The space between your cabinets and the ceiling offers room for simple decor.

How to Decorate Tall Spaces Above Kitchen Cabinets

by Jann Seal

The majority of modern families have homes with high ceilings, open rooms and combined living, family and dining rooms. While deep pantries and tall cabinets have become hallmarks of kitchen layouts, a long ledge above the tallest cabinets may stare you in the face, begging for stylish decorating. Ideal for stashing cooking crocks, pots and implements, these ledges need organization and a solid design eye to prevent them from becoming unsightly dust collectors. Fill the space tastefully -- without cluttering up the surfaces -- to create a pleasant vista for guest or family eyes to rest on.


Paint the space above the cabinetry a glossy hue of your favorite accent color. Hang ceiling molding painted the color of the ceiling. Be creative and paint the space with a wide vertical stripe, alternating colors used in your decorating scheme. Add texture by tiling the back wall to match the backsplash or use a Venetian plaster tinted your accent color. Simple up-lighting reaching from the top of the cabinet to the ceiling highlights a singular wall color, while the texture creates another dimension in the space.


Art, tilted against the upper wall or placed on small easels, attracts the eye. Pick a large painting or print to avoid having to use several small ones to fill the space. Frame your children’s artwork, matted in your accent color and with matching lacquer frames, and hang them across the expanse. Change out the art every year to create a living montage.


Display kitchen-oriented collections atop the cabinetry. Be aware that if crown molding is on the cabinetry, the top of the cabinetry where you place the items sinks a bit below the molding. Use risers such a small boxes or wood cubes to lift the items to a height where they can be seen. Vary the heights for interest, or create one long stream of a colorful collection, depending on what you have chosen to display.

Decorative China

Large platters, a series of plates, soup tureens, or even chamber pots collected during a vacation can bring back fond memories. Display all of them in the space between the top of your cabinetry and the ceiling. The key is to keep the area neat, and to focus the eye’s attention on one item at a time.


Whatever you have chosen to fill the space, be consistent in shape, color or theme. A long line of apothecary jars, German steins, or woven baskets are united in what they depict. Create a scene if you have the space, linking a whimsical metal animal to a bamboo birdcage and the bird within, and place a colorful silk flower between them. The scene tells a story and keeps the viewer entertained.

About the Author

Jann Seal is published in magazines throughout the country and is noted for her design and decor articles and celebrity *in-home* interviews. An English degree from the University of Maryland and extensive travels and relocations to other countries have added to her decorating insight.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images