Ideas for Kitchen Countertop Decor
Thanks to the booming economy, kitchen renovations have been on the upswing and recently I’ve found myself in a lot of kitchens handing out decor advice. While most people need a little help on picking kitchen finishes: cabinet style, color, countertops, backsplashes, lighting, and counter stools: once they get their kitchens complete- many people forget to think about the finishing details to really make their kitchens look magazine-worthy.
Those finishing details are my absolute favorite part of decorating and sometimes it amazes me as to how many people are left absolutely stumped on what to do decorating-wise when it comes to their countertops. Some people put too much on their countertops, while others put nothing for fear of it looking overcrowded.
While it’s all up to personal preference and of course how much countertop space you truly have, this post will cover a kitchen I recently decorated and ideas of essentials I usually decorate with when I’m finishing off a kitchen space.
So, my list of countertop essentials include:
1) Pretty towels
2) Soap Dispensers
3) Baskets, Jars or Canisters
4) Cutting boards
5) Cookbook and Utensil Holders
6) Stations (such as a coffee, drink, or baking)
7) Display Trays
8) Mail or Junk sorter
9) Pretty looking countertop appliances
10) Butcher Knife Block
Take a look at this client’s kitchen countertops before:
She fell under the category of not knowing what to put on her countertops, so she left them blank through the first 5 months of living in the house.
And here are some after with some of the items I mentioned above:
The Essentials Explained:
1. Pretty Towels
So let me tell you a story about my Italian mom growing up. She had towels in our bathroom that were for “display only” and not to be used. If we wanted to use a bathroom towel, we had separate towels for that. And as a kid, I thought this was absolutely insane...what do you mean I can’t use the towel that’s on the rack in the bathroom? And then I became an adult... and now I totally get it… haha. So “pretty towels” are ones that are really for display- you can use them to dry washed dishes, but they’re not for wiping down countertops or cleaning up big spills. I usually hang a “pretty towel” draped over my sink, and on top of a butcher block cutting board. Some people drape them on the oven handle, although I’m not really a fan of that. The best place to find these is Homegoods, Tjmaxx and Marshalls, and they’re usually sold in sets of 2 or 3 for $5.99- $7.99. You can change them out seasonally too since they’re cheap enough. Target’s “Hearth and Hand” Brand also has some cute towels, and I linked some below that are currently on clearance.
2. Soap Dispensers
I love purchasing hand soap for the sink area that’s already in a glass brown bottle. The one shown here was purchased at Homegoods for under $6. There’s something about the brown bottle to me that makes it feel like it came from an old pharmacy. If you don’t have one of those dispensers already in your countertop that will hold your “dish-washing soap” please, do yourself a favor and get a glass soap dispenser and fill it up instead. I hate the look of a plastic bottle of Dawn or Palmolive on the counter. The one pictured here was purchased at HomeGoods for $4.99, test it out at home with water in it first before pouring soap in to it- just to make sure it works before you have to do a pain in the ass return. I linked a pretty one below from Target as well.
3. Baskets, Jars or Canisters
Are not only of displaying countertop items in a pretty way- but also of hiding or concealing things as well. Use glass canisters to display coffee beans, sugar, flour, etc, and closed canisters to hide things you may want out of view. Baskets are a great way of organizing and displaying cookbooks or fruit and veggies that you want to keep out on your countertops. I linked the two glass jars I purchased in the photo above, below this post- and I scored both for under $20.
4. Cutting Boards
Are practical and I usually have one thicker butcher block next to the sink or stove: which are areas I’m always cutting by after washing vegetables or when I’m cooking dinner. You can also layer some behind the stove, or in areas that need a little more love: in the case of the kitchen pictured in the beginning of this post- I layered behind the paper towel holder.
5. Cookbook and Utensil Holders
This cookbook holder is from Hobby Lobby, and a great way of displaying your favorite cookbook. It doubles as an ipad holder- because many people get recipes offline now. I also tagged one below if you don’t have time to search HL. I use utensil holders next to the stove to have quick access to the utensils I use most and in my home I also use a utensil crock as a pretty way of holding our paper towel roll next to the sink (I stole that ideas from my mother-in-law).
6. Stations (such as a coffee, drink, or baking area)
If you have enough counter space, definitely do a station if not two. In this home I did a “baking station” counter which included: their beautiful Kitchenaid mixer, cookbook, pie stand, and sugar/flour jars, and a coffee station: which included a tray that houses the coffee maker and coffee and sugar jar. In some houses if there was enough room on the countertop I included a coffee mug holder as well. I don’t bake- so in my house I only have a coffee station. If you’re not a baker either and need another “station” try a drink station which can include: an ice bucket, wine holders, wine opener, and a tray with alcohol and glasses on it.
7. Display Trays
Are key to grouping things together. I ALWAYS use a tray below a coffee maker and in our house it houses our coffee grinds jar, sugar jar, and a little plate for our spoon. Use trays and stands to group like items together: soaps, oil/vinegar, salt & pepper, etc. In the above photos you’ll see the soaps, as well as O+V on a small tiered tray. I purchased both of these recently in a set from Homegoods for $16.99. The best places to find trays are Homegoods, Tjmaxx, and Marshalls. I also linked one from Target below.
8. Mail or Junk Sorters
To ignore the fact that papers will come in to your kitchen since it’s often the hub of the home- would be unrealistic, so on every kitchen counter I’ve ever decorated, I’ve included a mail-sorter to stick all the random papers, coupons, stamps, etc, that might need to stay in your kitchen rather than your office. I always luck out at Homegoods and get cute mail sorters for $9.99 and under. The one pictured above I scored for $7.99.
9. Pretty looking countertop appliances
Don’t ignore those countertop appliances! If you need to have them on top of your countertop, there’s no reason why they can’t look pretty as well. So in this case- this family used their coffee maker, baking mixer, toaster oven, and tea pot often. Therefore, we made sure that they were not only useful but also appealing to the eye. I’m a big fan of matching most of the countertop appliances, whether it be in stainless steel or copper. If you use a baking mixer- a pop of color won’t hurt- and Kitchenaid mixers come in a ton of colors. Tip: don’t purchase a countertop appliance if you wont use it, just because it looks pretty. I can’t tell you how many people I know register for a Kitchenaid mixer when they are getting married- just to have it- and say they’ve used it once. In our home I wanted the look of this mixer, but I never bake so it wasn’t practical. Instead I purchased a Kitchenaid Nespresso Machine. Everyone who knows me knows I can’t live without at least 3 cups of coffee a day- and my husband and I both use our nespresso machine for a pick me up so we can stay awake past 10 on the weekends. They also come in a variety of colors and I linked both below.
10) Butcher Knife Block
Is a must next to all stoves. In this home they went with a black butcher knife block. In my home I went with a stained wood color. JA Henckels is a great brand that they sell at Bed Bath and Beyond and you can use a 20% coupon (if you don’t have one I’ll mail you one, I’m currently hoarding over 30... and almost all of my friends are married so I don’t need them for any bridal registries... haha). I also linked some below.
and *Bonus*: add some faux greenery or real plants in various spots around the kitchen to finish it off!
Shopping Made Easy:
Here are some items I used above or found on the internet to help you with your shopping. Click on the picture to be brought directly to the item.
Local to Orange County, NY?
This beautiful kitchen was done by Dave Brattesani of Brattesani Kitchen and Bath Design. The before and afters speak for themselves.
Check out his page here: