How to Decorate Kitchen Counters

Get all the info you'll need on decorating kitchen counters.
Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink WIth Butcher Block Counter

Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink WIth Butcher Block Counter

A white cafe curtain and gray tile backsplash provide a white palette for the rich wood countertop. A stainless steel kitchen sink and brushed nickel faucet break up the brown countertop for an industrial touch.

A white cafe curtain and gray tile backsplash provide a white palette for the rich wood countertop. A stainless steel kitchen sink and brushed nickel faucet break up the brown countertop for an industrial touch.

By: Sean McEvoy

Kitchen countertops are a major feature of any kitchen design, and once you've decided on the type of counters you'll incorporate into your design, the work is almost done—but not quite. Knowing how to decorate kitchen counters will help you beautify your cooking space.

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Before: Boring Big White Box

The list of design crimes: Barely any cabinet space, the awkward peninsula cabinets that chopped the room in half, broken oven, nasty peel-and-stick floors, and fluorescent lighting

©HGTV

The Winner at Work

When Meg first scoped out this kitchen emergency, she found an out-of-order cooking space in desperate need of a remodel. Turns out the Chicago family of four had plans for an overhaul, but projects in other parts of the house demanded their attention—and their budget—so their reno dreams were put on hold. But then: Meg swooped in to the rescue!

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After: Much Smarter Space Planning

Meg didn’t tear out a single wall, but it sure feels like she did! By lining everything up on two facing walls, the layout is a lot less cramped. Meg’s tip: “Countertops on opposite walls shouldn’t be more than eight feet apart,” she says. “Any wider and you’ll want an island in between them.”

Photo By: Douglas Friedman

Sleek Storage

For the cabinets, Meg paired rich cherry wood with modernish nickel knobs. Find the same ones at cabinetparts.com.

Photo By: Douglas Friedman

Invincible Countertops

The smart selection: off-white Corian that looks like marble but won’t stain.

Photo By: Douglas Friedman

Cushy Floors + Durable Pretty Furniture

Meg picked dark-stained cork for the floors. It’s warm and sound-absorbent. “It feels like you’re walking on gel!” she says. The dining benches can take a beating and keep on seating. Meg gave the floral fabric an iron-on vinyl coating so they can be cleaned with a Windex wipe-down after meals.

Photo By: Douglas Friedman

Glam Lighting

Meg created a custom fixture by hanging a cluster of mercury glass pendants at different heights over the dining table. “It makes the room shimmer,” she says. A leftover pendant was suspended above the sink.

Photo By: Douglas Friedman

Unexpected Stripes

Thinking outside the box, Meg flipped the funky glass tiles to run vertically along the backsplash. Little change, big impact!

Photo By: Douglas Friedman

No-Limit Mixing

Forget dining sets (so The Price is Right!). Meg prefers to mix styles and materials, so she pulled up a pair of cane-back wood chairs and upholstered benches to a painted metal table. “These are the kinds of risks that add personality to a room,” she says.

Photo By: Douglas Friedman

Hide-and-Seek Window Shades

Custom valances made of plywood and supercute fabric cover the blinds, which drop down for privacy.

Photo By: Douglas Friedman

Multi-Functional Space

It’s art. It’s a bar. It’s both! You have to love a house that says, “Help yourself to a drink.” Meg amped up the kitchen’s bar area with zigzag wallpaper and floating shelves.

Photo By: Douglas Friedman

Even More Seating

Metal bistro stools scoot under the extra-thick Corian counter. They come in handy for parties.

Photo By: Douglas Friedman

After your countertops are installed, you'll want to explore the multitude of options for how to decorate kitchen counters, from elaborate themed designs to subtle storage features. Finding the right decorative approach for your kitchen countertops will help create a stylish and welcoming kitchen space in your home.

The first consideration you'll encounter when contemplating kitchen countertop decoration is how much countertop space you need to decorate. For an extensive countertop design—one that wraps around several walls in the space, for example—you may need more decorative flourishes, or even have an opportunity to create separate decorative areas. For a smaller counter space—one or two sections only, for example—you may only need a few subtle decorations to make the countertops an inviting and attractive element of your kitchen design.

One way that many homeowners approach kitchen countertop decoration is to combine decoration and function; cooking supply containers and even some appliances can easily double as decorative flourishes. Mason and apothecary jars, old-fashioned milk jugs and other interesting objects used for storage can create great visual interest and work well in just about any kitchen style, from contemporary to traditional. Appliances like blenders, coffee makers and mixers are all now available in a veritable rainbow of colors and hues, and kitchens everywhere are featuring these useful and attractive implements in bold reds, greens, blues and yellows.

Another option for countertop decoration in kitchens is to feature not just the supplies for cooking, but actual foodstuffs. Large fruit bowls, bread baskets, cookie jars and even canned goods like jams, jellies and other stores can create a bright, colorful and inviting kitchen countertop design.

Lighting is another feature you can add to kitchen countertops to create warmth and visual interest in your kitchen design. Recessed lighting can be installed in the countertops themselves, or you can add rope, task or accent lighting to help illuminate darker areas under the bottoms of cabinets or in corners.

Finally, building on the theme of adding both functional and decorative elements to your kitchen countertop design, consider investing in cookware, cutlery or large utensils with a bit of style and visual interest. Multicolored and uniquely shaped utensils are widely available, and when stylishly stored on kitchen countertops, these can help to enliven any countertop area.

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