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Designing a kitchen is one thing. Knowing how to style your countertops is a whole other thing.
After we finished our renovation, I found myself kind of struggling with how to decorate our countertops. Especially on a budget! After moving things here and there, decluttering, and figuring out how we generally use the space – I think I hit a sweet spot.
Here are 9 kitchen counter decorating ideas for your home!
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 are armed with this information, it will be easy to set up “zones” and organize your kitchen. You can make your kitchen not only look beautiful and decorated but also totally functional for your lifestyle.
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:
- Put everything but the coffee maker away.
- Keep accessories to a minimum.
- Always have fresh flowers out.
- 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.
Decor Tip: Keep appliances on the counters to a minium, two or three max.
Trays are one of my favorite things to use in a kitchen! Actually they are my favorite to use anywhere in the house (tank tray anyone?). Trays 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.
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. A wood cheese board also works to hold oils and cooking spices.
Decor Tip: Use skinny plates, small wooden cheese boards or chip and dip baskets as “trays”. Work with what you have before purchasing new.
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.
Not into cooking? What about a cocktail recipe book for your bar area?
I keep my cookbooks sandwiched between the corner and a plant. And the others are placed next to my coffee maker. Don’t be afraid to sprinkle them throughout. They look especially great on open shelving too.
Decor 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.
Canisters are one of the decor items that are also really functional. 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.
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.
Decor Tip: Fill an awkward corner on your countertops with a set of three canisters in different sizes.
The Kitchen is a great place to display artwork. And I’m not talking about the walls (yes I’m guilty – I still need counter art!). 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. Woot!
You may be thinking this is not a budget-friendly option. But this totally is! 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.
For artwork – here are some affordable ideas. Etsy is chock full of printable wall 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. And I’m busy filling my Etsy shop with some of this artwork as we speak (shameless plug.) They are so beautiful and give an eclectic look to your decor.
Decor 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.
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!
Decor Tip: Buy a nice set of soap once, and then keep refilling it with cheaper, bulk buy soap. Get the look for less.
Wood Cutting Boards
Wood boards work in every kitchen! HomeGoods and Amazon are great places to scour for interesting shapes and beautiful wood boards. This is very functional decor. 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. Everyday! No joke!
I do want to add a few more varied boards, like these pretty wood paddle boards in various sizes.
Decor Tip: Lean different sized cutting boards and wood paddles against the back part of your stove. Two or three is a good number here.
One of these days I’m going to do a post on how to style open shelving. Because bowls are a magical way to decorate them without really having to think about it. But they also look great on your counters. A simple pedestal bowl of fruit, lemons or limes goes a long way with your decor. 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. You don’t need a ton here – keep it to one or two. (Don’t forget about that whole clutter thing!)
Decor 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!
Flowers and Plants
Well, this one is a bit obvious but worth noting. Flowers and Greenery add a fresh and organic feel to your kitchen decor. 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 snipped these pretty greens from a large bush out front. I have so much of it that I’m able to fill two or three vases full. If you really want to add some drama, invest in a few tall faux branches.
Decor 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!
Additional Kitchen Counter Decorating Ideas …
Finally, here are some additional ideas for decorating your kitchen countertops.
- Use a Ginger Jar to Hold Cooking Utensils – like wooden spoons – next to the stove.
- A mortar and pestle is a good item to sprinkle in those little spaces where you need a little something.
- Use pitchers or kitchen crocks as flower vases.
- Place a pretty recipe tin next to your stove.
- Use a bread box to store…..umm…..bread. Or mail! Or whatever else! No one will know but you and your family. 🙂
- Drape a pretty dishtowel over your farmhouse sink.
- Make a favorite tea kettle or Dutch Oven (Amazon has a great knock-off) a permanent decor accessory on your stove.
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. It might take some shuffling until you find the right balance. But that’s the fun in decorating.
Thanks for reading!