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How To Deal With That Space Above the Kitchen Cabinets

How To Deal With That Space Above the Kitchen Cabinets

I have been asked many times, “What do I DO with that space above my kitchen cabinets?”  While there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer, there are several ways that you can deal with that extra space.

If you have a collection you wish to showcase somewhere in your home, the top of your kitchen cabinets can be an ideal place to do so.  Teapots, pottery or serving dishes look right at home in this space.

The tops of cabinets are often lower than they seem; a crown molding often creates a recessed area on the top of the cabinets.  If this is the case in your home, you may need to raise your collection by putting your items on top of extra books, bricks or blocks of wood.  Otherwise, your items may not be visible from the ground!  Flat items such as platters can be displayed using small easels made for that purpose.

Crystal cabinetry kitchen

Photo courtesy Crystal Cabinets; Design by: Ken Baumgart Photography by: Gary Yon

Your collection may look better in “groupings” rather than placed in row around the room.  Look at the corners and the ends of your cabinets, or areas where your cabinets change heights, as good locations for your groupings.  Choose three or five items for best results; your items should also be in three different sizes for the most pleasing arrangement.  Larger objects work best, as it is difficult to decipher the fine details on smaller pieces.  Use your collection to accent the color scheme in your room.

Kitchen countertops

“Naked” cabinets work, too!

It is also perfectly acceptable to leave the tops of your cabinets “naked.”  Quite often, the space on top of cabinetry amounts to one foot or less; this leaves very little room for larger objects, without making them feel crowded into the space.

For these shorter spaces, consider installing LED or rope lighting above the cabinets.  These lights create a glow in the room, and can come in handy as a nightlight or to create a mood during a dinner party.

farmhouse kitchen

Photo courtesy Crystal Cabinets; Designed by: Sarah Aldrich Photography by: Maggie Cole

If you have higher ceilings, the tops of cabinets can be a lovely place to bring some greenery into your home.  Don’t be tempted to overdo it; a couple of lovely green plants is plenty.  Be sure to place them in locations that can be reached easily for watering.

You can also use the space above your cabinets for seasonal displays.  For example, you may want to showcase your Christmas village collection during the holiday season, as a friend of mine does, but clear the space completely during the warmer months for a change of pace.

As you consider a future kitchen remodeling project or plan for a new home construction project, consider eliminating this space altogether.  Raising the cabinets to the ceiling will result in more useful storage space with less dusting – both are wonderful assets in any kitchen.

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