I was prepared this time--since I was planning to get some customizable shelves from my favorite hardware store (Ace Barnes Hardware!!) I wanted to be sure to get the right size for the space. I measured the wall and approximately how high up I wanted the shelves. I decided at that point I wanted probably 2 shelves. Since my walls are white and I don't have a real color scheme in the kitchen, I decided to go with white shelving.
I put my colorful collection of vases and what not on the shelves at first:
Inspired by others dining room hutches and shelves I've seen in blogs, I decided to streamline and put only one color on the shelves. The collection started with the cow shaped creamer you can see in this picture. I added a vase I found at the salvation army, and one day I found a couple other vases at Michael's.
I am overall very happy with this look. Eventually I may spray paint some of the pieces to match the others more closely. The pitcher in the middle in particular is much more of a cream than a white. Another future change is to replace the college-style black metal cubes with a real buffet or cabinet. I've had my eye out for a long dresser at the Salvation Army that could be used in the kitchen, but so far I haven't had any luck.