Bewitchin’ Kitchen

Today we’re going to take a little break from the design project diary.  We’re almost finished there, which is kind of bittersweet.  It always feels good to finish up and see the completed project but kinda sad to have to say goodbye for now to the client.  Especially the ones that are fun to work with.

The friend of a friend called me and asked if I’d take a look at her kitchen and offer some advice on a space that has been challenging to work with.  There’s a rather large gap between her upper cabinets and the corner.  I’m not really sure what the original intent was for that space, but can understand why it is a challenge.  Your attention is drawn to the vacant space because your mind wants to fill it and link those cabinets to each other. As there isn’t anything there it’s unsettling and appears unfinished.

Chicagoland kitchen with oak cabinets, formica counters and stainless steel and black appliances
Challenging kitchen space

I’ve come up with three options for the space which will connect the two cabinet runs together and make the space more interesting. 

Option 1: This one is the least expensive option, but done right it could be kinda cool.  Find a paint color that is darker than the wall color, but lighter than the cabinet color.  There’s a whole range of colors to work with but what we’re looking for is an accent color.  Paint the corner space between the rows of cabinets in that color.  Paint only the space from the top of the cabinet to the bottom of the cabinet- in other words, you’re completing the cabinet runs visually.  In this space, you can hang some cool artwork, or decorative plates or something like that. For repetition, use the accent paint color on another wall in the kitchen- just not either one of the walls in the picture. You can pick up random decorative plates at places like Pier 1, and Home Goods for very little money.  Once you’ve collected them, lay them out on your table or an area that’s marked off to be the same size as what you’re working with and arrange the plates to your liking.  Take a picture of them and then use that to guide you when you put them on the wall.

cream colored wall with collection of plates.
Decorative plates

Option 2:  Install some stainless steel or metal shelving in the space.  You’ll need at least two shelves, and put them so that they fall between the top and bottom of the cabinet.  Again, you’re visually connecting the space between the cabinet runs.  Use the shelves for decorative items such as vases, decorative bowls, cups, etc.  Not an inexpensive option, but one that allows for some additional storage. 

 Wall mounted stainless steel shelving with cups on cup hooks
stainless steel shelving

These would also require that you size them as close to filling up the space as possible. If you’re using the type of shelving shown here, you could probably get away with just one row instead of two.  You would need to have one shelf on each wall and you’d have to make sure they line up at the corner. I found this one online at

Option 3:  Find some decorative mirrors that are similar in height to the cabinets and are nicely framed.  The closer they can be to the width of the wall space, the better.  Place them so that their frames touch in the corner, creating a sort of window in the space.  It’s a little “fool the eye” trick.  Again, you can find interesting mirrors at places like Pier 1, Home Goods, World Market and many places online.  I went to Ballard Designs for these.

Antique looking framed mirror
Mirror that looks like a window
Row of mirrors above a green banquette.
Another option for window-like mirrors

I’d love to hear other ideas and have you vote on which of these the client should adopt!

Previous Post
Design Project Diary- Day 17
Next Post
Design Project Diary- Day 21