The hard part is DONE- now comes the FUN! DECORATING your cabinet tops.
For quick tips on deep cleaning your upper cabinets before decorating, click here.
Simple Tips For Decorating Your Cabinet Tops
There are a few important things you will want to keep in mind when decorating your cabinet tops.
1.) DO NOT decorate with anything not easy to clean with a duster or by tossing it in the dishwasher or washing machine.
(Remember how dirty those cabinet tops were? Your stuff will be the same.)
2.) Small items cannot be seen well
3.) Work with your lighting
4.) Try to plan the layout BEFORE you begin climbing the ladder
If you read the previous post on cleaning your recessed cabinet tops, you will remember me commenting on the fact that we had a 2-3 inch recess in the tops and it made our décor just “disappear” from view.
We can’t have that!!!
Did we find a inexpensive solution?
We simply pulled scrap lumber from the garage and leftover plastic “Tupperware containers” from the cabinets. You know what I am talking about… those bottoms we hold onto even though the tops have been missing for a year because we MIGHT find a lid. You can tell yourself you have FINALLY found a use for them.
These items need to be shorter than the lip of your cabinet, fit in the various size top sections, and be size appropriate to what you are decorating with; grabbing more than you THINK you need is much easier than looking for them AFTER you start decorating.
Example: A 4 in long 2 x 4 board is NOT going to balance a 8 x 4 inch base securely. However, 2 2×4’s spaced with a larger board across them WILL.
Hint: We prefer pre finished boards as they wipe clean easily OR you can cover them in contact paper. No one will see these items so they do not have to be in excellent condition.
The photos below show stacked boards on the left and plain 2×4’s on the right.
Place these boards and spare plastic containers strategically in the recessed portion of your cabinets based on how you wish to decorate. (You may move them several times, BUT following a plan gives you a place to start.)
Below is an example of one of our favorite accents, first without and then with a 2×4 under it. Can you see the difference?
The decor simply disappears without the added “lift” of the board.
As with any area of the home, the goal is to add dimension, color and life to the area.
For some plain and simple is good, but others are looking for elegant or fun.
I, personally, use a variety of styles depending on the season, and I will add them to this post as we move through those holidays, but for now we demonstrated using a plain BASIC birdhouse theme (because I LOVE birds and this (or some version of it) is on display at our house 6 to 7 months out of the year).
5 Things to Keep in Mind
(Besides the rules listed above)
1.) You can ALWAYS change your mind, but when in doubt TRY it.
2.) Vary the angle and depth of items used- don’t put them all to the edge, straight on, or recessed to the back. Spread that section out and rearrange each piece until you find something you like. (This means getting up and down off the ladder more, unless you can convince someone to arrange while you explain where to put things. Having a helper means saying- “Your OTHER left”- a lot but is much less legwork.)
3.) You CANNOT accurately tell how an item looks until you look at it from ground level.
4.) Flat items can be displayed using props or plate holders, (see the birds nests in our photo) and flexible items can be displayed using vases, mason jars or cups (simply prop them up- See Raggedy Anne & Andy).
Tip: Plate holders can be found at most Dollar Tree Stores for only $1 and have multiple uses. I did include an Amazon link above to demonstrate the item I was referring to. It is an affiliate link, and you can learn more about that here.
5.) Flowers & greenery add a nice touch, but can be hard to keep dusted and clean. (I use them in the fall and at Christmas with lights entwined, but my “dirt phobia” doesn’t leave me the patience to clean flowers during the remainder of the year.)
EVERY cabinet layout is different. We demonstrated displays that were convenient, free and easy for us. You may have more corners, extra lighting or narrower spaces. Remember to work with what you have.
Larger items or group displays do well in corners. Especially since corner cabinets tend to be elevated ABOVE the side cabinets and will automatically appear accented.
I have discovered that if I do not add some greenery BEHIND whatever I am displaying in the corner, my items look lonely.
As you can see in the photo below, we simply used a single thick, large leaf vine bush to create some warmth and depth, then added a very LARGE flag birdhouse. (This is a shortcut because I can leave it up all summer even as I change to a Patriotic theme.)
Do not be afraid to layer the corner- adding depth, color and warmth- even if it is the only part of the tops you decorate. EXAMPLE: Plate, tall thin vase, plastic fruit, fake veggies, etc… Layered with the plate, being at the back and items tapering forward.
(Such as above the stove or window)
This is a common place to hang a sign, long picture or words.
Just keep in mind it is essential to CENTER it above the cabinet section you are working on, so that it is an accent. (Note: Ours is NOT, but it has taken me 2 years to notice it and now its driving me nuts; for photos I simply manipulated the items we had on hand to create the look of it being centered.)
This can be a hard area to reach, so I recommend you think it through before your final decision is made. (We used preexisting holes and cannot reach it from our 10 foot ladder- that is why ours is not centered yet).
If you don’t have it centered and are unable to do so immediately, simply adjust the cabinet top décor so that it APPEARS to be centered (See photo).
Remember decorating each section as a display is great and adds warmth, BUT it needs to blend and flow.
You don’t want it too busy or too empty, everything on the left and nothing on the right, etc…
Remember to stagger your items even if that means adding a few smaller accents. Items of the EXACT same height on a grocery store shelf look GREAT, but not so much above your kitchen cabinets.
I am sure your cabinet tops will look great! We would love to see photos or hear your favorite tips on how you decorate your cabinet tops each season.
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