How to Decorate Kitchen Bulkheads

A kitchen bulkhead is a soffit that juts out over the top of the cabinets. You may be tempted to remove the bulkhead to free up space for taller cabinets. Bulkheads are often homes to vents, electrical wiring and pipes. This makes removing the bulkheads a difficult and expensive undertaking. Your bulkhead might make you feel claustrophobic or date the kitchen.

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Kitchen bulkhead

Step 1

Take down the wallpaper border. Since bulkheads are small strips of sheet rock, they were a popular place to put wallpaper borders. This can make your kitchen seem outdated. This draws attention to an area of your kitchen that you might not like. It also breaks up the space and can even make the ceiling feel lower. You might be intimidated by removing wallpaper. Use a wallpaper stripper. Remember that you are just working with a small area so don't be overwhelmed if it's your first time taking down paper.

Step 2

Continue your wall color onto the bulkhead. This is an easy way to decorate your kitchen bulkhead. Use whatever wall color you used under the cabinets. This makes the space flow and will help your bulkhead disappear. If you don't have a lot of wall space in your kitchen, consider using a strong color like a red or burnt orange. This will pop against your cabinet color. You might even like that your bulkhead gives you more wall space after it's painted properly.

Step 3

Use vinyl lettering. You may feel like your kitchen bulkhead sticks out like a sore thumb. If your guests are going to look at it, give them a reason to stop and stare. Pick up inexpensive vinyl words. The bulkhead will act as a frame for them. Don't go overboard. Just choose one or two letters or phrases that have significance to you. Vinyl lettering only costs a few dollars and you'll start to see your bulkhead in a whole new light. The best part is that you can easily take these down when your style changes.

Step 4

Turn the bulkhead into a plate rack. Have your contractor place a plate rail between the top of your cabinets and the bottom of the bulkhead. This way you'll have extra storage for small objects. Some kitchens have open space on the top of the cabinets where you can place decorative objects. You might miss this if you have a bulkhead. You can make up some of the space with a plate rail. Your bulkhead then becomes a decorative element in the room that looks like you built it on purpose.