12 Stunning Ways To Decorate The Boring Sides Of Your Kitchen Cabinets

Of all the rooms in your house, nothing is more visually jampacked than your kitchen. For a room where every nook and cranny serves a purpose of some sort, a blank section can stick out like a sore thumb. If your cabinet has an exposed side that seems like a blank space, you've probably been itching for ways to make it more appealing or useful. Fortunately, there are some creative ideas that can fill the awkward void currently haunting your almost-perfect space.

For such a small area, the possibilities are numerous. From displaying simple household items to creating basic textured finishes, there is something to try for every kitchen owner. There are projects for those with an artistic side and those at every DIY skill level. Of course, every home has different scenarios, so you can adapt the ideas according to your style or taste, and how they work best with your space. 

Hang your plants

What else can best fill a dead space but actual living specimens of nature's beauty? Your blank cabinet panel can make an ideal backdrop for indoor plants. A pop of green will add vibrance and a comforting organic feel to the room. You can also fill the pots with bright blooms for a pop of color. And, for dual function, a hanging herb garden will sit perfectly on the spot.

There are various options for containers including terra cotta or plastic pots, and metal pails that can play off your kitchen's aesthetic. For an eco-friendly approach, try recycling your mason jars or coffee mugs. Do you lack a green thumb? You can also fill the containers with faux foliage as a low-maintenance option. If you need something lightweight, there are lots of indoor herbs you can grow in your kitchen using moss, coconut noir, or other soil alternatives.

Put up a side cabinet wine rack

If your wine collection display isn't stylish enough, show them off on a chic wine rack for visitors to admire. Showcasing prized vino and champagne is one of the easiest ways to add a touch of class to your kitchen. If it's in a high-traffic area or you need to keep it out of reach of children, you can mount the rack in an elevated location, like the sides of an upper cabinet.

There are numerous ready-made wall-mounted wine racks available online, and they come in various designs. Wooden racks give a warm homey charm and come in a wide variety of stain colors. For a more subtle look, go for linear metal designs. Diagonal holders can create visual contrast and points of interest. Whatever design you go for, make sure to measure both the height and width of the cabinet end to ensure it will fit properly when filled with wine.

Display your cookbooks

If you don't have much in terms of alcoholic beverages, surely other items in your kitchen are worth displaying. A shallow shelf will serve excellently for food-related coffee table books or big-format cookbooks. Professional stylists and stagers are known for finding ways to use books as art in homes. Displaying your culinary reading materials can provide a conversation starter and give your kitchen more personality.

Most likely, the available space at the end of your cabinet is just enough for a shelf a few inches in depth. That means your books will be displaying their covers rather than their spines. So, choose ones with that in mind. For safety, go for a shelf with a railing or crossbar to keep the books from falling forward. A metal option like this one from IKEA creates a modern look while wooden ones like these from Amazon would fit nicely in a country kitchen.

Build a decorative plate or cutting board shelf

Decorative dinnerware and china make perfect occupants for your cabinet-end display too. If you have pretty plates that deserve to be seen rather than kept hidden, use them to adorn your kitchen. If you use round dishware, set them on plate stands to stop them from rolling sideways. You can also use Command Strips and affix them to the cabinet's surface to prevent items from jostling. Fragile pieces should be reserved for the top shelves, especially in busy kitchens. 

When mixing and matching display pieces, strive for a cohesive color scheme that will blend harmoniously. And, adding other kitchen-themed items to the mix creates further dimension and texture. A collection of wood cutting boards or utensils can also produce an idyllic cottage-core effect. In a modern kitchen, you can use metal chargers for a touch of glam. When you're ready to arrange your pieces, group them so they are layered slightly to achieve a natural look. 

Add a luxurious towel bar

Every interior designer knows how impactful hardware can be to a kitchen's overall look. These important details are the equivalent of jewelry in a great outfit. Accessorize your cabinet end by putting up a fancy towel bar and see the difference for yourself. Not only will it be prettier but also help in making the space more efficient. Stowing your towel on this vacant section puts them at arm's reach to dry your hands or wipe up a mess.

To pull this off, look for the right hardware that complements the rest of the kitchen. You can stick to the same material type and finish that you presently have in your other hardware. You can also mix metals and use a finish to play off your knobs and handles. Then, fill the bar with towels that soften the look of your room and create balance with solid surfaces like wooden cabinets and stone counters. You can also hang other decorative items like a fun pot holder to inject more character while adding function.

Create an organizational rack for your spices

Is that neglected clutter of spice jars and condiment canisters in your cabinet messy and dysfunctional? Rather than hiding the chaos in the cupboards, why not set up a neat upright rack for them on your cabinet's side? The narrow space here is perfect for lining up your compact containers. The advantage of using a vertical spice rack is it lets you view them all at once. Otherwise, you have to dig through rows in your cabinet to find that stash of chili powder you're sure you have.

If you're confident with your skills, you can try to build your own hanging rack. However, modular types like this Magnolia one from Target can be bought online or from stores. Some designs are built with multiple shelves like this unit from Pottery Barn. Don't forget to check the measurements so you are sure it will fit the cabinet's exterior wall. For an organized appearance, transfer your spices and seasonings into attractive, uniform jars.

Hang macrame artwork

If the rustic charm of knotted ropes is right at home in your kitchen, find a macrame art piece to adorn your cabinet's blank side. The touch of texture will give the space a feel of creativity and tranquility. Of course, you can easily incorporate your macrame art into boho kitchens, but they also look right at home in biophilic spaces. And, black macrame with gold accents is the perfect way to soften an uber-modern kitchen design. 

Look for a narrow design that fits within the width of your cabinet's side like this one from Wayfair. If you're feeling crafty, you can also make your own piece with a kit from Etsy. To be more practical, you can also hang macrame pieces that have pockets like this Amazon option. Then, you can use your art to store your fruits and veggies or small pieces of kitchenware.

Install a fancy wall sconce

You can never go wrong by being generous with your kitchen lighting. Installing a handsome new sconce is a brilliant way to use your purposeless side panel. Not only will its light help brighten the room, but a well-chosen fixture can serve as a decor piece too.

Overhead cabinets are at an ideal height for a wall lamp or sconce. If your cupboards have blank ends where the sink is, overhead lighting works perfectly here for washing the dishes or cleaning your produce. If you have electrical skills, you can run the wiring and install the fixture yourself. If not, there are lots of wireless LED products available like this one from Home Depot. Battery-powered options like these are very easy to install and only require basic household tools. Plus, if you don't want to drill into the side of your cabinetry, you can hang them using Command Strips rated for the weight of the fixtures you choose.

Add open shelves for extra storage or decor

If the space permits, give yourself more storage by adding open shelves that extend from the end of your kitchen cabinets. These shelves can hold your decorative items like china or indoor plants. You can also use baskets or small canisters as a convenient spot to hold frequently-used loose items like pill or vitamin bottles. If you install the shelves connecting to your overhead cabinets, you can keep items out of the reach of kids.

To build your open shelves, choose a material that either matches or nicely contrasts with your kitchen cabinetry. Anchor the shelf on both the cabinet's sideboard and the wall. To be consistent in appearance, consider aligning each shelf with the ones inside your cabinet. If the end of your cabinet is near a door or in a high-traffic area, shelves with rounded ends may be a safer option.

Mount a convenient device charging station

Here is how you can make your kitchen cabinet side both glamorous and tech-friendly: put up a wall-mounted device charging station. If you are guilty of repeatedly forgetting where you left your phone, this is a great solution. Having a designated place where you can keep your gadgets will help you stay organized. Plus, you can safely charge them while you're busy preparing meals or washing the dishes.

You will find a good variety of wall-mounted charging stations on the internet, like this acrylic one from Amazon that holds multiple phones. There are also options that incorporate wood materials for a more homey kitchen vibe. Make sure to place the holder on the side of a cabinet near an electric socket. You'll also want to mount it in an area where it's not likely to be splashed by water or food splatters.

Cover it with wood slats

Wood slat paneling is a decorative wall finish technique that creates a feel of elegance in a room. It involves lining up a series of thin wood strips on a flat surface, placed with equal spacing between each other. The wood slats produce a textured finish, making it ideal as an accent wall. However, they are applied in numerous other ways such as for furniture, ceilings, and flooring. If executed correctly, they will work wonders for your boring kitchen cabinet sides too.

Installing wood slats requires precision and patience, but the concept is quite simple. First, you will need to collect the wood strips you will use. Typically you'll use boards that are about 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide. Then, determine how many pieces you'll need to cover your targeted surface area. Sand and stain each slat to your desired smoothness and shade. When they're dry, install them on the side of the cabinet using glue and nails, making sure that you have them aligned and spaced correctly.

Try this simple toe-kick paneling

Another DIY solution to give your blank cabinet siding some character is to style it using toe kick panels continued up from the base of the cabinetry. A toe kick pertains to the thin board running along the base of your kitchen cabinet, rising just a few inches from the floor line. Rather than have a plain, flat end panel, you can create a lovely uniform pattern by covering it with rows of the same wood panel.

All you will need to replicate this look are additional pieces of your toe kick wood boards. Stain or paint them to match the rest of your cabinet, then glue and nail them to the side starting from the bottom and going up. To produce a clean finish, use a trim piece to cover the cut ends of the panels or nestle them behind the cabinet's facial board.