Decorating the open space above kitchen cabinets

redfeatherbuttAugust 2, 2010

I only have about 11 inches between my kitchen cabinets & ceiling. What is "in style" now to put up there? My kitchen is traditional. Here are some pics. The wall paper is gone and painted a light warm tan. I'll soon have new granite countertops and tile backsplash. I still have the collection of Italian pottery animals. Do people still use silk plants in this area?

I need ideas. Thanks!

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I have about the same space as you do. I have left mine empty.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 4:25PM
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Please could you post a photo of the re-painted walls? And one of the Italian pottery animals -- and then we could probably give you more informed opinions! Many thanks! :)

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 5:04PM
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Empty is OK but I really wanted to utilize my Italian pottery. Here is a more recent picture showing 2 of the 5 pieces. (There is also florescent lighting up there too.)

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 5:05PM
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Okay, redfeather, STEP AWAY FROM THE SILK PLANTS!! (said in humor; I know you can't hear the tone of voice) :)

I took everything off my cabinet tops when we repainted a few years ago, and didn't put anything back for forever. And you know what? It's refreshing, and clean, and orderly looking. I see pictures now of the old kitchen and wonder how I ever could have lived with all that STUFF up there. Eventually, I saw two pictures that I really liked and put them up above the cabinets on one wall and have officially declared the cabinets DONE. Sometimes it's good to know when to stop!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 5:47PM
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First of all, get "what's in style" out of your decorating plans. You don't want your house to look like everyone else's do you?

I like the idea of your Italian pottery. I wouldn't put one on each ledge, I'd start with a grouping and work out.

When I used to have the same space, I'd put decorative plates up there and they looked pretty nice.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 6:11PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

I like it unadorned best. Clean, uncluttered, plain, and simple. Will you or your cleaning woman be getting up there every week to dust those? I had decorative plates at one point and when we repainted it was appalling how much greasy grime had accumulated even though they looked absolutely clean and I am a bit of a clean freak. I just am not a fan of a lot of stuff that will invariably get dusty. Also, there is already a lot going on with the grain in your cabinets, so it might be nice to have the area above the cabinets unbusy.

Oh...and I agree--step away from the silk plants...teehee.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 6:49PM
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I agree that the style these days is to leave it unadorned. As for using your pottery, I think that what I'm seeing most is a grouping of like things. The magazines say that is how you get a big impact.

I think it would look nice to put them above your stove. Would you consider taking the doors off of those cabinets and using that cabinet for display?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 7:47PM
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what about adding a thicker crown molding to your walls??? that's what i'm thinking of doing in my kitchen...

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 8:58PM
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traditionalgirl1 - I have stepped away from the silk plants! LOL! :)
cyn427- I have found they really don't get that dirty and I don't mind cleaning up there.
beachbum - The cabinet above the stove will not work as a display cabinet because of conduit and a large exhaust duct work.
I will group them into 2 groups. 2 of them over the stove, and 3 of them in the refrigerator area. I have other Italian plates and a platter I will use on the other ledges. I have such a greenery addiction that I think it will look too cold. I've always used greenery to soften the look. I am in rehab, and it's hard to change! :)
busybee3 - I did actually think of adding thicker crown molding but with the cost of countertops, backsplash, new sink, new cook top, new baseboards, and the Venetian Plaster... I have no $ left. Maybe later. Someday....

Thanks everyone for your help!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 11:06PM
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Do you have lighting above the cabinets? Just some inexpensive rope lighting might really give you a nice look.

In my kitchen, well, in the "old kitchen" I had lots of potttery and antique things up there, but in the new kitchen--nothing but lighting. We did add new crown molding (we had none). It is very fresh and "freeing" if you know what I mean.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 8:18AM
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I agree with the others that like it plain.
I also agree that you should display your
Italian pottery.
I was wondering if you could display some in
your eating area and a few on your counters.

How about posting the rest of your kitchen, maybe we
could come up with a display area in your breakfast

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 11:41AM
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Here are some current pictures. (There is florescent lighting installed up there.)
I do like my counters uncluttered. With the exception of a few "functional" things. I really don't like to clean under and around stuff on the counters when I cook. I guess that is why I want to decorate above.
I do have a couple of other plates I could use, but the artichoke plates match the green in my valences, so I went with them. The pig platter is a nice Intrada piece that I got on a trip to Italy. I welcome your thoughts and my feeling cannot be hurt. :)

The Breakfast room is dedicated to the family parrot. I'd love a hutch or bakers rack on the empty wall, but just no room. Looking for art or something to hang. Even shelves would be too crowded.
    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 1:05PM
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I love the pottery, but would prefer to actually see them at more of an eye level to be able to appreciate them.

Another vote for nothing above cabinets, but find some place your beautiful pottery can really be seen.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 1:17PM
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Look at the red feather butt! :)

Nothing on top UNLESS you can't find another place in the area for your cool pottery. I think it would be nice to see them eye level too. I'm excited to see your kitchen makeover! Looks like you have tons of room.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 1:52PM
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Love your grey!

You could always cheat and carve into the studs for some display space, but that would ruin your new beautiful paint.

Otherwise leave your pottery atop your cabs, they look cute. You could always mix in some milk glass pieces to make them really pop.

Here is a link that might be useful: Last 3 pics - Cindyandmocha's wall pantry/bookshelf display

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 2:29PM
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I love the pieces you have, but I think I'd use the plates to frame the animal figures, like this:

I think it would give them more presence and interest then when isolated. If not two plates, maybe just one offset behind each animal?
    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 5:01PM
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I have a collection of copper pots/pans, along with several trays, old and new. I like your pottery, but maybe you could try mixing it up a little with some sort of metal, or even a few wrought iron pieces. ;o)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 6:24PM
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I just came back from visiting my MIL and she has a bit of space between her upper cabs and ceiling. She has some of her collection of little sculptures and some of her funky plates. I even think there was a plant up there. I wish I'd taken a picture, I loved the way it looked.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 7:50PM
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I lived most of my life in TX and I agree that silk greenery on top of the cabinets (and lots of it) seems to be a TX thing. We moved to the Carolinas 2 years ago and my kitchen felt so stark I put up several items on top of the cabinets to soften the look and make the kitchen feel more homey. Some of my neighbors have left the tops of their cabinets bare, but their kitchens have backsplashes with some visual interest. Personally, I like the look of the plants and I think it's a matter of personal preference and decorating style. I think your pottery would look nice grouped with greenery or baskets or some wrought iron pieces.

I am posting a couple of my kitchen photos (hopefully no one will tease me too much :) ) Please disregard the tupperware and Halloween buckets!

I also wanted to add that my original intent was not to put so much stuff on top of the cabinets and just do a few groupings instead. Personally, I feel like grouping smay work better in kitchens with taller spaces above the cabinets - but that's just my 2 cents : )

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 8:30PM
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I have a few things on top of my cabients: a group of 3 items, a group of 5 items and one larger lone item on the other wall. Oh, plus a grouping on top of the fridge. One side of the kitchen cabients has a foot between the cabinet tops and ceiling. The distance between cabient tops and ceiling on the other side starts at a foot and ends at about 8 feet (the cathedral ceiling in our great room is over 15 feet at the peak). It was a LOT of empty space so I decided to put something up there. Plus our walls and cabients are almost the same color (not colors I picked, they don't even match!!!) and I wanted some color (green is my accent color). The kids artwork and a rosemary topiary are on the ledge over the microwave/ovens.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 8:37PM
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You ladies are amazing!!! Thanks for all the latest ideas and pictures! I agree I need to add more texture and mix it up! tricia560, I love the rooster between the plates. Thanks again for everyones help. I need to go shopping!!!!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 11:51AM
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