Six tips for selecting countertops that cater to your lifestyle, design preferences, and budget.
From serving as a surface for cooking and entertaining to acting as a makeshift desk or makeup vanity, your countertops are some of the most visible, hardest-working surfaces in your home. Here, Twin Cities design experts weigh in with their tips for selecting countertops that fit your style, lifestyle, and budget, and that will perform for years to come.
Do Your Research
Before narrowing in on a countertop vendor or material, do your due diligence. Ask questions like: What is the composition material? What are the slab sizes, and does that impact the size of the countertop? How will the seam look with veining? “Understand where you are ordering your product from, and if that supplier stands behind its brand if issues occur,” says Joel Dehmer, vice president of sales for Granite-Tops.
Additionally, prepare for your meeting with your countertop vendor by gathering images that speak to your desired design aesthetic and color scheme for the space. “Explore Pinterest, where you can curate a collection of inspiring rooms that truly resonate with you and align with your vision,” says Summer Kath, executive vice president of design for Cambria. “By identifying the recurring elements and themes present in your pins, you can gradually unravel your preferred color palettes and styles.”
Make the Investment
Making a budget is a crucial step in the process of building a new home, but “countertops are not a place to skimp,” says Danielle Yegge, co-owner of Style & Structure. “Countertops make up enough of the eye-level visual plane of your home that you’re not going to regret spending more on something you can love for years to come.”
If you want to save money, consider splurging on an eye-catching island and going simpler for the perimeter countertops.
Think About Aesthetics
Countertops serve as a prominent centerpiece within your kitchen, so you should think about how they will fit in your overall design. “Do you want your countertops to be the star of the show in the space?” asks Yegge. “There are many options when it comes to countertops, so a great place to start is considering whether you want the countertop to be a bold focal point or a subtle complement to the rest of the room.”
Kath says to think of your countertops like a work of art. “This standout feature should be something that captivates your heart and sparks a deep sense of admiration,” she says. “Once you’ve discovered this crown jewel, allow it to inspire and guide the overall design of your space. Every other element can then be thoughtfully crafted and harmonized around this cherished centerpiece, resulting in a truly remarkable and cohesive kitchen aesthetic.”
If a monochromatic ambiance is more your style, you can choose countertops with subtle tones that blend with your cabinetry, while still injecting personality through accessories. “By opting for understated countertop options, you provide a versatile canvas for future enhancements,” Kath adds. “Over time, you can effortlessly refresh your space by selectively re-accessorizing with cabinet pulls and light fixtures, making subtle-yet-impactful changes that evolve with your evolving style.”
Consider All Your Material Options
There are many countertop material options, but some of the most popular today include:
GRANITE: A natural stone harvested from quarries all over the world in a wide variety of colors. A lot of variation means the exact slab that ends up in your home is less predictable.
QUARTZ: Since it’s an engineered product, quartz is available in a huge variety of colors to complement any design style. It’s also non-porous and durable. “Quartz is king currently in terms of popularity,” says Yegge.
QUARTZITE: A naturally occurring metamorphic rock, quartzite is quarried, sawed, and polished into durable countertop slabs,
but color palettes are limited to whites and grays.
PORCELAIN: In the form of giant tiles, porcelain countertops are rising in popularity for their heat, stain, and UV light resistance.
CONCRETE: If you’re looking for “something custom and handmade, you should choose concrete countertops,” says Dian Mullis of Pro Concrete Countertops. “You can choose the exact style, design, and color you want. Plus, there is no waste with concrete, so it’s environmentally friendly.”
Evaluate Your Lifestyle
Whether you love to cook and entertain or have young kids or pets who are hard on surfaces, “it is most important to select a material that will fit your lifestyle, meaning function is top priority,” says Nancy Brown, interior designer for Hanson Builders. “Is the classic beauty of a natural product worth the extra care and maintenance it requires? Or is the ease and durability of a quartz material a better fit for your needs?”
Seek the Assistance of Experts
Design professionals have the knowledge to steer you in the direction of ideal-for-you countertops. “Professionals know how different costs stack up so they can help stay within a budget,” says Hollie Chase, marketing manager for Arrow Building Center. “They also have an extensive inventory network between suppliers.”