Best Kitchen Countertops
Durable and easy-to-clean, quartz imitates the look of granite or marble, but is more resistant to stains and scratches. Another bonus is quartz countertops come in a wide range of colors and have a uniform look, opposed to natural stone, which can have more variations. Designed for HGTV Dream Home 2009
What are the best kitchen countertops on the market right now? You're in luck—there are plenty of options to choose from, for every style and every budget.
Meet the Family
Mina Cerny, a nonprofit consultant, and James, a college professor, live with their kids, Rosemary, 5, and Louis, 3. After bouncing around five cities in 12 years, they settled in a 1972 Austin, Texas, ranch home. The details they chose for their kitchen remodel are bright, bold and definitely not intended for resale!
Mina and James considered barstools where the kids could sit and eat, but because stools would block the open-space flow, they went with a table instead. It's attached to the side of the island, a design risk Mina doesn't regret. "I love having a separate dining space, and I'm happy the kids aren't up high."
Big Green Island
The tiles aren't the only star of the room. An oversized island painted bluish green (Arsenic by Farrow & Ball) also adds drama. The eight-foot-long piece is 38 inches high — two inches taller than standard islands — so that James, who is 6'7", doesn’t have to hunch over to prep meals.
To keep the focus on the colorful tiles and paint, the Cernys chose a white oven and dishwasher. But rather than replace the stainless steel refrigerator, which was already in the kitchen and working fine, they built a wood frame around it and painted it white (Linen White by Benjamin Moore).
Marble spells trouble for some homeowners since, unlike granite, it can stain easily. But the Cernys didn't let that stop them. "We chose what we loved over what was practical, and I'm glad we did," Mina says. She cleans the counters with water and dish soap and has them resealed twice a year.
Many people like easy-to-clean tile or engineered wood for a kitchen floor, but the Cernys decided to use wide planks of hickory instead. "There’s a lot of variation in the wood, so when the planks were first put down, I was like, ‘Whoa, this is a crazy floor!’ But now I love all the tones," Mina says.
Homeowners looking to upgrade their countertops from laminate or tiles, whether or not it's with resale value in mind, will want to look into granite, marble or stone countertops for a high-quality surface that will last a lifetime (and likely provide a return on investment).
Homeowners looking to update the look and feel of the kitchen, without the cost (or maintenance) of stone, however, have a wide variety of surfaces to choose from. Laminate countertops like Formica, popularized in the 1950s, have come a long way—and offer a wallet-friendly way to freshen up the centerpiece of your kitchen. Solid surfaces like Corian, which once enjoyed the status granite does today, are another great option in the kitchen, particularly with its ability to seamlessly integrate features like sinks, drainboards and backsplashes.
The cost for countertop options like wood, stainless steel, engineered quartz, concrete and soapstone fall in between more inexpensive options like laminates, tiles and solid surfaces and luxury materials like granite and marble as nice middle-of-the-road options.
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