Using the top of a microwave as a shelf consolidates space on kitchen countertops and adds visual interest to the room. Depending on the location of the microwave, you might be able to display small knickknacks or big plates. Although some individuals believe microwave ovens produce radiation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says they only produce wavelengths like those of TVs and radios. Thus, radioactivity will not affect anything you put on top of the microwave.
Consider placing a mat or decorative cloth on top of the microwave before putting anything else on top. Some items make a buzzing sound when sitting on top of a microwave oven while it is in use, which can irritate people in the room.
Use a tape measure or ruler to measure between the top of the microwave and the upper kitchen cabinets, if necessary. This will dictate the size of the items that can fit on top of the microwave.
Look around the kitchen and see if anything in particular catches your eye as taking up too much kitchen counter space. Baskets of fruit, for instance, look just as appropriate on top of a microwave as they do next to the coffeemaker. You can also place smaller appliances, like toaster ovens or food processors, on top of the microwave if you don't have kitchen cabinet space for them.
Turn your microwave top into a display shelf. Arrange decorations as you would on a wooden shelf. For instance, you can set a plate rack on top of the cloth, and display a decorative picture or plate to enjoy whenever you're in the kitchen. If the space on top of the microwave won't accommodate something that tall, decorate with groups of smaller objects, like figurines.