Updated: Nov 23
Wondering how to decorate the space above kitchen cabinets? Read this!
People often struggle with ideas for how to decorate the space above kitchen cabinets because it can be quite restrictive and hard to reach.
Most kitchens have wall-hung cupboards, and with them comes an often awkward space created by the gap between the cupboard tops and the ceiling. The problem arises from the cupboards needing to be positioned at a practical height to allow access to their top shelves without using a ladder, which is often a foot or more below the ceiling. Not only practicality but also aesthetics dictate the cupboard height, as positioning the cupboards too high would upset the room's proportions.
15 ways to use the awkward space between kitchen cabinets and the ceiling
So we understand why the awkward space is there, but how on earth should we decorate it?
I’ve rounded up a wide variety of ideas and inspiration for how to decorate above kitchen cabinets in the hope that there will be at least one to suit every kitchen style and budget. I’ve also included some simple styling ideas as well as some more involved decorating/DIY projects.
1. Store Books in the space
Books fit nicely into the space above kitchen cupboards and can become a stylish feature if sorted into colour groups and sizes to create a considered display. Cookbooks are the obvious choice as they will then be close at hand when it comes to cooking up a storm.
It’s a good idea to keep books as far away from the hob as possible to avoid them getting greasy, but aside from that, books are easy to store on top of the kitchen cabinets.
2. Create an above-cupboard wine store
Bottles of wine are ideal for decorating the gap between your kitchen cabinets and ceiling because they are small and can be stored flat. Wine racks that stack (like the ones shown) are a brilliant way to maximise the storage in this space.
3. Add rustic Storage baskets
Storage baskets offer a way to make full use of the space above your kitchen cabinets without them looking messy and cluttered. Rustic baskets like jute or seagrass provide interesting textures which I’m a huge fan of, especially in a kitchen with a white or neutral colour palette.
4. Use fairy lights to create an ambience
Positioning fairy lights in the gap above kitchen cupboards is a great way to make a feature of the space without lots of ‘stuff’. Twinkling fairy lights can set the mood, especially if you have a kitchen diner so will be sitting in view of the space above the kitchen cabinets. Use battery-operated fairy lights if no plug sockets are free or within close enough range and buy a set that comes with a remote control for ease of operation.
5. Wire Storage baskets
Wire storage baskets are perfect for creating a more industrial-style look when decorating above your kitchen cabinets. As you can see the objects stored in a wire basket, you need to pick storage items that won’t look unsightly or like you’ve just jammed all your junk in a wire basket and bunged it on top of your cupboards! Neatly folded table linens work well or neatly labelled jars and other pantry-style items.
6. Go natural with fabric storage baskets
The baskets shown are designed to be used for laundry, but I think they’d be perfect for providing extra storage (out of view, so no need to worry about what you’re storing this time - phew!) on top of kitchen cupboards. They have playful labels like ‘Stuff’, ‘things’ ‘etc’ which give a relaxed family kitchen feel. They are made from jute, so would work in a few different kitchen styles: traditional, farmhouse and black and white for example.
7. Style with artificial plants
Although real plants are better for your health and well-being, not everyone is capable of keeping them alive in their home. I count myself in this group as I’m totally useless at watering houseplants and they nearly always die. If this predicament sounds familiar then a good idea for how to decorate the space above your kitchen cabinets is to opt for artificial plants. Artificial plants are easy to clean (giving them a dunk in the bath or sink should do the trick) and can be relied upon to provide a healthy green colour all year round with little to no effort required on your part.
8. Dried flowers
If the thought of plastic artificial plants doesn’t work with your eco- credentials or perhaps you consider them a design crime. Whatever the reason, opting for dried flowers is a good way to embrace botanical styling in a low-effort way with little to no ongoing maintenance required.
To save money, you could forage a collection of flowers to dry yourself and it’s a good excuse to get out in nature and enjoy some fresh air while you’re at it.
9. Use art to create an eye-catching feature
If you are lucky enough to have tall ceilings then you might be able to display some stylish artwork to decorate the space above your kitchen cabinets.
10. Collect your cake stands
I love cake stands, there’s something quite fanciful about them, they can really elevate a table display or afternoon tea setting & they make great gifts. The only issue I have is that they can be quite bulky and are hard to store. Our cupboards are usually crammed full of kitchenware and I struggle to find space to squeeze in a cake stand. The obvious answer is to use cakestands to decorate the space above your kitchen cabinets as this removes the storage issue and as cake stands are usually pretty they provide some ceramic loveliness to look at above the cabinets.
11. Upcycled jars
Saving glass jars is always a good idea, as there are so many ways to use them, but as your collection grows, storage space can become an issue and the space above your cabinets could provide the perfect place to keep them. To prevent them from looking untidy, sort them into groups so it looks considered rather than just dumped on top of the cupboards, size, shape or colour are good ways to categorise them. Once you have a collection of empty glass jars, be sure to use my tutorial to create stylish pantry storage with them - it's a great upcycle project.
12. Real plants
Real plants are so useful around the home, not only do they look cool and provide pops of beautiful colour, they also improve the quality of the air and can even help in the battle against condensation and mould. Real plants are a good way to decorate the space above your kitchen cabinets as they can drape over the sides of the cabinets softening the lines, but you'll want to keep them away from the cabinet door so they don't get in the way.
13. Leave clear for clean lines
If your kitchen is sleek and modern or leaning towards the minimalist way of things, then your best bet might actually be to leave the space clear and free from objects, decorative or otherwise. There are a couple of exceptions here, namely the stackable wine racks we looked at earlier as these work in a modern-style kitchen and the other exception is a piece of paper. Don’t worry, I haven’t lost my mind! You’ll see why with our next idea…
14. Piece of paper (cleaning hack)
Lining the top of your cupboards with paper is a great little cleaning hack to catch any dust, dirt and grease that might settle. You can easily remove the paper every few weeks and replace with another and this saves any elbow grease from being required to clean the cabinet tops. Now you see why a piece of paper might be all you need when you’re wondering how to decorate the space above your kitchen cabinets.
15. Fill the gap
If you’re wondering how to decorate the space above kitchen cabinets, but you are actually quite prone to using the gap as a dumping ground for clutter (I’m speaking from experience here!), then decorating might not be the best approach.
Filling in the gap above your kitchen cabinets stops dirt and dust from accumulating and ensures a neat, clean line without any clutter. I recently filled in the gap between my kitchen cabinets and the ceiling with fluted MDF panels as part of my DIY kitchen makeover and I’m so glad I did.
Thanks for reading. Let me know if you try any of these ideas.
For more ideas and inspiration, don't forget to subscribe to my monthly newsletters (scroll down to the bottom of the page for the box.