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With kitchens now set as the crown jewel of the home, is it any wonder that countertop options have expanded exponentially? Open-concept plans place kitchens in the spotlight; one sure way to get the biggest bang for your buck is to choose a stunning countertop.
Rivaling only granite for the top spot in popularity, quartz offers many of the benefits of natural stone without the porous qualities. Quartz counters are manufactured from crushed quartz, to which color pigmentation and resin binding are added. Since it is a man-made product, it comes in a wide range of colors, and has no striations than can lead to cracks.
No two slabs of granite are exactly alike, as each are mined as single, large slabs from the stone itself. Some colors of granite are available in jumbo sizes, perfect for use on large island cabinetry (so as not to need a seam). The natural striations or patterns in granite lend a feeling of movement and interest, and can create a design focal point. Its porous nature, however, requires regular sealing to avoid staining from everyday spills and the collection of harmful bacteria.
Perhaps not the most rugged choice for high-use areas, glass is nevertheless an upscale, modern option for countertop application. It can be back-painted for a pop of color, or even used in combination with electronic devices or computers for a high-tech kitchen (can you say, “Beam me up, Scotty?”).
A name-brand quartz product originating from Spain, Silestone has been a favored countertop product for 30 years. Its unique incorporation of Microban Technology into the material itself, as well as its durability and beauty give it a spot among the top contenders.
5. Reclaimed wood
If you like the warmth of wood and don’t mind the extra upkeep, consider using this natural material for your countertops. Reclaimed wood is especially of interest, given its variations in color and width–not to mention the charm of restoring a bit of history!
Not just for driveways and basements anymore, concrete can be used to create stunningly beautiful countertops–especially if you’re going for a modern, urban vibe. Color options are endless, seams can be hidden so as to appear non-existent, and concrete can be poured into any shape or size. Once cured, the concrete is polished and sealed. One of the more unique characteristics of concrete is that the material is non-static, meaning that it will evolve and adopt character over time. Ultimately, the appearance of your concrete countertop will improve with age.
As mentioned above, depending on the material selected, various patterns are inherent to each. Remember that you don’t have to select the same pattern for all the surfaces in the kitchen. For instance, you may wish to select a more dramatic piece of granite with lots of movement and veining for the center island, and go with something simpler for the surrounding counters.
2. Shiny or matte finishes:
This is the time to think about how much you care about smudges, fingerprints, and crumbs showing on your countertops. A matte finish will be less likely to show fingerprints and smudges, and something with a bolder pattern will not show crumbs (which can be a mixed blessing–you may think your counter is clean, until you happen to run your hand over it only to find the sticky remains of this morning’s toast!).
If having a green kitchen is at the top of your list, you’ll want to research eco-friendly countertop materials. The reclaimed wood option mentioned above is one such option, and there are many companies that specialize in manufacturing countertop material from recycled glass and other composite material.
The choice is yours–there’s a rainbow of colors available in most every type of material. The old adage, “Go Big or Go Home” may not hold true here, however, as your choice in countertops is such an anchoring design element to the home–especially in the kitchen. The bright chartreuse Silestone may look great in the showroom, but how soon will you tire of it, or will it quickly become dated? If you’re drawn to the trendy colors, try using them in a kids’ play area, or in a craft room. If you’re leaning toward granite, it’s worth a trip to the quarry yard to select slabs individually, as each one is unique.
How likely are you to keep up on yearly sealing of countertops, if needed? Is it important to you to have a heat-resistant countertop? Are you concerned about spills and stains? Does the thought of germs gross you out? Consider you lifestyle and personality as factors when making your decision.
Here’s your chance to express some personality! Go ahead–bring in a bit of that chartreuse you like so well, or go for a fun pattern or modern shape. Consider installing a focal point piece on the wall behind the range. Your kitchen will sizzle with style!
Your countertops, like the rest of your home, should reflect your personality and lifestyle, and no one knows that better than you do.