Here's what a designer thinks.
Are you currently renovating your kitchen or just thinking about it? You might be looking at a variety of different countertop materials. But choosing the right one can be a hard decision to make—not just because of aesthetics, but because not all countertops are created alike. While some materials are ideal for home chefs, others are better for families. Here’s how to choose the best kitchen countertop material for your home.
First, ask yourself a few questions. Are you a serious home chef or do you only cook on occasion? Will you be selling your home at some point soon and want to assure your kitchen won't look dated? Do you have young children who like to help you cook? No matter what your budget is, kitchen countertops don't come cheap, so it’s important to go with a material that will both complement the design scheme of the space and function well for your lifestyle.
The Best Countertop If...
Style Is Most Important
Designer Yvonne McFadden of Y. McFadden Interiors tells me if you’re looking for a countertop that’s easy to clean and maintain but also looks beautiful, opt for natural stone. Examples of this include marble, granite, sandstone, and limestone. “We always recommend using a natural stone when selecting a countertop for our clients’ kitchens because their natural beauty simply has not been able to be replicated in manmade materials.”
If you're planning to sell your home in the next few years, your best bet is also natural stone, as long as you make an effort to take care of it. Always clean off your countertop after cooking and be sure to wipe up any spills as soon as they occur to prevent staining (particularly on marble) and to keep them in optimal condition.
Durability Is a Priority
While natural stone is beautiful and relatively hardwearing, it isn’t indestructible and all natural stone is still subject to some level of etching, scratching, and staining. If you’re looking for a more durable countertop material, McFadden suggests choosing honed quartzite countertops. “They are a great option for anyone looking for lower maintenance, easy to clean, and durable natural stone. By honing any natural slab, you are able to minimize the appearance of fingerprints, watermarks, and spills between cleanings while giving the countertop a beautiful and sophisticated matte appearance.”
You Want an On-Trend Look
Marble countertops have been a popular choice for years, and recently, designers are choosing stones with dramatic veining for the most updated look. “We love using a light marble with dramatic veining. Montclair marble is a striking stone with a clear ground, meaning it has less yellowing to its brighter areas, and a beautiful, sharp definition between its bold veining and bright background,” McFadden says. “What’s more is Montclair is a more cost-effective option than many other marbles, making this stylish choice a win-win.”
You Have Young Kids
From making family meals to weekend baking sessions, there is a limit to even the most durable countertops in a family home with young children. “Whether we are designing for a serious home chef or a young family, we encourage our clients to ‘embrace the patina’ when selecting a natural stone for their kitchen.”
If this is the case, the designer recommends installing soapstone. “While soapstone is a softer stone that can be prone to scratching, regularly applying mineral oil will bring back its luster, and the overall wear and tear only add to its appeal and lived-in look, making it a great option for any kitchen.”
But if embracing patina isn't your thing, it might be better to opt for an engineered stone that will resist scratching and staining. Quartz countertops are heat-resistant and won't etch, so you don't need to worry about placing that hot pan on the wrong surface or accidentally leaving some spilled lemon juice on the counter.
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