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I’ve had the chance to visit many people’s kitchens through the years. One thing I’ve noticed is the different approaches taken to countertops. I’m not talking the material they’re made of but rather what sits on top of them.

Some people take the minimalist approach. Others, well, do not.

One couple I know had some work done in their kitchen last fall. When it was time to put back the stuff that had been packed away during the project, much thought went into what to leave out on the attractive countertop and what to stash out of sight so as not to deter from it.

Some people like all their gadgets, small appliances, salt and pepper shakers, coffee supplies, small TV, mail, even some packaged foods out and within easy reach. Others prefer to hide as much as they can behind the doors of cabinets or an appliance garage – a term that absolutely cracks up my daughter.

(Some day, I’ll throw “toaster cozy” at her.)

Other people use their counter space to display something they not only use often – but love. A crock of handsome utensils. A bright red stand mixer. A retro toaster.

Of course, a lot depends on how much counter space you have. When space is tight, you probably don’t want to clutter it up with a cow-shaped cookie jar or electric can opener you never use. But it’s also a matter of taste.

I once suggested to my mother that she get a toaster oven. We don’t have one but I know people who love the convenience, especially those who live alone.

“Why would I want one of those things on my counter?” she asked.

I wanted to point out that she had a trio of empty white ceramic canisters sitting out there, but I knew her answer: The shapely canisters were nice to look at. A toaster oven, definitely not.

When we first got our Keurig coffee-maker a couple of years ago, it looked massive to me, compared with our previous more streamlined one that made lousy coffee.

I finally got used to it, but I’m still not sold on the idea of leaving out the spinning carousel filled with K-cups. It takes up counter space, and I’m always stopping to rearrange the cups – filling in empty spots and turning them so the flavor name is right side up. Besides that, it reminds me of the coffee stations I see in the customer waiting area at service garages.

Sure I’ll leave it out when we have company. I might even pull it out on a weekend morning. The rest of the time I store it on the bottom shelf of the pantry cupboard.

What I do like to see: A pretty potted plant on a countertop. A vase of fresh flowers. A bowl of fruit.

I know these often are the props of staged photographs, but they add life and color to your kitchen.

Even if you have to move them now and then.

email: smartin@buffnews.com