Level Up Your Kitchen with These Charming Above-Cabinet Decor Ideas

a kitchen with a table and chairs
15 Decor Ideas for Your Kitchen CabinetsHelma Bongenaar

Can you spot it? That gaping gap between your kitchen cabinets and your ceiling? While you may not have considered the aesthetic potential of this spatial no man’s land, we’re here to tell you that the region above your kitchen cabinets is the perfect way to give your culinary space a dose of extra flair and personality—and (most importantly) has the potential to make every inch work as hard as you do. But there are tricks to making the decor above your kitchen cabinet really sizzle.

“I try to balance style and functionality, as well as ‘cleanability,’” shares New York interior designer Megan Pflug. “When thinking about style, I look for vintage objects like ceramic vases. They make great storage and can be cleaned easily.” The designer also loves hanging art above open shelves as well as tucking in a small lamp. “It’s so unexpected and helps to create a cozy mood,” she adds.

Interior designer Samantha Ware seconds the addition of lamps and also suggests keeping contrasting finishes in mind. “To make the kitchen feel less sterile and more layered, try incorporating decor with differentiating textures such as an antique wooden cutting board or vintage,” she tells us.

Of course, too much decor runs the risk of looking cluttered or—even worse—tacky. However, when done with care and consideration, it can create a charming effect that will delight your guests. To show you how it’s done, we’ve selected 15 stand-out above-the-kitchen-cabinet decor ideas that will instantly elevate your space.

Display Your Cutting Boards

“This kitchen was inspired by the rural kitchens of Great Britain where everything necessary is beautiful,” says Kimberly Rasmussen, a design principal at Establish Design. Here, she displayed round charcuterie boards above the range hood—a move that allows easy access to a kitchen essential while functioning as decor.

a kitchen with white cabinets and a white counter top
Lindsay Salazar

Brandish Your Baskets

ELLE DECOR A-List designer Lorenzo Castillo infused this kitchen in a seaside villa with plenty of charm—from the fringed light fixture to the mustard kitchen island to the blue-and-white tile backsplash. But the rustic baskets—grouped atop the ornate cabinets—truly take it over the top. Copy this look if you have a similar collection of baskets you want to flaunt.

18th century home on the spanish island of menorca that was restored by lorenzo castillo
Ricardo Labougle

Display Novelties

This bright kitchen designed by Jacques Grange near Comporta in Portugal is cheery and bold. To provide some contrast with the white walls, antique Portuguese plates and decorative objects—aren’t the rooster jugs adorable?—adorn the top of the cabinets.

a kitchen with white cabinets
Stephan Julliard

Decorate with Vintage Ceramics

Author and stylist Michelle Mason loves the classic look of blue and white ceramics as they provide contrast with the dark wood and bring it back to life. “The empty walls above the cabinets are a great way to display collections of vintage plates,” she says.

a kitchen with a table and chairs
Helma Bongenaar

Upscale Your Kitchen Utensils

In a Malibu, California, beach house kitchen belonging to designers Nathan Turner and Eric Hughes, metallics and green take over in the best way. The cubby holes placed above the cabinets are the perfect space to showcase an extra pop of color, in this case, blue kettles and pots, colorful kitchen books, and a collection of silverware.

a kitchen with a large glass counter
William Abramowicz

Try Wallpaper

Not all kitchens have massive spaces between the cabinets and the ceiling, so a simple wallpaper can brighten the space if this is your case. Here, designer Tom Scheerer opted for a sweet botanical wallpaper to tie the green-themed room together.

a kitchen with green cabinets
Francesco Lagnese

Display a Collection of Glassware

The fabulous kitchen of Bronson van Wyck—which he designed with Ben Bischoff, Oliver Freundlich, and Brian Papa—is anything but boring. The top of the cabinets are decorated with glass jars and a regal bust that oversees the room.

a kitchen with a table and chairs
Pernille Loof

Showcase Your Pots and Pans

If you like your kitchen to be functional and keep all things cooking-friendly, there’s no better way to decorate than with cookware! This collection of copper pots and pans, in the home of fashion-industry powerhouse Robert Duffy, is a flawless example of how to do that.


Let It All Hang Out

“I’ve always been a fan of vintage and have collected all manner of odds and sods over three decades,” shares stylist Lisa Piddington. For her maximalist kitchen, she knew she wanted a room packed to the brim with things she loves that make her smile. “Because my kitchen is filled with plants, tins, enamelware, copper pots, antique art, and foxed mirrors, it makes me happy every time I walk in!” she says.

a kitchen with a chandelier and a table
Lissa Piddington

Add a Sconce

There’s never enough lighting in a kitchen, which is why interior designer Sam Sacks added a statement sconce above the kitchen cabinets. Painted in Blue by Benjamin Moore, the vibrant cabinets pair nicely with the crisp white walls.

a kitchen with a table and chairs
Lauren Miller

Add Shelving

Don’t forget about the space between kitchen cabinets. Here, designer Megan West made clever use of shelves. “We wanted the space to feel very welcoming, so we focused on bringing in warm tones through our floating shelves, various textures, and honey bronze hardware,” she explains. Complementary decor and glassware keep the look clean and polished.

a kitchen with white cabinets
Megan West

Bring in a Theme

If your kitchen follows a particular theme, the unused space above the cabinets is a fabulous way to accentuate the vibe. Surfing photographs pair great with the decorative sailboat and ceramic vases in this nautical-themed kitchen.

a kitchen with white cabinets and a white counter top
Björn Wallander

Display Your Plants

Art director and designer Janine Genower loves her colorful kitchen. To bring even more vibrancy to the room, she placed charming plants—in pots to match the room!—atop her cabinets.

a kitchen with a yellow wall
Janine Genower

Incorporate a Wine Rack

This eggplant-colored kitchen by Krantz Designs makes the most of the space above the kitchen cabinets. This modular wine rack placed above the cabinets not only looks inviting, but it adds a special element to the room. After all, it’s always happy hour somewhere.

a kitchen with a bar and chairs
Paul Craig

Brass Accessories

Blogger Corie Williams wanted a European modern farmhouse aesthetic for her kitchen, and what better way to do that than by displaying a collection of brass vessels and accessories above the cabinets? “We were able to achieve a light, bright kitchen that has warmth and character,” says Williams.

a kitchen with white cabinets
Corie Rae

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