How to Decorate Kitchen Counters {Decorating 101}

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Learn my no-fail kitchen counter decor formula, PLUS the 10+ items to create functional beauty and make your kitchen feel magazine-worthy!

Ever since I finished my kitchen makeover and shared 7 Ways to Refresh a Kitchen, I’ve been tweaking my kitchen counters. I’m always tweaking every room, but I felt like my kitchen was missing a few more details to feel *just* right.

So, I started researching what might be missing. Was it art or trays or decor?

I’ve come up with more than 10 different items you may not have considered for your kitchen. And when you’ve added all of these, not only will your kitchen be more functional, it’ll feel like you’re living in a magazine!

The No-Fail Kitchen Counter Decorating Formula

The key to decorating a kitchen is to find beautiful objects that you actually need in the kitchen.

I’ve found that the perfect formula for a beautiful and function kitchen is this:

  • Choose Functional Items that are Beautiful
  • A Few Beautiful Items that Don’t Create Clutter
  • A Beautiful and Functional Kitchen that you LOVE!

When looking for items like salt and pepper shakers, cookbooks, soap and trays, find a beautiful one! And then sprinkle in a little decor that doesn’t take up make much room or create clutter. I love adding art or a lamp to a kitchen, but don’t want to create clutter, so find an empty corner or hang something on the backsplash!

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Kitchen Counter Decor Ideas

OK, let’s dive in to get some ideas for decorating the kitchen countertops!

1. Display an Open Cookbook on a Stand

For years I just sat my cookbooks down on the countertop, surrounded by my ingredients. Until one day I realized I could buy a cookbook stand and get the cookbook up off my counter. Duh!!

A cookbook stand is a great way to create a moment in a corner, but also serving a function of holding your recipes. Win/win!

But even if you don’t have a cookbook stand, you can leave a beautiful cookbook open on your counters for a beautiful lived-in touch. It’s like a coffee table book for your kitchen. ☺️

I love leaving a favorite, beautiful cookbook on the stand. And I’ll just set a different recipe in front of the cookbook if I’m using one of my family recipes from my 3-ring binder. Functional and beautiful – that’s always the goal!

Kitchen island with blue pantry door


2. Tray for Corralling Larger Items

I love a tray for corralling a bunch of smaller items, making them feel intentional!

This corner in my kitchen counters has been the home of my knife block since we moved into the house. I just plopped the knife block in the corner and lined everything else along the back of the counter.

But when I brought in a tray for this corner, it made that space feel so much more intentional and it looks so visually interesting now!

I was able to corral my utensil canister, knife block, plant, oil cruet, salt & pepper grinders and butter keeper all in one spot. All of it is perfectly handy for cooking at the island, too!

And if you have plenty of room, try a lazy Susan tray so that you can turn it to access things in the back.

Tray in corner for corralling Kitchen Counter Decor


3. Oil & Vinegar Cruets

If you do a lot of cooking, you probably use oil and/or vinegar in most dishes. How nice is it to have it handy on the counter, but in a beautiful cruet?

I use olive oil in almost every dish I make, so I used to just keep it in the pantry and get it out every time I cooked. But now it’s right behind me, so I can grab and drizzle.

4. Artwork

It might sound funny at first, but adding art to the kitchen elevates the room and makes it feel lived in like other rooms in the home.

I’ve shared about artwork in the kitchen before, on my walls and on my desk. But I recently added some interest above the backsplash with some framed printable pear art. (See above photo.) While mine isn’t actually ON the countertop, it could be!

You can truly add art everywhere: on a shelf, in a tray, on a desk, on the wall – or lean it up against the wall on the countertop. Botanicals, nature, and animals – all good art for the kitchen!

Kitchen Desk Area with artwork


5. Fruit Bowl

What better way to help your family eat healthy snacks than by keeping a bowl of fruit on the counter? This is the place we store our bananas, apples and any other fresh fruit I bring home from the store – that doesn’t need to be refrigerated.

Not only is it convenient, it’s pretty, too!

Large Dutch Oven and Fruit Bowl on Kitchen Island


6. Herbs or a Plant

Real plants and herbs bring real life to your kitchen! It’s convenient because they are also near the water source. No more dead plants in random corners of the house.

I had a black thumb until I bought a couple of plants in 2020 that I slowly learned how to love them and keep them alive!

Pothos Plant on Kitchen Counter Decor

I needed something green and lush to fill this odd space behind my kitchen sink. This easy-to-care-for pothos plant was the perfect thing! It’s gotten so big that I’m trying to propagate some clippings so I can grow more elsewhere.

But a green living plant – herbs or any plant – is a perfect accessory for a kitchen countertop.

7. Pretty Lotion & Soap Dispensers

One way to make an every day moment feel special is by using beautiful soap and lotion dispensers next to the kitchen sink. When I was looking at kitchen inspiration for my makeover, I noticed that every since home had pretty dispensers.

So, I found some I loved and just refill them when they are empty!

Pretty Soap & Lotion Dispensers in Kitchen


8. Cutting Boards

A beautiful wooden cutting board is not only for cutting, but used as a serving tray for charcuterie boards. It’s a perfectly function kitchen counter decor item!

You can lean them up against the wall, or hang them! Either way, they are a beautiful, functional item in kitchen countertop decor.

Kitchen Counter Decorating Ideas

9. Candle on a Pedestal

I love having a candle in the kitchen to help counteract some of the strong food smells. I like a yummy, foodie scent in the kitchen, like: sweet lemon, grapefruit, country pear or fresh-roasted coffee.

And I adore the sweet little wooden pedestal it sits on! Perfect for keeping it elevated and beautiful on my counter space.

Kitchen Candle on a Pedestal

10. Salt & Pepper Shakers or Grinders

All cooks need their cooking staples handy, so what better way to keep salt and pepper nearby than with some gorgeous shakers or grinders?

I recently bought these beautiful beechwood salt and pepper grinders with a selection grinding system that allows you to choose your favorite grind size. They are so well made, a delight to use while cooking and beautiful!

Tray for Corralling Kitchen Counter Decor Essentials

11. Butter Bell

Did you even know you can leave butter out on the counter in a dish that keeps it soft? Grab a butter bell dish or butter keeper, fill it with butter and the dish with a little bit of water, and you’re ready for a slice of bread or toast! It’s not only useful for buttering your roll at dinner, it’s pretty sitting out on the countertop!

12. Lamp

Very few things feel cozier than having a lamp on in the kitchen after the dinner dishes are done. Therefore I’ve always been a proponent of lamps in the kitchen!

It gives a calming evening vibe that makes a home feel nostalgic. So the next time you’re trying to fill up a corner in the kitchen, consider a lamp!

Don’t forget to put it on a smart plug, so that it automatically comes on a dusk every night!

Lamp in the Kitchen


I love that my lamp resembles a jug or water vessel, so it feels right at home in the kitchen by the sink.

Honorable Mentions

If you have a smaller kitchen, you may need to keep some appliances out on the countertop. My favorite appliances to leave out are beautiful KitchenAid stand mixers, pretty coffee maker and cast iron cookware.

Other items to leave out on the countertops might be a spoon rest, vase, baskets for napkins or a cute cookie jar. Those would be beautiful left out as well!

Final Thoughts

Since my kitchen counters are only reserved for useful, beautiful kitchen counter decor, it makes it so much easier to keep them clean and cleared off! It’s so fun to finish cleaning up the kitchen at night and look around to see just beautiful things on the countertops.

Tray on kitchen counter with knife block and utensil canister

BONUS: DIY Cafe Curtains

You may have noticed that I made some cafe curtains to hide our “appliance garage” – aka open cabinets near our ovens. I think it had doors on it at one point, but they weren’t there when we bought the house.

I got tired of looking at the microwave, toaster oven and Vitamix, so I decided to try to cover them in the easiest way possible. Sometimes it’s a great idea to hide some items on the kitchen counters, am I right?! ☺️

Plaid Christmas Kitchen Decor

The above picture is the previous view with the microwave in plain view and my cookbook was covering the toaster oven and Vitamix.

So, I used some leftover fabric from recovering my chairs, bought a tension rod and cafe curtain clips at Walmart and made little curtains. They are a temporary, inexpensive solution that is kinda cute!

Kitchen Counter Decorating Ideas

I love that it brings in another texture and pattern to the space. And it ties in some of the pattern and color from the dining room since it’s the same fabric that is covering the chair seat cushions.

I don’t know if we’ll ever gut the kitchen, but until then these curtain will probably be there!

And to make the curtains, I just used some hem tape to hem all of the sides. I love an easy, no-sew project!

I hope you are inspired by my kitchen counter decor ideas. As always, I’d love to see your countertops, so feel free to tag me on Instagram at @turquoisehome.

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  1. Your kitchen is beautiful and looks very functional! I love how the tops of your cabinets aren’t open, but instead have wall space above, so you could even add long narrow art up there, or a plate/tray collection! We built our house and while I kind of like having space to display things in the open area above, it was recessed on top of the cabinets so I had to add risers to elevate things so you could see them, and of course it collects dust and grease despite using the vent when cooking (seriously, how does the grease get up there so high?!). Your little curtains are so cute! I love Antique Candle Company and had no idea they were on Amazon. I recently learned they are discontinuing the Fresh Roasted Coffee candle that my family loves, I think we all need to write them about that and maybe they will change their mind. In the meantime, I need to stock up! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you, Vicki! Yes, I love how I don’t have open spaces above my cabinets. 🙂 I did in my old house, but it was only 6 inches, so I couldn’t even display anything up there. It just was an opening to collect dust and grease! I was planning to box them in, but then we moved to this house, so I didn’t need to. But it’s so much nicer not to have to clean up there! Sorry to hear your favorite coffee scented candle is being retired. They recently did move some of their candles to Amazon, so that’s convenient! I hope you have a great day! xo, Laura

  2. I’m not so lucky to be able to do this. I have no pantry but lots of counter space. On top of my counters are a coffee pot and a Keurig, the day will approach when these are one. Soap dispenser, Kitchenaid, Ninjafoodi 9/1, toaster, juicer, can opener, coffee pod holder and on top of this is my spices, Ninja blender fruit bowl, air fryer.

  3. Great ideas for the kitchen counters. Do the original home owners know about your website and their former house getting a beautiful transformation? I think that would be so fun to watch this happen at any of my former homes.

    1. Hi Allison, I have no idea if they know about this blog… but I do think it could be fun to watch! We didn’t really have much contact with them, so I don’t know! 🙂 Thanks for being here! xo, Laura

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