There is probably no room in the house that has as many functions as your kitchen. No longer is it limited to the utilitarian function of preparing meals and washing dishes. The modern kitchen is often the hub of the home—family and guests gather there to share meals, drinks, and conversation. As such, you want your kitchen to reflect your tastes and sense of style while providing the functionality that you need.
One of the items on which you must decide as you design your kitchen is the countertop. As a matter of fact, in the area of both beauty and functionality, it is a primary consideration. And when you begin to research this critical component of your kitchen, you’ll understand how many options you have in choosing one. While color and material are part of the selection process, there are quite a few other features to consider. It can be overwhelming.
As you decide on which factors and characteristics are important to you in your countertop, keep in mind some of the following: durability, heat resistance, price, maintenance…and unique style. You can ensure that your kitchen stands out with the countertops that follow.
But first, look at some of the basics of choosing a countertop.
The choice of materials alone can make your head spin, but here are the six most popular:
· Granite: A top selection of homeowners for its durability
· Quartz: A maintenance-free option available in an array of colors and patterns
· Laminate: A budget-friendly option
· Wood: Butcher-block is functional and decorative
· Marble: Gives any kitchen a high-end look
· Stainless Steel: Lends a modern, industrial look
Keep in mind that this is not a complete list. To give your countertops a unique appeal, you might consider other options. Here are seven countertops that will make your kitchen truly unique:
1. Glass Can Brighten Any Kitchen
You can stay with the basics or get creative with glass countertops. Either way, you’ll have a surface that’s resistant to heat, stains, and scratches. Glass is easy to maintain and costs about the same as granite.
Glass surfaces can be textured or smooth, colored or translucent, and you can combine them with LED lighting installed beneath them for an added creative touch.
Just like any other surface, you can get your glass countertops custom-designed. They are installed without seams for a bright, contemporary look that’s quite a bit different than hard stone surfaces.
Butcher block counters, typically made from birch or beech, can give your kitchen character and lasting good looks. They are easy on your budget, costing a bit more than laminate but half the price of stone. And if you’re the do-it-yourself type, wood is easier to install than other materials.
And your choices aren’t limited to butcher block. Reclaimed wood surfaces are an eco-friendly alternative that’s durable and soft—no noisy pans and plates, plus less chance to break dropped glasses and dishes. Also, even though they last for many years, wood counters can be recycled after they wear out.
3. Go Serene or Sassy with Quartz
You can give your kitchen a cool look or make a bolder statement thanks to the versatility of quartz. These countertops come in a variety of colors, including fire-engine red and apple green, to give you daring options in designing your remodeling project. Earth-toned browns, blacks, and cream colors are more sedate but no less distinctive with sparkles and veining for the look of granite or marble.
On the practical side, quartz is considered to be one of the earth’s hardest minerals, making for a durable surface. Quartz crystals are mined, ground into dust, and then fused with resin binders. High heat and pressure form the slab, while pigments are added for color.
4. Double-Up on Function with Split-Level Countertops
A two-tier island unit is a smart idea for open-plan kitchens. While the upper level provides a place where guests or family can sit and talk to the cook, the lower level and all its preparation mess are screened from everyone else.
Once again, you have many options in designing your kitchen with two-tier countertops. You can go elegant or contemporary, according to your unique style. You can use any of the dozen or so materials suitable for countertops and change them for each level. For instance, you could use quartz on the upper level and butcher block on the lower food preparation area.
5. Sliding Countertops are Exceptional and Functional
Homeowners might be trying to optimize space when they choose sliding countertops and combine them with hideaway kitchen features. More likely, however, may be a desire to create a kitchen that won’t be found in the typical American home.
Some countertops are designed to slide at the touch of a button while others move manually. Either way, they are a unique and practical feature addition to your kitchen.
6. Save Money With Tile Refinishing
Have a ceramic tile countertop in your kitchen? Instead of replacing the counter, tile refinishing will transform the dated tiles into a new and beautiful area of your kitchen. Not only can you skip the process that goes into choosing and installing a new material for your kitchen counter but you can also save on money.
Tile refinishing can also be completed in one day, in comparison to the weeks you’d need to wait for a new countertop to be properly installed.
7. The Surprising Versatility of Concrete
Although the use of concrete for countertops is growing in popularity, it is still not all that widely accepted. This means it’s still a perfect choice for anyone looking to have a new kitchen with unique countertops. You can create a functional and beautiful workspace in any size kitchen.
After the concrete is sealed, it is stain resistant, and it can be manufactured in any shape with edges, inserts, and inlays. There are endless color options, and its appearance improves with age. What more can you ask?
Join the Fun
Who would have thought that there are so many choices in countertops? Or that they could be so much fun? With over a dozen materials from which to choose, endless colors and styles, and various features that are both practical and attractive, it’s the perfect time to be planning to remodel your kitchen around a countertop that stands out.