Article By: Charmean Neithart
In certain areas of my house, clutter just shows up out of the blue. The kitchen countertop is a dumping ground for random, misplaced objects left by children and a naughty husband. On any given day I find junk mail, empty grocery bags, the ubiquitous unfinished glass of milk and spare change.
I like my countertops sparse, so I take responsibility for clearing them each night after dinner. As part of my nightly ritual, I clear the countertops, wipe them clean and then reposition all the things for the next day. I like a combination of functional things and pretty things out on my countertops, but I am very picky about my selections. It is a working area, after all, so function comes first. Here are some ideas for countertop styling that looks good and is functional, too.
Kitchen scale. This is a handy kitchen tool, especially for those who track portion sizes. A scale can also be useful for baking and weight conversions. You can find scales online in every color of the rainbow and digital versions, too.
Fruit bowl. I keep a bowl on my counter filled with fresh, seasonal fruit to encourage healthy snacking.
Silverware caddy. We use a silverware caddy for three square meals a day and just leave it on the counter. It makes perfect sense on a countertop close to the table or dishwasher.
Condiment canisters. You can place canisters for sugar and flour, plus salt and pepper shakers, right on top of the counter. These canisters can be glass, ceramic or tin. The styling details are endless, but I suggest airtight versions to keep out pests.
Mixer. I know an appliance garage is a handy thing, but I honestly like seeing mixers. I love the color and the simple engineering of a mixer. We use ours all the time, so it earns a counter spot in our house. Try a baking corner with a mixer, measuring cups and a rolling pin.
Cookbook stand. The book stand is one of my favorite countertop accessories. Use it for a hard-copy cookbook or an iPad with a recipe app. The best book stand is heavy enough to support even a large book. Consider a cast iron one with felt pads on the bottom to prevent scratching.
Oversize bowls. Here is an idea sure to appeal to some but not others. Oversize bowls can sometimes be hard to store, especially with standard-depth upper cabinets at 13 inches. I use oversize bowls a lot for pasta and salad. Find the best-looking and thickest one you can and leave it on the counter.
Herb plant. I like to keep rosemary on my kitchen counter for the fragrance and general softness it brings to the hard surfaces in my kitchen. Of course, I snip a bit here and there for cooking. Find a sunny spot on your counter and water your plant once a week. Other herbs to try growing are mint and basil.
Utensils and ingredients. I really like a container for tall utensils right next to my stove. I use a slotted spoon just about every time I cook, so why not have it there at the ready? And I think it's fine and interesting to keep oils and salt and pepper right within arm's reach.
Coffeemaker. Another power appliance in many homes, the coffeemaker need not be hidden away. Those who drink coffee every day should consider a coffee section for their counter.
Blender. Another kitchen tool available in any color, a blender is handy for blending soups, juices and smoothies. My favorite is the Vitamix Professional Series 750.
Toaster. My family loves toast. I bought the biggest toaster I could find, and there still is a line at breakfast time. The toaster definitely gets a spot on the counter in my kitchen. Keep yours next to a bread drawer or bin for a complete toasting section.