I’ve been house hunting the past two months, and I’ve seen my fair share of awkward spaces over kitchen cabinets.
You know what I’m talking about – they tend to look like little boxes super-glued to the wall with accessories stuffed above them. Allow me to illustrate:
But I’m going out on a limb here by saying that loading that space with accessories just because it’s there is a bad idea. If you’ve got high ceilings and a couple feet above the cabinets to work with, you have more options to create some interesting vignettes. But it should fit your design strategy – not just be filler.
So I thumbed through my “inspiration folder” of kitchen ideas from my favorite design magazines.
Nope, not a one showed filler up there. Rather, the cabinets in the designer kitchens either extended up (mostly) to the ceiling, or they allowed the space to breath.
Reality check…most of us are not going to run out and replace all our cabinets because of this “situation.” So let’s see what we can do with what we have! Here are some helpful do’s and don’ts to get you thinking:
Kitchen Cabinet Do’s
Minimize the color contrast between your cabinets and the wall above them. White cabinets work well with this strategy. Consider painting your cabinets so you have more options. It’s not a coincidence that many designer examples I found showed painted cabinets. Add crown molding – the texture of the molding make the awkward space seems more intentional. You can also extend the cabinets further upward with matching panels/molding.
This example shows nice crown molding and a nice blend of wall color with cabinets. Very simple and it really finishes off the space.
Photo Source: Cottage Living
Add lighting that points up to add drama without clutter. Rope lighting is easy and adds a nice glow. Shout out to Thrifty Décor Chic for her vision and fortitude! Note her smart use of vignettes – she has enough space to create nice arrangements. I especially like her use of vinyl lettering.
Photo Source: Thrifty Décor Chic
Look…it’s George Clooney! (Just kidding). Create a focal point that distracts – colorful rug are an easy distractions. Other ideas: bright red bar stools, amazing chandelier, powerful artwork, etc.
These examples are from FLOR – colorful carpet tiles create a wonderful focal point (and are very durable too!).
Photo Source: Flor.com
Paint the ceiling, or extend the paint color above the cabinet to the ceiling. Sky blue is an ideal choice for this strategy.
Photo Source: Apartment Therapy
This example shows a painted ceiling to compliment the cabinets, plus the painted island made a nice focal point. A very smart, fresh design.
Photo Source: Coastal Living
Kitchen Cabinet Don’ts
There are two key no-no’s that I saw time and again while house shopping and I just CANNOT keep silent any longer:
- Friends don’t let friends use superfluous faux foliage of any kind “up there”. Why taunt dust?
- No borders – it calls attention to the awkward space and makes the ceiling seem lower. Don’t make me call the border patrol on you! 😉
Hopefully you found a few ideas to help make your kitchen BETTER for you. I’ll leave you with one last idea…you could just give up and go without any upper cabinets at all. Toast or tea anyone?
Photo Source: MyHomeIdeas
What design strategies have you used for that space “up there?”
I finally got around to implementing a quick fix to my own kitchen “up there” problem. Check out My New-ish Kitchen post! Hint – my kitchen is the top left pic in the first image in this post. Yikes!