Want to make a statement in your kitchen? Let your countertops do the talking.
Well-planned countertops and islands can be a centerpiece in your kitchen. Here's how to get the look you want and the product that fits your style.
Look and feel
Decide what aesthetic you are trying to achieve, said Jane Dressler, regional design studio manager for Toll Brothers. Certain countertops will be a better fit than others depending on the style — whether transitional, traditional or contemporary. For instance, granite works better in a traditional or transitional space, she said.
Consider lifestyle too. Do you have young kids? Do you do a lot of cooking? How will the space be used? "Maintenance goes hand in hand with the use of the space," Dressler said. "A matte finish will not show fingerprints and smudges as easily as a polished finish."
It's also important to think about the future of the space, said Brian Murrieta, owner of Aztec Marble & Granite. Beyond the obvious budget, style and maintenance questions, ask yourself this: "What do you want to look at for the next 10 to 15 years?" he said,
Take your pick
Engineered stone products tend to top the must-have list for homeowners. "Marble-look and concrete-look quartz in particular are quite popular," Dressler said. “Unlike real marble, the quartz products stand up to the daily wear and tear of the kitchen and bathrooms.”
Engineered products also offer design flexibility. Engineered marble, for instance, can be colored to resemble traditional white marble streaked with dark or light gray but also comes in a clean white style for a very modern look. "There's a lot of versatility to it," Murrieta said.
Granite is still popular, but more often it might be used as a statement piece on just the kitchen island, Dressler said.
Butcher-block is also a top pick for an island as an accent with the natural wood adding warmth to the space.
For outdoor kitchens, homeowners are turning to porcelain slabs which are durable and can stand up to the elements outside, Murrieta said. This surface can also be used for indoor kitchen countertops. Porcelain can be a higher-priced option but offers a clean look and low maintenance.
Don’t forget to think about the edge of your kitchen counters and islands. Do you like the clean lines of a square edge? Does your traditional kitchen call for a bullnose, or rounded, edge? Do you want a full “waterfall” end on your island for a contemporary look?
Be sure to ask your builder's design center representative to explain the pros and cons of different types of countertops so you can decide which options are the best fit for your new home.