Kitchen Counter Decorating Ideas

kitchen counter decorating ideas, showing a leaf print, red dutch oven and cutting boards on gray kitchen counters with a white tile backsplash

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In this post, I’m sharing some easy and practical kitchen counter decorating ideas.

In the past, I found myself kind of struggling with how to decorate our galley style kitchen countertops. After moving things here and there, decluttering, and figuring out how we generally use the space – we finally hit that sweet spot. I’ve learned so much over the years and happy to share my styling ideas with you all here.

kitchen counter decorating ideas, showing a leaf print, red dutch oven and cutting boards on gray kitchen counters with a white tile backsplash

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Kitchen counter Decorating ideas

I’m really big on functionality, especially within the kitchen. So before we get to the ideas, I think it’s important for you to note how you use your kitchen. Where do you find yourself prepping meals? Where do you make your coffee in the morning? What appliances do you seem to use every single day?

Once you have this information, it will be easy to set up “zones” and organize your kitchen to better suit you and your family’s needs. You can make your kitchen not only look beautiful and decorated but also totally functional for your lifestyle.

Call this personal preference, but I’m no longer a fan of the stark kitchen counters (with nothing on them!) Yes, I want them neat and clean and clutter free, but not empty. Part of interior styling is telling a story and proving that yes – there is a living, breathing person there with personality. What you put out in your home is a reflection of who you are. What do you want your kitchen to say about you?

With that being said – let’s get to these kitchen counter decor ideas.

1. Small Appliances

So let’s start off with a big one. As a former Realtor, I always told my seller clients the same four things when they were selling:

  1. Put everything but the coffee maker away.
  2. Keep accessories to a minimum.
  3. Always have fresh flowers or greenery out.
  4. Take all the magnets off your fridge. (this one makes a huge difference!)

And my stance on that has not changed much. But obviously, if you’re not selling your home, you can lighten up on the rules a bit. I think a couple of small appliances are totally fine to decorate your countertops with. In fact, if you find you use your toaster every morning, then by all means – keep it out. (Especially if you have a really cool SMEG toaster!)

I also think coffee makers are a wonderful way to “decorate” in a kitchen. The coffeemakers today can really be showpieces. And coffee bars are as popular as ever! If you use a french press or a pour over, then set it out on a beautiful tray with other coffee accessories. This gives it more of a collected feel.

But keep it minimal! You start to run into trouble when you have a toaster, a toaster oven, a blender, an instant pot, a mixer, and a coffee maker all out on the counters. Keep the other appliances put away but easily accessible. I keep my toaster in a pull-out cabinet. All I have to do is open the cabinet and pull the toaster right out.

Expert Tip: Keep appliances on the counters to a minimum, two or three max.

2. Trays & pedestals

Pedestals and trays are some of my favorite decor items to use in a kitchen! Actually they are my favorite to use anywhere in the house. These items help pull like items together and take away that cluttered aspect. It’s amazing how a look is so much more pulled together when a tray is involved.

Here are some ways to use trays in your kitchen.

  • As stated above, create a coffee zone by corralling mugs, sugar, coffee and your coffeemakers together.
  • Use them next to the stove to hold cooking oils and salt and pepper shakers or cooking utensils.
  • Create a bar area by setting a few of your favorite liquors and wines on a tray. A small bud vase filled with flowers is a nice touch here as well.
Oil and Vinegar cruets on a wood pedestal.

And think outside the box when using trays! I actually used a chip and dip basket tray to hold bar accessories and a long skinny plate to hold my cooking oils and salt box. Basket trays are pretty because they add texture to your counters too.

Expert Tip: Use skinny plates or small wood boards as “trays”. Work with what you have before purchasing new.

3. Cookbooks

Cookbooks not only give a kitchen color, but they also inject some life into it. I can still remember the smell and feel of my grandmother’s cookbooks in her kitchen. Some of the pages were tattered and others were dog eared, but to me, it was so homey and classic.

Stand some cookbooks up on the counter between the wall and canisters, or between two sets of objects; like a bowl and recipe tin.

Cookbooks and canisters on a kitchen counter

You can also buy a beautiful cookbook stand and sit this in the corner of your kitchen area. Open it up to a beautiful page of food photography or your favorite recipe.

Not into cooking? What about a cocktail recipe book for your bar area?

Expert Tip: Sprinkle cookbooks throughout the kitchen or sandwich them between two items – like a plant and a cake stand. Lay a few vertically and horizontally on open shelving to fill in spaces and give smaller items some height.

4. Tiered Canisters

Canisters are one of the décor items that are also really functional. Because duh, you can store things in them! I keep a set of clear canisters for food items like oatmeal, pasta, and rice. Another set of white canisters holds baking materials, like flour and brown sugar.

kitchen counter decorating ideas, showing a leaf print, red dutch oven and cutting boards on gray kitchen counters with a white tile backsplash

You can either display them in a row or group them together and place in a corner. It’s a great way to fill those awkward corner spaces on your kitchen countertops.

A group of 3 canisters is usually best because it’s more pleasing to the eye. You can always find a “middle” with three items and that’s why it’s so appealing.

Canisters can be found everywhere and are pretty inexpensive! Check my sources below for some of my favorite budget-friendly canister finds.

Expert Tip: Fill an awkward corner or an empty space on your countertops with a set of three canisters in different sizes.

5. Leaning Artwork

The kitchen counter is a great place to display artwork. I love the look of leaned up artwork on your kitchen countertops or displayed on your open shelving.

And guess what? Leaned artwork also helps to hide those ugly outlets that we have everywhere.

use framed prints leaned against the backsplash to hide ugly outlets

Since you don’t need large art here – I’m talking 5×7’s or 8×10’s – you can pick up a nice, affordable frame from Target or IKEA. Or even thrift one which is my favorite thing to do.

canisters and cutting boards on gray kitchen counters

For artwork – here are some affordable ideas. Etsy is chock full of printable wall art and its super easy to print digital art. And since we are dealing with smaller sizes – you can print yourself or have it printed fairly cheap. Right now, I’m partial to aged watercolor/plein air wall art.

Expert Tip: Lean some artwork against your backsplash or on your open shelving. These give the room color, keep your eye moving and help hide those ugly wall outlets.

6. Pretty Soaps / Dish Brushes

This one is so simple and makes such a difference! And actually, my husband and I have a running joke about it. I’m constantly putting our ugly a$$ Dawn dish soap under the sink. When I need it, I pull it out. My husband, on the other hand, thinks it should be out at all times for convenience. Ughhh – you are not winning this argument babe! 🙂

If you can swing it, try to keep the pretty soap sets out. Williams and Sonoma make a nice set of hand and dish soaps. And you know what? After you finished with the soaps – you can refill them with the cheaper stuff and keep the pretty bottles. So keep that in mind. It’s a great way to keep your budget in check. Buy it once and keep it for life. Or until it gets really disgusting. And pick up a pretty dish brush while you’re at it!

Expert Tip: Buy a nice set of soap once, and then keep refilling it with cheaper, bulk buy soap. Get the look for less.

7. Wood Cutting Boards

Wood boards work in every kitchen! HomeGoods and Amazon are great places to scour for interesting shapes and beautiful wood boards. Or if you can get lucky, try to find a vintage one on Etsy or at a flea market. We frequently use our cutting boards so it’s just so handy to have these out on the counters already. I have one round one that I picked up at HomeGoods a while back and I use it every day.

Cookbooks and canisters on a kitchen counter

I do want to add a few more varied boards, like these pretty wood paddle boards in various sizes.

Expert Tip: Lean different sized cutting boards and wood paddles against the back part of your stove. Two or three is a good number here and mix and match round and rectangular. I also love ones with handles.

8. Pretty Bowls

Bowls are a magical way to decorate counters without really having to think about it. A simple pedestal bowl of fruit, lemons or limes goes a long way with your décor. Or fill a bowl with a simple bunch of dried flowers or greenery. Nope – they don’t always have to be in a vase!

Thrift stores are a great place to pick up unique bowls. Or, raid your entertaining cupboards for pretty pieces you already own. And also consider something with texture – a basket bowl adds some warmth when needed.

Expert Tip: A single pedestal bowl of fruit can add some much-needed color to your countertops. Tuck in a few leaves to add a pop of green!

9. Flowers and Plants And branches

Well, this one is a bit obvious but worth noting. Flowers and Greenery add a fresh and organic feel to your kitchen décor. They are a must! Of course, you can always pick up an inexpensive bouquet from the grocery store. But don’t forget about your own backyard too.

I also love the casual, earthy feel of curly willow branches. The organic way they flow out of a vase makes a space feel so styled, without a ton of effort.

kitchen counter decorating ideas, showing a leaf print, red dutch oven and cutting boards on gray kitchen counters with a white tile backsplash
Branches in the Kitchen

Expert Tip: Taller branches help fill vertical space and give a kitchen some drama. Invest in some inexpensive faux branches and change them out seasonally. These taller vases of branches look great on an island!

10. Kitchen Crocks & Pitchers

Kitchen crocks, pitchers, vases – they can all hold cooking utensils, flowers and greenery, or they can fill an empty space all on their own.

I actually love the look of a set of white kitchen vases in different shapes.

Expert Tip: A thrift store is a great place to look for old pitchers and kitchen crocks. These look decorative holding a set of cooking utensils next to the stove.

11. Dutch oven or Tea kettle

If you need a pop of color, or maybe your stove area feels a bit empty – then a Dutch oven or beautiful tea kettle works some magic. I have a Dutch oven in red, but I’m looking to replace it with a beautiful white one. Although, don’t get me wrong, the red one looks pretty festive around the holidays!

kitchen counter decorating ideas, showing a leaf print, red dutch oven and cutting boards on gray kitchen counters with a white tile backsplash

The same is true for a copper or white ceramic tea kettle. And this helps tell the world a little more about who you are – you are a tea drinker.

Expert Tip: Consider making a pretty tea kettle or Dutch oven a permanent fixture on your stove. These items are pretty enough to keep out on your stove all season long, and hey, let’s not forget how easy it is to start making some tea (or dinner.)

12. Small Kitchen accessories

All the following items fall into this category – cute, pretty items that you can keep out on your counter all year long. And bonus! They are very useful and functional for cooking.

  • Mortar and Pestle
  • Salt and Pepper Shakers
  • Salt Keeper
  • Recipe Box
  • Oil and Vinegar Cruets

Expert Tip: These kitchen accessories look best when corralled on a tray or small wood pedestal. You don’t want clutter, you want style and function.

13. Table Lamps

Table Lamps on Kitchen Counters - yes or no?

Yes, you can absolutely put a table lamp on your kitchen counters! Especially if you don’t have under cabinet lighting. Lamps create such a cozy vibe. I recommend you keep the lamp small and away from the stove as much as you can.

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350 - Decor Hint

I hope this helped you guys decorate those kitchen counters a little better! I will say too, every day I am moving stuff around on my counters. It’s ok if you don’t get it right the first time, or even after the 25th time. It might take some shuffling until you find the right balance. But that’s the fun in decorating, and your tastes and styles change over time and that’s all perfectly ok!

Thanks for visiting today!

xo Karen

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2 Comments

  1. Your kitchen is so pretty and I love these ideas! Decluttering the small appliances is a big one I’ve been working on. The coffee maker area keeps trying to take over my kitchen. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Tara! Yes – it’s like I have to declutter on a weekly basis (mail, coffee, kids toys!). It’s work but worth it in the end to walk into a clean kitchen!

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