The kitchen is the heart of your home, so any plans for remodeling should be well thought out and designed accordingly. Countertops are one of the main focal points of a kitchen and can instantly upgrade and refresh the entire aesthetic of the room. It’s essential that the style, color, and material are chosen with care.
The eye is instinctively drawn to your kitchen countertops, so the style of your countertops sets the entire tone of the kitchen. The best kitchen countertops depend upon several factors, including personal style, use, functionality, and maintenance needed to keep them in great shape. Consider the attributes of each material before making a selection to get the best possible value while achieving a stunning design.
Below are some factors to consider when picking the material of your countertops.
The best kitchen countertops must be durable. The best countertops still look brand after years of wear and tear. Countertops are the place to chop, slice, and prep all your meals. Not to mention, the kitchen is a high traffic area, so your countertops have to withstand any potential bumps, dents or knicks. They need to be scratch-resistant and withstand regular cleaning to remove bacteria and food residue. This means that porous surfaces such as travertine and other natural stones need to be sealed to prevent build-up and contamination. Engineered stone is a more durable alternative that also comes in a wider variety of colors.
Glass countertops are increasing in popularity and come in a surprising array of styles and colors. They are resistant to heat and highly durable, although be aware they can sometimes crack or chip under excessive force or weight.
The best kitchen countertops can last for many years when they are properly cared for and selected with functionality and style in mind.
Some countertop materials require regular maintenance to keep them looking their best. Households with children or that engage in frequent, busy meal prep may want to look into options that need little upkeep.
Stone materials should be sealed on occasion, with the softer limestone, marble, and soapstone needing more care than the highly scratch-proof granite.
Concrete offers the option to customize the pigment to suit nearly any aesthetic, but it also demands additional maintenance. Extreme temperatures can cause warping and damp items left to sit on the counter may discolor the surface. Some of this can be prevented by sealing the countertop every three months as well as keeping it freshly waxed.
Wooden counters are a little more forgiving since scratches can be sanded out, or left to add to the character of the wood. They are easy to keep clean and just require oiling to prevent water damage.
Homeowners that don’t mind the extra upkeep may be fine with selecting a countertop that matches their vision if they have the time and desire to keep it in good condition. Families with small children and people with busy schedules need to understand the time commitment involved with maintaining their countertops. They should be willing to budget the time needed to keep their counter surfaces in great shape if they want to decide on a material that requires frequent care.
Cost is, of course, always a primary consideration when selecting materials for any kitchen remodeling job. Most materials are priced by square foot and thickness. Homeowners with a smaller kitchen may be more able to splurge on a higher-priced material without breaking their budget.
Consider the type and style of material that is desired for the best kitchen countertops for you. Some will have a more cost-effective alternative. For example, granite and marble are fantastic countertop choices but can be pricey. Laminate comes in many varieties, including a stone-look effect that may be a reasonable alternative to natural stone. The drawback of this material is that it can be scorched easily by hot pans and isn’t as long-lasting as some natural materials.
There are other solutions for keeping costs down. If a granite countertop is out of reach price-wise, then granite tile could be considered. Tiles won’t have the same visual effect but can be equally beautiful.
Kitchens can be decorated to match any taste or style. Whether the goal is to remain eclectic and mismatched or add warmth to invite people to find a seat and have a conversation, it’s important to consider the aesthetic of a prospective countertop.
There are some common choices that have come to be associated with certain styles. Wooden, butcher block countertops add warmth to a traditional or Mediterranean-style kitchen. They are the best kitchen countertops for farmhouse and coastal aesthetics. Metal can be used to achieve a more functional and industrial feel, while natural stone materials are great for rustic kitchens.
The other features and cohesive look of the kitchen will affect how the selected material is seen. There are limitless options for color and style choices. Various features of any material can be played up with accent pieces or the tone changed by the furniture and décor of the room.
Countertops can even be more highly customized by different styles of edges. Square edges are the most common and cost-effective choice, but decorative edges such as radius, bevel, and ogee can add a lot of interest. Remember that these additional details will come at a higher price.
There are three main areas of every kitchen that naturally draw the eye and contribute to the overall tone. They are the cabinets, floor, and, of course, the countertops. When these three elements are planned out properly, they complement one another beautifully to create a gorgeous kitchen.
The best kitchen countertops have a color palette that consist of two main colors that complement one another nicely. A third, bolder color can be used as an accent. Neutral color schemes are common and allow for easier changes throughout the room, but there are plenty of more adventurous choices that work well. Many types of common countertop materials naturally contain several different colors, so the cabinets or flooring can be used to draw out these subtle shades.
Solid-colored materials will function a little differently than multi-colored ones. Solids can be created in one seamless piece and are more resistant to stains. Scratches on the surface can usually be buffed out, an option not available in other styles.
While the best kitchen countertops should coordinate with the kitchen cabinets, it isn’t necessary to have them match completely. In fact, a little variety and contrast will add a lot of interest to the room. If the kitchen includes an island for extra storage and increased work surfaces or seating, the material and color chosen can be different from the rest of the countertops. This gives a visual element to separate the functionality of both surfaces and keep the kitchen from looking too bland and uniform.
The best kitchen countertops can add personal flair and increased functionality to a home. When the above factors are taken into consideration, selecting a new countertop becomes a much simpler process.
Each of the common countertop materials has its pros and cons that should be weighed carefully before selecting the right option. It all depends on what look the homeowner is going for, as well as the amount of regular maintenance they are willing to do, and the durability of the material to withstand everyday use.
A home remodeling expert can help you with all the above factors and help you choose the best kitchen countertop for your kitchen.