The kitchen is thought of as the heart of the home, and we all know that it is more than just a place to enjoy meals. The kitchen is where the family gathers after a long day apart, serves as a place for kids to sit down to tackle their homework, and sometimes even functions as a work-from-home spot. So it's no wonder that many people wish to make their kitchens as stylish as possible; they're such a key room within the home!
When it comes to decorating your kitchen counters specifically, there's a delicate balance at play. You'll want to ensure that your countertops are functional and aesthetically pleasing, but you certainly don't want to incorporate anything that could make this valuable space appear too cluttered. So what are the basic principles to keep in mind when tackling your countertops? We spoke with interior designers who chime in below with the ins and outs of styling these surfaces. All agree that keeping function top of mind is ultra important here, but don't worry—there are many ways that you can maximize practicality in the kitchen without sacrificing style. Read on for tips from three pros based across the country.
Meet the Expert
Cut Any Excess
The kitchen certainly isn't the room in which to display trinkets that have no utilitarian purpose, so save any major collections for the living room. "Because kitchens are one of the most functional spaces in a home, we like to style counters with items that will actually be used—like cutting boards, cookbooks, wooden spoons, and hand towels—so that we’re not adding unnecessary pieces, just enhancing what would already be there," Brenda Thompson of HouseLift Design explains. But that doesn't mean you can't get a bit creative with the pieces you choose. "Using natural materials like wood and greenery helps to keep the space from feeling cluttered," Thompson says. "We love plants and fresh herbs in small pots!"
Another designer-approved wooden accent? The cutting board. You're certainly going to need a cutting board or two in the kitchen, and you may as well lean one on the counter to save on storage space. In addition, wooden cutting boards add welcome texture to any space; it's no wonder we see them on display in so many kitchens, large and small. If you have multiple, you can layer them over one another.
Let Your Countertops Shine
While small accents are key per Thompson's advice, don't forget to let your countertops themselves take center stage if they're made from a special material. "When we are styling kitchen counters following one of our kitchen renovations or new builds we are usually working around really gorgeous stone countertops, backsplashes, and millwork," designer Nicole Hirsch of Nicole Hirsch Interiors says. "We always want to keep that as the hero," she adds. "Never add too much stuff! Let the gorgeous countertops speak for themselves."
If you're wondering how you're going to let your countertops do the talking while ensuring your kitchen remains practical, keep in mind that fruits that you like to keep accessible, such as apples or bananas, don't have to cramp your countertop style. "Using footed bowls or stands makes for a pretty display without taking up valuable counter space," Francie Winchester of Francie Winchester Interior Design explains. Plus, they make the average display look a bit more elevated and elegant.
Add Some Life to Your Kitchen
As a final touch, bring some greenery into your kitchen. "We always try and incorporate real or dry flowers to bring a 'live' element into the kitchen," Hirsch comments. Note that there are plenty of realistic-looking faux florals on the market to pick from if you're not one to make a weekly flower run. Additionally, consider trimming branches from your own backyard for a budget-friendly, organic-looking solution.