Are You a Countertop Maximalist or Minimalist?

By Cristina Cleveland

Rustic Industrial Loft in Brooklyn

My best friend is a countertop minimalist, while her boyfriend is a countertop maximalist. As you can imagine we’ve discussed at length the pros and cons of each, and I’ve landed squarely in her court (no surprise). I don’t have miles of countertop space to work with in my kitchen, so I like to keep what I do have clear of appliances and accessories. I try to keep the items that get used most days of the week and are beautiful to me out in the open, while the rest is stored in cabinets and drawers until I need them. On the flipside, I think kitchens like this one that are full to the brim with well-loved crockery, stacks of mismatched bowls and chipped mugs look so inviting and lived in. Having recently taken the doors off of my cabinets and trying my hand at open shelving, I’ve been working on striking the right balance between what gets displayed and what stays hidden. So I’d love to know, which do you favor – are you a maximalist or a minimalist when it comes to your countertops? Have you found a system that works for you?

Minimal Kitchen

Magnetic knife strip – Yes these are a space-saving storage solution, but they’re also great at giving builder grade kitchens some character and texture.

Black dinner plate – Plain white plates are fail proof and always look good when stacked, and with white as a base you can always mix in a few more interesting bowls and plates in contrasting colors.

Subway tiles – If you are a maximalist, then I have found that stark white subway tiles can really create a clean backdrop for the cookware and utensils on your counters. These ones are actually peel and stick so renters and DIYers alike can make over your backsplashes easily and temporarily.

Walnut board – An even easier and quicker way to makeover your backsplash is to prop a few wooden cutting boards against it. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to bring a rich, organic texture into your kitchen, especially if you’re working with laminate or veneer cabinets or countertops.

Cake stand – If you are a minimalist and you are looking for a few pretty touches to add to your countertops, a pedestal stand like this can be used for sweet treats or fruits if you’re feeling healthy!

Teapot – Some of my favorite collections have been teapot collections artfully lining the shelves of peoples’ kitchens. If you have mostly modern finishes in your kitchen then materials like the cast iron of this teapot or a heavy duty pan are great ways to introduce texture.

Still life painting – I love this option because it takes up absolutely no counter space but still has a big impact on the look of a kitchen.

Cups – Neat rows of cups, glasses and mugs are a quick way to give your kitchen that designer coffee shop look.

Salt & pepper mills – I have seen very pricey versions of these rose gold salt and pepper mills, and that makes me love this $19.99 set from Target even more. And they look just as good on your countertop.

*Inspiration image by Alec Hemer