The challenge comes from selecting items that have only one purpose, to stay pretty-much permanently on display but out of reach.
This means that you don’t really want to spend a lot of money but you want it to look nice – as if you spent a lot of money. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Shop your closets. Do you have a bowl from Aunt Sally that you like but really never use? How about a couple of baskets that came with fruit which are just to pretty to throw away? Maybe you inherited a lovely pottery vase that you are uncomfortable using around your rambunctious family. Bring what you have into the kitchen and lay everything out on the counters underneath the cabinets to get started.
Include signs and pictures. Do you have an empty frame? Put a nice piece of fabric or scrapbook paper in it and prop it up against the wall. The “Bon Appetit” sign in this second photo was purchased, but could just as easily be written nicely on an old chalkboard.
Display a collection. The kitchen to the left showcases an interesting group of antique baskets and pottery. If you like this look but don’t have the collection, visit thrift shops and “age” your purchases with watered down brown and black paint or even strong coffee.
Take your time: One final note: You don’t have to finish this part of your kitchen in an afternoon. Start with a few things and add others as you get inspired over time. Move things around. And above all have fun making the space above your kitchen cabinets totally yours.