Filling in that Awkward Space Above the Cabinets {Kitchen Progress}

How to Fill in That Awkward Extra Space Above the Kitchen CabinetsWallpaper via Graham Brown – Kelly Hoppen

While we were waiting on my new bank of cabinets to arrive, the ones that go to the right of my dishwasher, there hasn’t been much progress on the kitchen since the day everything was torn apart. Fortunately we’ve been busy watching our wood floors go in so we weren’t bored around here. Heh. But today the cabinet guy not only brought the new cabinets but he fixed up a little area of my kitchen that has bugged me since we moved in.

What problem area am I talking about?

 

Dun…dun…dun….That rather awkward space above the cabinets.

You know, the space that isn’t big enough to display anything (even if you wanted to feature more dusty collections that require ladders to clean). That space that makes it impossible to paint the walls above the cabinets. The space that makes your cabinets look squatty but the space that isn’t really big enough to add more cabinets to make it look normal. THAT space. Maybe you don’t have that problem, but I did.

So, we decided to box that awkward space in so it would no longer bug me.  The cabinets will be completely painted so this is NOT the finished product, this is the progress so far.

There were so many ways we could have filled in that space above the cabinets. From installing brand new cabinets that fit the space, to raising the existing cabinets, to adding open shelves to creating small doors to adding some elaborate crown molding. Endless options, it seemed.  I don’t like to climb up ladders to get stuff and if it is too high I tend to forget what is up there, so I really didn’t want that space for storage. It wasn’t tall enough for much of anything. Plus, new cabinet doors are not cheap. In the end, we opted for a fairly simple remedy to our awkward space.

Our house is a new, northwest craftsman style, so while it does have a bit of personality, it is still simple with mostly straight flat moldings and only our dining room and powder room have crown molding. It isn’t a fancy house at all. We didn’t want to overdo details in the kitchen at this point or we’d outshine the rest of the house or overdraw our bank account, you know what I mean?

So a simple fix with a simple finishing detail fit the bill nicely.

We’ll be painting those upper cabinets white, so that entire upper cabinet wall will be white with simple white subway tile. I think the boxed in cabinets make the cabinets look much more finished and substantial and less squatty new house builder style. A nice little upgrade without a hefty price tag, I think!

Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the kitchen the new sink and drawers were put in place!  Progress is so exciting! Even though we are eventually painting all of our cabinets, it was decided to install new ones of the same finish as our existing cabinets so that when we paint them there will be no chance of finishes taking the paint differently.

The space where that red compressor thing is sitting is where our dishwasher will go. I’m excited about that nice long counter to the right of the sink and NO upper cabinets to crowd the space. I’ll have a simple open shelf above that double bank of cabinets for functional display. The yellow table thing is just sitting there so we have a surface to set stuff, like my new faucet. HOORAY! We do plan to have a not-yet-decided-upon movable island in the middle of the room for extra prep space.

Next steps, the counters (which I have not talked about yet but promise to very soon!) will be measured, created and installed, and then the subway tile will go up on the walls. Then we will get our sink and dishwasher all hooked up!

Do you have an awkward space above your kitchen cabinets?

You can catch up on all the posts on my kitchen update project here, or head straight to the reveal post here.

UPDATE: Here is what that awkward space above the cabinet looks like now (below!)!

Before & After Cabinet Kitchen Makeover

kitchen cabinet makeover

Kitchen baking area with open cabinets and two tone gray and white cabinets

kitchen-with-two-tones-charcoal-and-white-cabinets

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Comments

  1. I have that horrible space and I can’t WAIT to get rid of it. I’m hoping to put mini cabinets up there because I’m a firm believer of creating storage space wherever you can (and I have a tall husband who loves to fetch things for me). Your option is beautiful and will be even better after you paint the cabinets. And really, let’s be honest here, anything is better than that icky space up there, for all the reasons you mentioned!
    Erin recently posted..Garden tour by horse-drawn taxiMy Profile

  2. Had that awkward space in my old home and never considered what to do to fill it. Most of the time I was there I had the odd dust-catching nick-knacks. Current home someone put in drywall bulkheads up there, but seeing yours makes me fantasize about putting some veneer and simple trim over that the next time we touch that room. It looks very smart in yours! Filed away!
    Mark E Tisdale recently posted..Spreading my Virtual Wings – Guess Where?My Profile

  3. Oh this looks awesome! Really great job, this makes me want to do mine!
    Taryn recently posted..July in ReviewMy Profile

  4. Cheryl Thornton says:

    ok I have that space too…but I never thought of it as an ucky dust filled space…more of an opportunity to accessorize…I have seen other blogs with open cabinetry and baskets up there…but I really like what you did…I’m trying to picture that now in my kitchen and I really think it would make the ceilings look taller – we are thinking of re-staining our cabinets darker (we have the honey oak popular in the 90′s) and that might be a project for the future…thanks for sharing

    Cheryl from Ontario

    • My space was too close to the ceiing properly accessorize. In some cases with higher ceilings or a vaulted ceiling you can put baskets up there or something and it can look great, but mine was just a too short for anything but dust!

  5. I think like Cheryl in the comment above. I’ve always looked at it as another opportunity for a kitchen vignette, but I LOVE what you did there, and like Cheryl, I think it would make my kitchen look taller…hmmm…might have to put this on the honey-do list!. Painting it white is going to make SUCH a difference. Your progress is looking good and exciting!
    Kelly – Talk of the House recently posted..Happy Birthday to Martha and Me!My Profile

  6. i LOVE that little space. a soffit? mine is painted ceiling white and it’s filled with {wait, I’m going to run and count!} 105 sifters, graters, pans, utensils, spoons, tins, knife boxes, sifters, shakers, rolling pins, ETC.!

    i’ve LOVED displaying this collection of old stuff … but am pretty sure that when we move on from here all these treasures will probably not re-appear on my wall.

    any takers?
    Linda Stoll recently posted..Her House Smells Like a SandwichMy Profile

    • Laina Lamb says:

      I, too, have vintage kitchen tools displayed on top of by cabinets. Even an old electric mixer from the 1920′s… I love them! I’m glad you like yours, too, Linda. I may donate mine to a local recreation of a 1930′s farm for their kitchen when I decide to change, but no time soon :)

  7. We “filled ours in,” too. It just makes it look finished and the eye doesn’t stop. LUV the open shelf concept. It’s REALLY COMING together! franki

  8. No awkward space…ceilings are too low for that. I really like your solution. No decorating dilemmas, no extra dust, no climbing, yes, a very good choice.

  9. We’ve always wanted to do something about the empty space above the cabinets. May I ask if your solution was handcrafted? Or is that something that can be purchased as part of a cabinet set?
    I’ve loved the look of your former homes! But anticipating with pleasure how this one is going to end up!

  10. perfect! I love that trick and especially how it adds height!
    {darlene} recently posted..design board :: a gentleman’s library {vote for your favorite drapes}My Profile

  11. We also have that space above the cabinets (it is the bane of my existence!) I thought about small cabinets but I’m not so tall & don’t want to spend much time on a step stool. I’m going to show this to hubby and see if we can get this done (wonder if this can be a DIY project or should I just hire pros.)

  12. so agree about that space…too dusty for me but your solution was a great idea. We are in similar stages of our kitchen remodel and am so jealous of your wood flooring already in! Our granite and white subway tile should be in next week and looking forward to seeing your granite selection. Thanks for sharing the process with us….check my blog out as well to see how we are coming along.
    diane recently posted..Kitchen remodel: I know I am no cook but this is ridiculous!My Profile

  13. Fun! I love seeing the progress! But, what a pain it must be now to be living without your sink. Ugh!
    All my homes have had sofits above the cupboards so that has not been anything I’ve given a lot of thought to. But, my mom had cupboards built and the cabinet guy created these tricky little panels that popped out for storage. Not really all that helpful. I had to stand on the counters to get at them. I think your solution is much better. And I do love the look of ceiling touching cabinets.
    Hope your weekend is Extraordinary!!
    Diane recently posted..Copy Cat Challenge {Painted Outdoor Floor Cloth}My Profile

  14. Love what you did with that space Melissa! We have a bit larger space above the whole bank of cabinets so it is large enough for my baskets and large cast iron pots. My kitchen (and whole house) has so little storage space I was pleased to be able to use this space. I also put a rope light up there and had it wired in so that we have some lovely indirect lighting.
    Cathy Norrie recently posted..Crossing the EquatorMy Profile

    • I bet that looks great, I love baskets and cast iron pots! I really wanted to be able to put baskets or cool stuff there when I first moved in but nothing fit and it looked ridiculous so it just sat there empty and dusty. :-) Glad to finally have a solution that works for us!

  15. We had an awkward space above our refrigerator and filled it up with a large cabinet… Love that cabinet, it’s great for hiding away the big items we don’t use often :) PS. I saw you in my House Beautiful magazine and screamed out loud a little bit! hahaha! The ad for My Colortopia with the Caribbean Sea color, congrats!!
    Lauren recently posted..What’s in Season, Virginia – AUGUSTMy Profile

  16. We live in a rental and have that awkward spaces between cabinets and ceiling also. It is so dusty and gross, I don’t want to put anything up there even if I could reach it. I think the way you did yours actually makes the ceilings look taller and the space bigger. Well done! It looks great!!!

  17. That was a great idea. It really makes your cabinets look even bigger and draws your eye up more. Looking good!

  18. It looks great and such a simple but effective idea. I am so excited to see your finished kitchen.

  19. I’m lucky in that my cabinets go up to the ceiling. I use a pair of tongs or my super tall hubby to get things down from the top shelves most of the time, but I do have a kitchen stool in the dinette that I can use when the tongs aren’t gripping and hubby isn’t around. It’s perfect for my roasters, infrequently used pretty shaped pans, bulk bags that I refill from, etc.

    I used to keep copper pieces in that awkward spot in the last house, and pulling them down to wash once a month was a pain!
    Barbara recently posted..BookshelfMy Profile

  20. I love this idea.. that space above the cabinets is a real challenge!!!

  21. ah a stylish answer to an age-old question…to accessorize or not? from the before pics, it looks like the area above your cabinets was pretty short so hard to accessorize, but what a fantastic solution you devised! I love that all-the-way-to-the-ceiling look and wish we’d done it in our own kitchen. great decision!
    Cynthia Robertson Shaffer recently posted..the rounded corner paradox.My Profile

  22. HI Melissa, I like the progress you are making. We are just getting ready to dive into our kitchen and remodel all of it. Painting cabinets (that reach the ceiling), change the floor, and paint everything! Can’t wait. I can’t seem to get enough of looking at kitchens and getting new ideas. Hope you are doing well!
    Blessings,
    Debbie
    Debbie recently posted..Always wear pretty colors when you feel sad…My Profile

  23. I love what you did to make the cabinets look better — that change really looks great! I can’t wait to see more!
    Maria recently posted..Domes and ClochesMy Profile

  24. I so have this problem! And have often wondered how to remedy it. I can’t think of anything looking decent above the cabinets. And you’re right, it’s nearly impossible to paint above them. I did paint above them, but such a pain. Maybe we’ll do the same thing once money allows. :) Thanks for sharing.
    Laura recently posted..A’s Room Update {curtains}My Profile

  25. I have this problem too. Ugh.
    Rene recently posted..My sister’s wedding weekend.My Profile

  26. Have you been at my house and I didn’t know it?! That’s exactly what we did at our house, before the cabinets went white. Ours isn’t quite as dramatic since I still have 18″ to the top on one end and nearly 3 feet on the other end (kitchen ceiling vaults to 12 feet). Can’t wait to see your progress. Do let me know if you want photos so you can get super excited about how lovely the cabinets will be! :)

  27. can i just say how happy i am to see this?! i am super happy. we have this look in our kitchen, but with our dark cherry cabinets, i’m afraid it makes the whole space look too dark. i was thinking of removing them-essentially the opposite of all your comments, lol-and putting more white vases up there. but now, i’m rethinking!
    the cape on the corner recently posted..What do Ikea and milkglass have in common?My Profile

  28. stephanie says:

    i have the exact same issue in my new house- we are moving the cabinets a few inches higher and adding crown molding, however, i have no idea how to match them… BUT they are identical to yours! could you please share the make/stain color/material/company of your cabinets or how you matched the finish?! thanks so much!

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