulted ceilings with several feet above our cabinets. I’ve always wanted to do something with that space, but nothing seems to work. We have crown moulding that creates an extra challenge. The bottom 4 inches of things are invisible and retrieving items is extra difficult. I’ve used plants in the past, but watering is a problem. Pothos has been the best, but we can’t see the actual vines half the time because of the moulding…

2 months ago

After years of fighting with cleaning the literal grease dust on plants, heavily used items , etc… I have settled for a strand of white lights with colored jars and bottles and a cake stand that has no where else to live. It’s simple, everything it very easily cleaned and pretty minimal. Plus the added soft lighting up there is nice.

I highly discourage silk plants unless you enjoy scrubbing tiny leave and petals 🤮 they get so gross. Been there, hated that.

Oh one more thing , I cover the top of the cake stand and unlidded jars in saran wrap for when I need to use them – it cuts down on scrubbing later.

Kara
2 months ago
Reply to  Emily E Brown

I do the same thing with the saran wrap up there!

Judi C.
2 months ago

Not knowing the dimensions of that space makes this idea awkward, but finding a cabinet topper might work. Possibly from the same cabinet line? If not, perhaps a contrast? You could take a 9″ vertical cabinet, turn it horizontal and add bin hinges so the door lifts up. Anything to street clear of kitchen grease fly paper.

O juice
2 months ago

Fake succulents in a colorful flower pot is a good choice. Easier to clean due to fatter/bigger leaves. Also move to corner so less greasy residue. Works well for a pop of nature/color.

Asha jain
2 months ago

Spraying something called w d 40 can help with sticky grease?

Anna Harbourne
2 months ago

We also have a tiny kitchen. Had to remove one of the plinths to fix a leak and realised how being able to see below the cabinets made the floor (and the whole kitchen) look bigger! We removed all the plinths and covered the adjustable legs to look like wooden ones. We now have bonus storage space where unattractive or seldom used items can be stowed out of sight.

Val
2 months ago

It’s funny that I found this! I’m tired of the stuff on top of my cabinets and my cabinets and kitchen in general! We’re in the process of renovating our entire house and I am overwhelmed with it all!! When it comes time to do the kitchen, I don’t want upper cabinets period! I’m only 5 foot tall and I can’t reach the top of them anyway, and I believe if you have upper cabinets then they need to go all the way to the top with no space for nasty, gross, grime to lurk. If you have to have “the space” then here are a few ideas, just please don’t put the fake plastic greenery up there, that’s so dated and old, and I promise no one will have the heart to tell you this but they will sure be thinking it, did her grandma come and put this here and she’s just being nice by leaving it up there, or has she lost her mind and her sense of style left with her it, because that plastic pretend green stuff up there is not working for her! Anyway, I would maybe have like shadow boxes the size of… Read more »

Susanna
2 months ago

Do nothing.
I’m not buying stuff to fill a space
when having some openness and
breathing room can work fine.

Malini
2 months ago

After years of cleaning the tops of my cupboards which ended up with dust, grease, cobwebs😳😱, I’ve decided that best course of action is to actually panel all the way to the ceiling. Unless, you clean, frequently, it’s soul destroying.

emily jane
2 months ago

*first thought (haven’t read all of post/comments -yet ; )

Decide WHAT you need stored up above
then, style around those necessities.
I’ve found that coaxing more function out of an under-utilized space can be a thrill all on it’s own (like, the space shines in gratitude of being used and thus, ‘seen’ for it’s potential..?).

Cheryl
2 months ago

I also have space above my kitchen cabinets. I will warn you that, like mine, your space includes area above your stove and microwave. Therefore, your steam and grease will accumulate up there. This makes the items up there quite gross after just a short time. If you are going to place items you will be using, rather than just decor pieces, be prepared to wash them before using them. As for cookbooks you want to use and keep, I wouldn’t put them up there. There is a good chance they will get destroyed. Good luck with your decorating!

Emma
2 months ago

My rental has a soffit above the cabinets, thank god. One less surface for me to clean, and it’s not storage I could easily reach anyway. If I were renovating a kitchen I’d go with a soffit or full height cabinets for sure. I store large, infrequently used appliances and pots and pans in the back of my base cabinets – keeps frequently used items from getting shoved to the back, and I can get to them when I need them. I keep cookbooks on my bookshelves since I don’t browse through them in the kitchen anyway, and I want them to stay clean! I don’t have a lot of space so it definitely takes some editing, but I’d prefer to have a small collection of things I love and actually use.

Caroline Charles
2 months ago

Wine! Wine! Wine!

The Kitten Abides
2 months ago

Not good actually, because heat rises and wine stored up there will be ruined. But empty wine bottles with cool labels might work!

Carmen Kittelson
2 months ago

Yes I like the wine idea!

Pat McRee
2 months ago

What’s to keep you from hanging a couple of those pitchers from a hook on the ceiling just to make people go hmmmm?! If there’s space and you have 2 pitchers alike but different shades, let one be slightly behind the other…like a shadow.

Ann
2 months ago

I found the top of kitchen cabinets were awful to keep clean so when I was putting in a new kitchen I came across a brilliant solution: tall wall units. Just does away with the whole storage problem area altogether.

Donna
2 months ago

First off I think the cabinets should g all the way to ceilings. Seems somewhere someone thought they could save a bit of money by not putting full cabinets in then it became a thing. I have noticed where you are seeing it less and less with new or remodeled kitchens. Anyway glad my cabinets reach the ceiling and I can hide all my stuff in them behind doors. Just my thought.

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