Rookie Mistake: Countertop Clutter

Rookie Mistakes: a series of common decor mistakes made by rookies… aka us. And no we are not judging because we have made (and continue to make) these mistakes too!

Remember the Rookie Mistakes series is a NO JUDGEMENT ZONE. We’ve both made ALL of these decorating mistakes in our own homes and simply want you to learn from us so you can make your home look amazing.

Rookie Mistake – Countertop Clutter

How to remove countertop clutter and style your kitchen decor

Picture your dream kitchen. Maybe it has glossy marble countertops, a range hood, a farmhouse sink, and luxurious lighting. Sounds dreamy right? Regardless of the style of your dream kitchen is, we’re guessing this vision probably doesn’t include tons of countertop clutter…like toaster ovens, unopened mail, 40 random spices, and crazy knick-knacks on every.single.surface.Tips to tackle countertop clutter in your kitchen

The truth is you can have the most beautiful kitchen in the world, but if the countertops are covered in crap it’s not going to look its best. Countertop clutter is a rookie mistake we see often and today we want to encourage you to tackle this problem once and for all. Because even if you don’t yet have your “dream kitchen”, you can make yours look 100x better with intentional (& functional) styling and a good purge of all the things.

Ditch the Appliances

The first thing that’s gotta go? All of those countertop appliances. I’m looking at you toaster, crockpot, panini press, blender, etc. And now we know what you’re going to say…”But I use this appliance, I NEED it out!” Be honest with yourself. Is it really that difficult to take a small appliance out of a cabinet and plug it in when you need to use it? And do you really use it every day? Store a toaster in a cabinet Instead of allowing my toaster to take up valuable counter space, I keep it tucked away in a cabinet. I can then easily grab it and plug it in when it’s time to make my afternoon staple…avocado toast (yes, I’m #basic). It really isn’t that difficult to grab the toaster out of the cabinet and I don’t have to display this eyesore.  Nespresso machine with coffee cup tree

However, there is one appliance we both keep on our countertops…our coffee pots. We each use our coffee makers a couple times a morning, so it makes sense to keep these out (btw, I’m obsessed with my Nespresso maker. Best Christmas present ever!). However, you don’t need to display all of the accessories that go with the coffee maker (i.e. Keurig cups, filters, etc.). Keep those little knick-knacks in a cupboard over your coffee maker and then take each item out when you need so you can have less countertop clutter.

Keep countertop clutter to a minimum and hide away appliances

Take a good look around your kitchen and try to find hidden spots for any appliance that isn’t an absolute necessity.

Remove Unnecessary Items

Remove unnecessary items from your kitchen countertops

Now that those big bulky appliances are gone, it’s time to take inventory of the other items in your kitchen. Don’t just let any item take up the valuable real estate on your kitchen counters. Only keep things out that serve a purpose, or add a hint of style to the space. Display utensils in a pretty kitchen canister

It’s okay to keep some kitchen utensils out, but choose a cute canister (like this marble one) and don’t overcrowd the jar. You probably don’t need 32 spatulas on hand, so choose utensils that you reach for often and only display those. You can purge the others or put them in a drawer to use only when you’re cooking.

Spices are another thing to consider. We have a nice set of salt & pepper shakers that we keep out, but we don’t showcase ALLLLL of our spices. Instead, those are tucked away in a cabinet. We used to display our knife block with all of our knives, but the bulky piece was taking up valuable space on our countertop. So we purchased this knife organizer and placed it in a drawer. It’s now simple to grab a knife when needed for cutting.

Ideas to Style your Kitchenopen shelving in a kitchen

Now that the unnecessary items are gone, here are some ideas to intentionally style your kitchen countertops so they’re functional and looking good. Neither of us loves our kitchens because they really aren’t our style (although Bridget’s upcoming kitchen renovation will soon change that!), but we’ve each added small styled areas that make us love our kitchens a tiny bit more. So even if you abhor your kitchen, there are still things you can do right now to make it look better!

Conceal Outlets

Outlets are a necessity in any kitchen, but man they can be an eyesore! As we’re planning Bridget’s kitchen renovation, we’re trying to be strategic when their placement to avoid this in the future. But if you have lots of outlets that aren’t going anywhere, you can cover them up with the right items!

Use frames to hide outlets in your kitchen

These framed recipes don’t just add a sentimental touch to my kitchen, but they also hide the outlet and plug for our Amazon Echo! Consider layering in some frames (like this recipe art) or cutting boards to conceal some of the outlets throughout your space. A well-placed frame, plant, cutting board, or utensil holder can hide those kitchen eyesores.

Create Zones

Use a fruit bowl and basket to corral produce

This is another big one for us both! Create functional zones throughout your kitchen space. Instead of randomly throwing items on your counters, group them to make a bigger impact and to make the space appear less cluttered. We keep our fruits & veggies grouped in a basket and on a marble stand. Whenever we get home from the grocery store we can easily toss items into the basket and it’s nice to visually see how much produce we have for the week (i.e. those avocados need to be used ASAP!). Display apples in a wood bowl for stylish kitchen decor.

This wooden bowl for fresh fruit is another great idea to add functional style to your kitchen space. Choose stylish pieces you love and then fill them with ordinary kitchen items!

Use a Cutting Board as a BaseDisplay fresh flowers on a cutting board in your kitchen

We already mentioned that cutting boards can be propped up to conceal outlets, but they’re also a great base for functional & stylish kitchen items. Display a plant on a windowsill in the kitchen

I have a small cutting board on the windowsill in our kitchen. It holds a plant (that loves the sun right there!) and a candle that we light every night after dinner. Use a cutting board to corral items

I also use a cutting board to hold our olive oil, salt & pepper, and utensil holder. It acts as a home base for these small items and keeps them all grouped together. Plus, we can easily take the items off and use it to chop up some veggies when cooking!

Choose Stylish Soap Dispensers

Soap and lotion dispenser from Williams Sonoma

Soap near the sink is a kitchen must, but no one said it needs to look dowdy. Indulge in swanky soap and your kitchen will feel that much more luxurious! We love this set from Williams Sonoma (the perfect gift and the pink grapefruit scent is amazing!).

 Use a marble soap dispenser in your kitchen for added style

Or buy a nice soap dispenser and put soap directly into it (like this marble one we have).

Other Rules for a Clutter-Free Kitchen

  • Don’t let mail accumulate. Recycle items immediately
  • Find an alternative spot for your keys and wallet (even in a drawer works!)
  • Put dirty dishes directly in the dishwasher
  • Tidy up the kitchen before bed each night (here’s what I do each night to get our kitchen clean!)
  • Put dirty hand towels in the laundry immediately and replace with a fresh one.
Ditch the countertop clutter for a clean and stylish kitchen

So what do you say? Are you ready to tackle this rookie mistake? Let’s all get our kitchens looking their very best!


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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