11 Ideas For Styling Your Kitchen Counters

Styling isn't just for coffee tables.

Large Island Maximizes Kitchen Space

Maximized Kitchen Space with Large Island

After walls were removed, this Fixer Upper kitchen has much more room. To maximize the functionality of this space, Chip and Joanna added a large kitchen island that added more counter and prep space, as well as gave the family a place to sit down for a casual meal. Joanna continued her rustic industrial style in the kitchen, painting the cabinets to match the trim and molding throughout the first floor. She also added industrial pendant lights, an industrial style sink and rustic industrial barstools to complete the look.

From: Fixer Upper

Photo by: Rachel Whyte

Rachel Whyte

In the battle between style and function, function usually wins out when it comes to your kitchen counters. But just because there are some things that you have to keep out, that doesn’t mean you can’t devote some additional space to stylish items that truly help your kitchen feel pulled together and well designed. And just like styling your coffee table, styling your kitchen counters is a bit of an art.

We’ve rounded up 11 of our favorite items to use when styling your space. Mix and match a few of these things to create your own beautifully-styled kitchen.

1: Books

Contemporary White Kitchen Counter with Wood Cabinets

Contemporary Kitchen Counter With Sink

A large picture window provides an idyllic scenic view from this kitchen sink, making washing dishes or prepping food a joy. The sink has a pot-filler for bigger jobs, while the white countertop offers expansive workspace, with room to spare for cookbook storage.

Photo by: Brian Kellogg ©scripps Networks, LLC

Brian Kellogg, scripps Networks, LLC

Cookbooks or stacked hardcover books are a great option to keep out on your countertops. In this bright, white kitchen by designer Kerrie Kelly, she uses a combination of the two. You could even use bookends if you want to amp up the look.

2: Cutting Boards

Kitchen Counter With Cutting Boards

Kitchen Counter With Wood Cutting Boards

Cutting boards and pepper grinders take on sculptural quality against a simple white subway tile backsplash. The robin's egg blue mixer is a perfect match with the cabinets.

Photo by: Mary Costa Photography

Mary Costa Photography

This kitchen by designer Jessica McClendon is a great example of how you can use cutting boards as decor. You can use a variety of different types and shapes of boards, including wood and marble, then lean them against your backsplash.

3: Fresh Fruit

Kitchen Sink With Gold Faucet

Kitchen Sink With Gold Faucet and White Counters

A gold faucet and drawer and cabinet pulls make all the design difference in this sleek kitchen, luxe-ing up the white cabinets and counters.

Fruit in a beautiful dish always looks great on a kitchen counter or on an island. The marble backsplash in this kitchen by Kapito Muller Interiors is the perfect backdrop to show off the bright yellow of the lemons. You could create a similar look with oranges or limes.

4: Plants

Counter Space and Seating for Five with Multifunctional Kitchen Island

Multifunctional Kitchen Island Provides Counter Space and Seating for Five

To give the homeowners much-needed space for entertaining, designers installed a large kitchen island that has enough seating for at least five guests. Not only does this space provide seating, it also gives the homeowners extra counter space for easy meal preparation, since there is direct access to the home's double ovens, microwave, refrigerator and stove from the kitchen island, which also contains a large prep sink for simple kitchen cleanup.

Photo by: Becky Kimball Photography

Becky Kimball Photography

Plants are a great accent to use when styling your kitchen counters. You can either use one plant like in this kitchen by House of Jade Interiors or use several plants throughout your space. You could even grow fresh herbs and keep those out on the counter.

5: Art

Art in Cottage Kitchen

Art on Blue Cabinet

This piece of art adorns a blue cabinet featured in the newly renovated cottage kitchen.

Photo by: Caitlin Murray

Caitlin Murray

Art is definitely one of my go-to's for styling kitchen counters. You can casually lean a canvas against a wall like designer Caitlin Murray did here. You could also display a series of prints or paintings in the same frame if you like a more uniform look.

6: Pretty Soap

White Sink With Gray Tile Backsplash, Picture Window and White Cabinets

Farmhouse Kitchen With Apron-Front Sink

No farmhouse kitchen is complete without an apron-front sink. This white one flows seamlessly with the white cabinetry and light gray countertops and backsplash.

Photo by: Arch-Interiors Design Group. Inc.

Arch-Interiors Design Group. Inc.

Most kitchens have dish soap and hand soap at the sink, so you might as well keep them in pretty bottles. In this black-and-white kitchen by designer Christopher Grubb, the soap is showcased in two pretty, glass bottles and on a metal tray. If you don’t have glass pump bottles, you can also simply choose a soap that comes in pretty bottles.

7: Fresh Flowers

Tiny Traditional Kitchen With Stone Tile Backsplash and Sink

Tiny Traditional Kitchen With Gray Stone Tile Backsplash

Are your kitchen counters, island and table swimming in a sea of paper? Do the stacks of bills and mail seem to just keep piling up? If you answered yes to both of these questions, then listen up: We have an organization system that's guaranteed to clear the paper clutter for good. A system of cabinets and drawers allow for organizing and keeping papers out of sight.

A colorful bouquet of fresh flowers will always look stunning on a kitchen counter. Though they'll need to be replaced, if you love the look of flowers, you can pick a bouquet up each week at the grocery store and switch them out. Use a variety of vases to switch up the look and keep your kitchen looking fresh.

8: Stylish Appliances

Small White Loft Kitchen With Stainless Steel Appliances

Sophisticated Contemporary Kitchen With White Cabinetry and Marble Counters

A clean, white kitchen with classic touches will complement almost any home style. Stainless steel appliances and streamlined marble counters define this classy cooking space.

Photo by: Jessie Webster

Jessie Webster

When choosing your kitchen gadgets, pick more stylish items that you won’t be embarrassed to keep out on the counter. Opt for a bright KitchenAid mixer to display or choose a retro-inspired toaster, like in this loft kitchen by Caitlin McCarthy Designs.

9: Matching Canisters

Herringbone Texture in Calcutta Marble Backsplash

Calcutta Marble Backsplash with Herringbone Texture

As seen on HGTV's Love It or List It Too, Jillian Harris' overall design began by removing the fireplace obstacle at the entrance, adding around 5 feet to the kitchen. The wall that separated the kitchen from the dining room was removed, The London Grey kitchen island was placed on wheels so that it could easily be moved if more space is needed, it also double as a portable bar-perfect for entertaining. The backsplash is Calcutta marble, which is considered timeless, but was made more contemporary by laying a herring bone design. The floor is Rosedale series, light grey. Walls were painted Silver Drop. Kitchen counter tops are Stone Grey. The small kitchen counter bench left of the stove doubles as a homework desk for Joyce's boys-a request she made so that they can be close while she cooks.

and Love It or List It, Too

Photo by: Farah Nosh/Getty Images

Farah Nosh/Getty Images

For staples such as flour and sugar, matching canisters are a great way to bring a bit of style to your space. If you have a pantry, you can use the same type of canisters or jars in there, too.

10: Family Photos

Smart Home 2016 Kitchen Bar and Beverage Center

Roomy Counters

The kitchen's bar and beverage center includes plenty of counter space for bowls of fruit or a vase of flowers, and a window ledge perfect for displaying framed family photos.

Photo by: Robert Peterson/Rustic White Photography ©2016, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Robert Peterson/Rustic White Photography, 2016, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Here’s a great example by designer Tiffany Brooks which how you can display family photos in your kitchen. If you'd like to display photos, keep them corralled in one area of your space to avoid creating a cluttered feeling on your countertops.

11: Coffee Station

Neutral Kitchen With Gray Concrete Countertop and White Backsplash

Gray Concrete Countertops in Contemporary Eat-In Kitchen

A polished gray concrete countertop adds shine to this contemporary eat-in kitchen, while a white subway-tile backsplash brightens the far wall. A lime-green serving tray adds a pop of color to the otherwise neutral space.

Photo by: Brian Kellogg ©2012 Brian Kellogg

Brian Kellogg, 2012 Brian Kellogg

Creating a coffee station on your kitchen counter is another great way to bring smart style to your space. Designer Kerrie Kelly has gathered her supplies, such as mugs, ground coffee and the coffee maker, in one corner. You could even add some pretty gold spoons or tea supplies if you like to drink tea as well.

20 Ways to Liven Up a Kitchen Counter

See All Photos

Shop This Look

Next Up

9 Kitchen Color Ideas That Aren't White

Believe it or not, there are other options out there.

10 Tips to Style Your Kitchen Like a Pro

Master the art of the #shelfie once and for all.

Not Into March Madness Brackets? Pick Winning Kitchen Styles Instead

Spoiler alert: We care more about kitchen design than basketball stats. Same? Take our quiz to see if your design choices are bracket-toppers.  

Fill Your Walls With 'Fixer Upper'-Inspired Artwork: 11 Easy-to-Copy Looks

Blank walls? No problem. Borrow some of these unconventional wall art and decor tips and ideas from 'Fixer Upper' favorites Chip and Joanna.

First Apartment? Read This Before You Buy Another Piece of Furniture

Know where to splurge and where to save when outfitting your first place.

A Home Town Makeover: French Style, Southern Charm

Home Town's Erin and Ben transform a plain, box of a house into a charming home with a European soul.

9 Non-Traditional Kitchen Backsplashes That Are Show-Stoppers

You'll be in awe after seeing how these kitchen backsplashes stole the show. 

9 Teeny-Tiny Kitchens Packed With Character

Interested in downsizing but not ready to compromise on style? These pint-sized cooking spaces do it all. 

Create a Budget Outdoor Kitchen With These 10 Finds

Skip the reno, and get straight to the party.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts

Go Shopping

Refresh your home with stylish products handpicked by HGTV editors.

On TV

Home Town

6am | 5c

Home Town

7am | 6c

Home Town

8am | 7c

Home Town

9am | 8c

Home Town

10am | 9c

Home Town

11am | 10c

Home Town

12pm | 11c

Home Town

1pm | 12c

Home Town

2pm | 1c

Home Town

3pm | 2c

Home Town

4pm | 3c

Home Town

5pm | 4c

Home Town

6pm | 5c

Home Town

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Home Town

8pm | 7c

Home Town

9pm | 8c

Home Town

10:30pm | 9:30c

House Hunters

11:30pm | 10:30c

Home Town

12am | 11c

Home Town

1:30am | 12:30c

House Hunters

2:30am | 1:30c

Home Town

3am | 2c

Home Town

4am | 3c

Home Town

5am | 4c

Watch Live TV

Don't miss your favorite shows.

Live Stream HGTV Now

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.