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Simplified Decorating: How to Decorate Kitchen Countertops

1 simple rule for kitchen counter decor and 10 items to make them pretty but still functional while cutting the clutter.

We’re on Day 3,959,309 of room refreshing over here (or something like that anyway), so it seems like a good day to get the kitchen counter decor clutter in check. 

Organizing and refreshing and styling the little spaces is what saves me in winter until we can bust out the paint and power tools in spring. (It’s 70 degrees outside today though, so we’re already getting the itch for home improvement over here.)

But until then, our kitchen counter decor needed some help. When the clutter starts collecting, I start getting antsy.

Pardon the crappy cell phone pic…

kitchen countertop before

It felt so good to remove every little thing on these countertops and give this place a long overdue deep cleaning.

But the kitchen countertop styling is the fun part, of course. 😉 The tricky thing is to decorate kitchen countertops without annoying clutter. 

kitchen countertop decor after

UPDATE: We gave this room a massively much-needed kitchen refresh a couple of years ago. You can see the budget-friendly no-demo makeover here. 

While I was at it, I figured this one would make a good addition to the Simplified Decorating series to breakdown how to decorate every nook and cranny in the home. 

So if you’ve ever been stuck on countertop decor, here’s the best solution.

cutting boards and planters for kitchen counter decor

(Some affiliate links are provided below. Full disclosure here.)

1 Simple Rule for Kitchen Counter Decor

The number one rule: The pretty stuff should also be functional. 

Because if you’re not going to actually use the items on your kitchen countertop almost daily, what’s the point of them really being there?

That’s how stuff makes the cut in our kitchen anyway.

cutting boards, tray, and bread box as kitchen counter decor

I like using all of these things on our countertops…

1. A Pedestal Bowl

It makes fruit pretty, especially ones that you want in easy reach. Olivia has been obsessed with pears lately for some reason, so I keep these in her reach to snack on.

2. A Candle

I like to light a candle while cooking dinner and keep it burning until bedtime to ward off any not-so-nice cooking smells. I love this little pedestal to keep ours on.

candle and fruit bowl for kitchen counter decor

3. A Tray

I like having a tray in the corner of our countertop to hold all of our frequently used essentials – salt and pepper grinders, olive oil bottle, butter dish, and utensil holder of wooden spoons. And a plant to help freshen the air.

tray with crock of cooking utensils, plant, oil, butter, and salt and pepper as kitchen countertop decor

4. Wooden Cutting Boards

We’re always needing these in easy reach.

cutting boards for kitchen counter decor

5. Pretty Soap Dispensers

I like using these glass soap dispensers instead of the plastic bottles just to keep our sink looking nice. I found this little tray to help corral them. And I used my label maker to make one for “dishes” and one for “hands”.

hand soap and dish soap tray for kitchen countertop decor

6. A Live Plant (or Two)

I’m attempting to improve my green thumb over here. Haha! But I do like how they make our kitchen feel clean.

decor beside a kitchen sink

simple kitchen counter decor with fruit tiered tray and coffee station

7. Tiered Basket

We use this little brass one for separating our avocados from our bananas and apples.

tiered tray as kitchen countertop decor

8. Coffee Mug Rack and Coffee Canister

Just to keep a couple quick to grab. The faster I get my coffee in the morning, the better. 😉

coffee station on a kitchen countertop

9. Bread Box

I love how big this one is yet it’s still modern and minimal.

10. Knife Block

Ours have served us well since we got it as a wedding gift 9 years ago.

cutting boards, bread box, knife block, and tray to decorate kitchen countertops

That’s it! We use every single item on our countertops, but they definitely don’t feel like clutter now.

And now maybe this will motivate us to keep them clutter-free. Here’s hoping!

kitchen counter decor and kitchen shelves with green cabinets

Do you have any other kitchen counter decor essentials? 

Olivia decided ours was missing an Easy Bake Oven, so we currently have that going for us. 😉 And Regan’s dishwasher magnets are back. But it’s all still every bit as beautiful.

If you want to save this post for later, you can pin it here:

How to Decorate Kitchen Countertops | 1 simple rule for kitchen counter decor and 10 items to make them pretty but still functional while cutting the clutter.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I update my kitchen cheaply?

Change out the hardware, incorporate a few houseplants, swap out your light fixtures, declutter, install open shelving, or create a coffee bar.

Are white kitchen cabinets out of style?

Nope! White cabinets are timeless and while they may ebb and flow in terms of what is “en vogue”, they never are considered out of style.

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34 Comments

  1. Interesting post and has me thinking about my problem areas! I want items I use everyday out on the counter and in a “safe” spot. I need to move my toaster further away from the sink and it could easily fit close to the coffee pot center. I like my antique jars with pasta/rice/beans on the counter (out of sight-out of mind). My real problem area is the sit down bar! All my bills and other paperwork seem to collect there no matter what kind of desk system I have set up. I make a lot of lists and all of that stuff collects on the counter! I should probably build in some nice drawers under the counter to corral all that stuff or something!

  2. Can I just say – Perfect timing!! my kitchen remodel is finally complete and I’ve been struggling with this very thing!! I’m taking your suggestions with me to go shopping for some of these exact items. Thank you!

  3. i leave my Cuisinart food processor on the counters. For years I put it away and often wouldn’t get it out because it was too cumbersome. I decided a while back that a pretty kitchen is one that a cook lives in. I use it so much more now and it has really cut down on my meal prep time. I agree everything has to be functional to make the cut.

    Nancy