Best Countertops

Discover the best countertop for your kitchen with these ideas for your space.
Luxurious kitchen design

Luxurious kitchen design

New kitchen with large wood frame and patterned wall, kitchen island with chair and ornamental base design.

By: Caroline Shannon-Karasik

While there are certainly a wide range of countertops that can be used in a kitchen, there are a few that stand out as the all-stars of the bunch, including granite, stainless steel, marble, tile, concrete, quartz and wood.

Kitchen Countertop Alternatives

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Engineered Beauty

One of the most popular countertop surfaces today, engineered quartz is versatile and durable. Its nearly endless range of color options allows you to visually tie an open kitchen to the surrounding living spaces like designer Caitlin Murray did here.

Smorgasbord of Surfaces

And why stop at two surfaces? In this gorgeous space, perimeter countertops are Taj Mahal Quartzite, and the island combines 3-inch-thick walnut butcher’s block with 14-gauge stainless steel topped by Silver Waves marble.

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Photo By: Robert Radifera; Design By: Jim and Kay Rill of Rill Architects and Nadia and Richard Subaran of Aidan Design

Butcher Block

For a warm, cottage kitchen look, opt for butcher-block-style wood countertops. Both decorative and functional, this hardworking surface is ideal for food prep — properly sealed, wood countertops are sanitary even for chopping meat. Unlike other budget-friendly options, like laminate, wood is highly heat-resistant so you don't have to worry about putting hot pots and pans on the surface.

Wood on White

Dark-stained wood adds contrast and a country feel to this white country kitchen by Historical Concepts Architecture & Planning. Like natural granite, wood counters can vary widely in the uniformity and graining of their patterns. That variation is part of their appeal.

Photo By: Richard Leo Johnson; Design By: Historical Concepts Architecture & Planning

Magnificent Marble

Counters of Carrara marble with a polished top function as beautifully as they look. While marble has a rep for being high maintenance, it can age beautifully with a little care – and nothing beats it for rolling out pastry dough.

Green Marble

A stunning twist on the traditional, the green marble finish in this renovated farmhouse kitchen extends to the deep apron sink, creating a continuous line that's echoed on the insides of the window casings. The overall effect is crisp and fresh, giving the space modern punch that ties in with the home's contemporary flair.

Paint It

Giani stone paint is a sealant that completely and totally overhauls the look of any countertop. It can be used on anything from laminate to butchers block to primed and painted wood, and because it is a finish itself, it should only have to be redone if the surface is ever chipped or damaged.

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  1. kitchens

Photo By: Giani

Cool Concrete

Concrete countertops are highly customizable — you can choose any stain color and texture. Concrete mixes well with many different materials, such as glass, tile and marble to create a one-of-a-kind look. Aside from its eye-pleasing appearance, it is energy efficient — when the temperature in your home rises, concrete captures the heat and releases it when the temperature cools down.

The Eco Edge - Recycled Countertops

Countertops made of recycled glass are colorful, eco-friendly and durable. See more of this recycled kitchen update >>

Photo By: Lincoln Barbour

Clean and Streamlined

Developed specifically for countertops, Granicrete has the great modern look of concrete, but is seamless and is certified by the National Sanitation Foundation as being bacteria-proof and stain-proof. The waterfall edge here creates an especially sleek look, without the weight and cost of poured concrete.

Photo By: Jill Greer

Engineered for Beauty

Granicrete is also available in stone-like patterns like the one featured here, perfect in a more traditional kitchen. The surface never needs resealing as “real” concrete would.

Photo By: Jill Greer

Say Yes to Soapstone

Soapstone countertops offer a soft look but can also look great in a sleek, modern space. Though pricier than some other countertop options, soapstone is environmentally friendly and durable, offering significant value. Unlike other natural stones, it doesn't require yearly sealing but regular applications of mineral oil will help to disguise any surface scratches, add sheen and deepen the stone's color over time.

Square Deal

Tile countertops are a great choice if you want an inexpensive material that's easy to maintain. Opt for handmade ceramics or even off-the-shelf squares from your local big-box store.

Steely Resolve

Stainless steel countertops aren’t just for sleek modern spaces. Here, Dave Vogt of Case Design/Remodeling, Inc., used the metal in a country-style kitchen, where the gleaming surface contrasts beautifully with exposed brick and the well-worn bottoms of the homeowners’ cookware. Over time, the counters may scratch and show wear – but that’s part of their charm in a space like this – and they are super durable.

Photo By: Kate Warren; Design By: Case Design/Remodeling, Inc.

Glowing Glass

A solid glass countertop looks almost like ice, lending a cool, chic feeling to this energetic kitchen. Although it's more expensive than other countertop materials, glass is growing in popularity for its stain resistance and sleek, dramatic style.

Photo By: Jean-Marc Giboux/Getty Images

Count on Copper

A custom copper countertop and backsplash add warmth and glamour to this bar area designed by Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri of HGTV's Kitchen Cousins. Copper countertops are highly germ resistant but are prone to dents and scratches. Polish it weekly to maintain its shine, or allow it to develop a patina of a burnished brown-black with green flecks.

From: Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Leather or Not

Leather-textured granite gives the sexy look of skin with all the durability of stone. The look is edgy and of the moment without being in-your-face.

Photo By: BREVIN BLACH

Double Vision

Two countertops? Twice as nice! A center island topped with quartz by Cambria is a functional focal point in this kitchen by Denise Wenacur of DW Design & Decor, and the countertops around the room’s perimeter are solid black granite. “That mix – and those materials – represent the most current countertop trends,” Wenacur says.

Photo By: Nick Daunys; Design By: DW Design & Decor

Wow With Walnut

Here, designer Amy Darooge used rustic materials to create a coherent style throughout. She chose distressed wood cabinetry, a copper sink and faucet, and “the material on the counter is walnut with a live ledge,” she says.

Photo By: Ashley Avila; Design By: Amy Darooge, Villa Decor

Paper Works

As its name implies, Paperstone is made of compressed paper – yet is surprisingly durable. Designer Mollyanne Sherman used it to give this colorful kitchen an eco-friendly design.

Photo By: Treve Johnson; Design By: Mollyanne Sherman

Granite is a durable, timeless and scratch- and heat-resistant countertop surface. It's easy to clean and is solid throughout, making it the perfect option for a heavily used kitchen area. Be sure to periodically seal a granite surface in order to preserve its natural design.

Stainless steel is another top countertop choice that works with a variety of kitchen styles. Since it's a nonporous metal, it doesn't have to be sealed and is naturally antibacterial, making food preparation and cleanup a cinch. Another bonus is that stainless steel is easy to clean with soap and water; dry it with a clean cloth to reduce water spots. For tough stains or scratches, stainless steel cleaner is available.

Marble is a gorgeous and luxurious countertop choice, and bakers love the surface because its cold temperature provides the perfect workspace for kneading dough. It can, however, chip easily, so it is important to periodically seal it.

Tile is also a popular choice for people who are seeking a versatile and budget-friendly countertop. Tiles are heat- and stain-resistant, and they're available in a number of colors, materials, sizes and patterns. Consider keeping a few extra tiles on hand in the event that one chips and needs to be replaced.

Concrete, quartz, wood and tile are also some of the best kitchen countertops available at home and kitchen improvement stores. Ask if samples are available to purchase or borrow, and hold them next to your cabinetry to see if they will work in your kitchen space.

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