Your kitchen counter decor can have such an impact on the look and feel of your kitchen. It can elevate your space, or it can really drag it down.
When it comes to kitchen counter decor, most people get so overwhelmed between trying to balance aesthetics with functionality that their counters just kind of become a cluttered mess. Your kitchen is probably actually nicer than you realize, and it might just need a bit of editing and styling to put its best foot forward. Here are some of my favorite decorating ideas for kitchen countertops to get you planning for this super easy, instant upgrade for the most-used space in your home.
All photos in this article are by Art & Spaces Photography, designers and cabinet makers are as noted for each photo. In the photo above: Design by Erin Vandersluis Design, cabinetry by Windmill Cabinets.
Simplify Your Counter Decor
The first step in any decoration project should always be to simplify things and remove anything unnecessary or unsightly. There are probably quite a few items on your countertops that have been there for awhile. You may not even notice these things anymore, but they’re contributing to the cluttered, disjointed look of the space. Pay close attention to any favorite drop zones around your kitchen as well as window sills, which always seem to collect all kinds of tiny pieces of this and that. Clear, open counters are always pleasing and soothing to the eye, and they certainly make it easier to cook and prepare food. Cabinetry by Oak Barrel Cabinetry.
More expert home advice: How High Should a Chandelier Hang Over a Table?
Ground a Grouping With Charcuterie Boards
To avoid the look of too many small pieces, whether decorative or useful, floating around on your worktop, group items together and ground them by placing cutting boards and charcuterie boards behind. This works particularly well next to a stove as it helps solidify that part of the kitchen as a main focal point. Charcuterie boards are also very useful for adding interest if you haven’t picked out the tiles for your backsplash yet and just have plain drywall behind your counters. Cabinetry by Oak Barrel Cabinetry.
Make your own countertop decor: DIY Oversized Charcuterie Board
Take Advantage of the Canister Trend
Canister sets are a big trend right now, and they instantly add a polished, cohesive decorative element to your counters while also keeping ingredients and dry goods tidy and tucked away. The best canister sets for an elevated, decorated look are sleek and modern, without any extra lettering or flashy patterns. Design by CM Planning and Design, cabinetry by Oak Barrel Cabinetry.
Best kitchen storage ideas for this hardworking space: Kitchen Organization Essentials That Will Stand the Test of Time
A Crock of Utensils Adds Functional Beauty
A lot of modern kitchens have hidden storage components in their cabinetry right next to the cooktop, but there’s just something so easy about being able to grab that wooden spoon out of a utensil holder right next to the range. It also happens to look just right, and often that area can look like it’s missing something without that handy little container sitting out. Cabinetry by Oak Barrel Cabinetry.
More contemporary kitchen storage ideas for your dream kitchen: Favorite Built-In Cabinetry Storage Solutions
A Mortar and Pestle Hints at Culinary Skills
Displaying a mortar and pestle on your counter suggests there’s a chef in the house and hints at the delicious dishes being prepared in the heart of the home. Even if you’re not the most confident home cook, seeing the mortar and pestle out might inspire you to try something a little more adventurous when it comes to your cooking. Design and build by Birch Point Homes.
See also: Top Ten Classic Style Thrift Store Finds
Unexpected Art is Always a Good Idea
While the kitchen might not be the first place that you think of for displaying decorative art, there’s something so delightful about seeing a small painting or a piece of sculpture displayed in this room that’s usually reserved for more utilitarian purposes. It’s a styling trick being used constantly by high-end designers when they’re styling a kitchen, and it’s one you can easily copy in your home. Renovation by Kevin Vreman Construction, cabinetry by Windmill Cabinets
More modern kitchen design ideas for your remodel: How to Plan for a Non-Boring White Kitchen
Fill Shelves Sparingly to Balance Kitchen Counter Decor
Use restraint when styling any open shelves in your kitchen so they don’t compete with the decor on your worktop. A few everyday necessities such as glassware, some favorite cookbooks, and a decorative item or two are all you need to make your open shelving sing. Design by CM Planning and Design, cabinetry by Oak Barrel Cabinetry.
More expert design tips for your new kitchen makeover: Black Kitchen Cabinet Ideas for Your Renovation
Add a Cookbook Stand Next to the Range
A cookbook stand is a beautiful way to display a favorite recipe page in a cookbook, and it’s incredibly helpful when it comes time to cook. Don’t bother putting the book and the stand away when they’re not in use; they’re the perfect piece of simple and eye-catching kitchen counter decor for an empty corner or next to the cooktop. Cabinetry by IDSCCC.
More room design help: 5 Things to Know Before You Buy a Ruggable
Essential Kitchen Counter Decor: The Island Needs a Centrepiece
If you really want to elevate the look of your kitchen, you need a beautiful, attention-grabbing centrepiece on the island, if you have one. A big vase of fresh greenery, either from the florist or foraged from outside, is always a reliable choice, but you could also have a beautiful houseplant specimen or a large bowl of fruit. Cabinetry by Oak Barrel Cabinetry.
More design inspiration for white cabinets: The Best White and Wood Kitchen Cabinetry Ideas
Add Touches of Green All Around
The eye is naturally drawn to plants and greenery as a comfortable resting place, so be sure to bring a little life to your kitchen counter decor by adding a small touch of something green in a few different places around the room. A little plant near the sink, a vase of greenery or a floral arrangement on the island, and a small herb pot in a third location of your choosing always seem right in an average-sized space. Cabinetry by Oak Barrel Cabinetry.
More creative kitchen ideas: Blue and White Kitchen Cabinet Ideas for Your Renovation or New-Build
Upgrade Sink-Side Necessities
Every kitchen sink needs the basics of washing up, like dish soap, hand soap, a dish brush, and a beautiful faucet. Wash your hands of the threat of a depressing view by getting rid of all those brightly colored plastic bottles with loud labels and upgrade to a wooden dish brush and more pleasing soap bottles, or decant your dish soap into a beautiful refillable dispenser. A tray or small board will help make things look tidier and more purposefully styled. Cabinetry by Windmill Cabinets.
More design ideas for your kitchen: A Farmhouse Sink Actually Works in Any Style Kitchen and Here’s Proof
Display Items in Pairs or Threes for More Impact
When you decorate kitchen counters with similar or identical items in groups of two or three, things feel complete, calm, and streamlined. Decorative pieces can be exactly the same, such as using two identical salt and pepper cellars on a small tray or a few jars in a row. They can also be a grouping of items tied together by a common trait, such as colors, materials, or textures. Cabinetry by Oak Barrel Cabinetry.
Get more kitchen decorating tips: Top Five Styling Tricks to Make Your Kitchen Magazine-Worthy
The 10 Best Washable Rugs for 2023
Washable rugs have been so popular over the last few years for good reason. They’ve now flooded the market, and there are so many options available!
Expert picks for the top washable rugs: 10 Best Washable Rugs for 2023
How to Dry Hydrangeas Perfectly Every Time
Hydrangeas are everyone’s favorite summer flower, but they have so much to offer in the fall and winter as well if you know this quick and easy method for drying them.
See the tutorial: How to Dry Hydrangeas Perfectly Every Time
How to Care for Fresh Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus is a popular choice for home decor, from large arrangements on kitchen islands to small bundles of dried eucalyptus tied in bundles and hung in the shower for an aromatic experience. Learn how to properly care for it so it lasts as long as possible the next time you buy a fresh bundle from the flower shop.
Learn the tricks: How to Care for Fresh Eucalyptus
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.