Wall decor isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when designing a kitchen, but just because it isn’t as functional as, say, the oven or sink doesn’t mean that it’s not a crucial element to a happy gathering and cooking space. Though storage and natural light take precedence on the walls, there are lots of ways to get thrifty with kitchen wall decor. That’s why we rounded up our favorite examples. Once you see the 20 designer kitchens with stylish and creative artwork ideas ahead, you’ll want to prioritize decorating the walls, stat.
Veggie Still Life Collection
With a natural stone backsplash and then separating shelf, the artwork, sconces, and figurines are safely displayed above the splash zone in this deVOL kitchen. A pop of verdant green paint contrasts with the deep marine blue-green cabinets peeking out in the bottom right corner. When you’re not sure what kind of art you want in the kitchen, you can always count on a produce theme.
In this kitchen designed by Kim Dempster and Erin Martin, one cabinet is covered in chalk paint for notes and reminders, but also serves as a canvas for creative expression!
Hanging Pots (And Pigs!)
Forced to keep your pots and pans out in the open due to limited storage space? All the more reason to invest in good cookware that also happens to be pretty. In this kitchen by Sheila Bridges, the hanging cookware is further beautified by contrasting artwork and a shimmering blue wallpaper (those cast irons pigs are cute, too!).
Statement Ceramics and Glassware
In this kitchen designed by Arent & Pyke, decorative objects and thoughtfully curated barware on the exposed shelves brings depth and intrigue to the wall. If you like a collected, eclectic feel, zellige tiles and a hodgepodge mix of artwork and objects are a good route to take.
High Hung Art
Sure, the kitchen might be small, but where there’s a wall there’s a way. In fact, even a few extra inches of wall space will do if you have a ladder. The bright wall art in this kitchen by Commune Design is proof.
Designer Dee Murphy added a custom brass shelf between the Hellman range and the hood to perch knick-knacks and a mirror that makes the room look bigger. She mentioned that it’s not nearly as high-maintenance to keep clean as you’d think, either.
Asymmetrical Floating Shelf Display
Ultra sleek cement flooring, stainless steel counters and backsplash, and a gray stone island get a dose of warmth from the red stools and wood surfaces, but the wall decor really brings that final polish in this kitchen by Arent & Pyke. Since it only sits on a small section of the wall, the floating shelf stays aligned with the minimalist look. Plus, the asymmetry is undeniably cool. Plus, plus: The painting almost looks like a still life of the actual room.
A Cubby Display
If your kitchen wall is lined with windows, consider adding a pretty treatment that doesn’t totally block the light, like cafe curtains. This will bring in more personal style even if you have limited empty wall space to hang items. And, if you keep your shelving exposed, you can display a small piece of artwork behind plating, as Heidi Caillier did here. This keeps it safe from splashes, too.
Disco dance for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Yes, please. This kitchen designed by ETC.etera for L.A.’s Firehouse Hotel features a mirrored tile backsplash that contrasts nicely with the casual wicker stools. A metallic sconce and contemporary artwork elevate it even further.
Art In Lieu of Uppers
Designer Karen Swanson limited the number of cabinet uppers she installed in this English countryside-inspired kitchen, explaining that, “so many people want to blanket the wall in cabinets, but that can make a kitchen feel heavy and claustrophobic.” Instead, she chose slim glass-fronted storage columns lined in matte oak to highlight dishware, which also ended up freeing up wall space for sizeable artwork and more dispersal of natural light. A colorful tile backsplash also doubles as wall decor.
A tiny framed nautical painting above the cabinets is a sweet little surprise. Since the uppers cover almost the entire wall in this coastal kitchen designed by Kevin Isbell, the glass enclosures get a little fun with the patterned fabric lining.
One large-scale statement piece will do the trick, as exemplified in this contemporary California kitchen by Romanek Design Studio. The inky backdrop is a nod to the modern steel-framed windows while the greens speak to the lush view beyond. If you’re working with a similarly light and airy space, consider a similar choice in artwork.
Designer Gary McBournie used Benjamin Moore’s Covington Blue to evoke the 1930s and ’40s, “something out of an old Bette Davis film,” he says. And since this kitchen is by the water, he chose nautical artwork that speaks to the environment.
Smartly Scaled Artwork
Reclaimed wood shelving adds contrast—and necessary storage in this deVOL kitchen. The prettiest items are displayed on the exposed wall-to-wall shelves and cubbies so the less attractive essentials can be tucked away in the cabinets and the rest of the wall is elongated by a landscape painting that makes the room feel wider.
Painted Brick and Tiny Frames
Heidi Caillier painted the cabinets an icy blue hue and the brick walls white for a brighter aesthetic and then secured a small piece of artwork to bring some moody depth. The brass hardware and fixtures speak to the gilt frame.
Leaning Frames and Accessories
A glossy finish on these cabinets bounces light back into the room and a small elevated shelf between the cabinets and wall-to-wall windows allows for decorative freedom. Andrew Flesher leaned an antique still life and then added a candelabra and plant for an extra punch.
Scott Meacham Wood utilized all available wall space in this tiny kitchen. A trio of three-dimensional objects frame the archway and a clock brings old-world charm.
When you don’t want to overdo it with wall decor, call on tiles to double as artwork. In this deVOL kitchen, the unique abstract backsplash functions as decor and is easy to clean. Take it a step further with a statement paint color.
Create a gallery wall of plates, Anna Spiro did here. Not only does it allow you to display your collection of family heirlooms or unused but pretty dinnerware, but they’re also easy to wipe down while most other artwork doesn’t give you that option. (See how to hang a plate wall here).
A wall sculpture on the adjoining hallway wall as well as two small pieces in the actual kitchen do the trick here. When you’re worried about damaging art or simply don’t have the wall space, lean on sculptural lighting for a fun kitchen accent. Tamsin Johnson opted for a pretty wall sconce right above that back right corner art.
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