How To Decorate Kitchen Counters To Keep Them Fashionable And Functional

Keep it pretty and practical.

Photo:

ANNIE SCHLECHTER; STYLING: MATTHEW GLEASON

Decorating your home can be endlessly fun—and incredibly intimidating. Some designers know just what a space needs to bring it to life; for others, decorating poses more of a challenge. Your first decorating project might be to tackle highly visible areas like the living room or bedroom, but let’s not forget about functional spaces like the kitchen. Small decorative touches like fresh flowers, baskets of fruit, or pretty countertop appliances can truly bring the kitchen to life. Here are a few tips on how to decorate your kitchen counters, while still keeping the space clean and functional.

In her Southern California kitchen, designer Cari Berg swapped the old Formica counters for Carrara marble and installed Shaker-style cabinets.
Photo: Karyn Millet

The Golden Rule: Avoid Clutter

When you’re decorating the kitchen, it’s crucial to think about functionality. The last thing you want is to clutter your counters with décor, leaving no space for cooking. When it comes to kitchen décor, less is more; edit carefully and remove any items that don’t serve a purpose on your countertop. There are, however, some decorative elements to bring stylish flair to your kitchen counters. Here are a few design tips to make your kitchen counters as pretty as they are practical.

Meg Kelly 1960s Ranch Remodel White Kitchen with Open Floor Plan
Alison Gootee; Styling: Matthew Gleason

Go the Natural Route

In the kitchen, don’t get too fussy with décor. Instead, show off the ingredients that you keep stocked at all times. A beautiful fruit basket makes a natural—not to mention useful—decorative element for your kitchen. We love multi-tiered fruit bowls, which add height to the countertop, but a simple wooden bowl does just fine. For a breezy coastal look, opt for natural materials, like the seagrass.

Welcome Guests
Laurey W. Glenn

Flowers, Flowers, Flowers

We keep a vase of fresh flowers in every room of the house, and the kitchen is no exception. To make a kitchen centerpiece, opt for dramatic coastal greenery, like a fanned palmetto leaf. Pro tip: If you don’t want to worry about keeping flowers fresh, opt for a vase of dried blooms.

Classic Materials
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Show Off Those Beautiful Bakes

If your house has a resident baker, make the sweets the star of the show. That pretty pound cake will look great on your countertop, maybe even under a glass cloche. Create layers on your countertop with a cake stand and keep it stocked with a pretty cake or pie, or opt for a wicker bread basket to stash baguettes from the local bakery.

Cottage Details
Laurey W. Glenn

Break Out The China

Don’t keep your precious china locked away in a cabinet. Showcase your favorite pieces of chinoiserie as countertop décor. Mixing cherished hand-me-downs with modern appliances creates charming, vintage-inspired appeal for your kitchen.

Sleek Storage

According to interior designers, smart storage solutions are on trend this year; if you’re short on cabinet space, make use of your countertops. Create a sleek, cohesive design by storing olive oil in a stylish cruet and decanting ingredients like flour, sugar, and even snacks like cereal into cute containers—check out our collection of chinoiserie canisters, available at Dillard’s.

Dillard's

Price at time of publish: $32-$36

Kitchen countertop
Photo: Francesco Lagnese

Function And Fashion

If you’re short on space, certain appliances (like a toaster or coffee maker) probably claim a permanent spot on your counter—but that doesn’t mean they need to be eyesores. Ditch the basic toaster you’ve owned for years in favor of a charming design—matching the color to the other elements of your kitchen, of course. Your burner range is part of your kitchen countertop, too, and it should be treated as such. Use the stovetop to show off your prettiest teapot.

The Kitchen: Mask the Updates
Laurey W. Glenn

It’s All In The Details

When decorating, details make all the difference. Add a pop of color with a decorative spoon rest. Keep it movin’ with a lazy Susan: this kitchen staple spins to help everyone at the table reach what they need—not to mention that it looks great. Bar cart? Forget about it—we’re making a bar corner, right on the countertop. Showcase your crystal glasses, sleek decanter, and classiest liquor bottles.

Ready to design your dream kitchen? Get started here.

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