Countertops with Character

  • Alyssa Gautieri
  • 05/13/22

Reprinted with permission from go.kw.com

Aesthetically, countertops can make or break an interior. From marble-effect quartz and stone effect slabs to porcelain tiles and stainless steel, professional countertop makers share fresh ideas for your high-end kitchen. 

“Countertops can provide some much-needed contrast to a space or blend in beautifully, depending on the look you’re going for,” says Summer Kath, executive vice president of design for Cambria — maker of quartz countertops and surfaces.

 “In terms of style, you want your countertops to act as a bridge between the cabinets, appliances, plumbing fixtures and flooring,” Kath adds. “Use your countertop design to make a bold statement by contrasting it with the other details of the kitchen, or to round things out by complementing them.” 

While the kitchen counter can serve as a “wow factor” to impress guests, it’s also a feature of the home that should prioritize function. 

“We know that the kitchen is the heart of the home, but the countertops are the heart of the kitchen,” says Ken Williams, president and CEO of Caesarstone North America, maker of quartz countertops. “They’re the first thing we see and touch, and they need to work as hard as we do by standing up to food prep, eating, entertaining, homework, work and more, and, of course, they have to be beautiful.”

In most households, the kitchen counter and kitchen island serve as a gathering space, whether you’re preparing a meal with friends, eating breakfast with your family, or helping your children with homework. A countertop with character should simplify your daily routine, reflect your personal lifestyle, and spark joy when you enter the kitchen. 

“The color, pattern, and size of your countertop all complement the kitchen experience,” says Michael Morici, team leader of the MSI Slab Division, which offers a selection of quartz, porcelain, ceramic, and natural stone slabs. “You want to make a statement with the countertop yet make the space functional and inviting.” 

When it comes to selecting the right material, there are pros and cons to consider for every option — with the most popular being granite, marble, quartz, natural stone, butcher block, and stainless steel.

“Homeowners should consider their countertops an investment,” says Williams. “They are the part of the kitchen that sees the most action, so they need to be hardwearing and made to withstand the test of time,” no matter what material is used. 

In 2022, countertop makers are creating intrigue in the kitchen with textured finishes, extralarge slabs, and marble-like veining.

 “Over the past few years, we’ve been seeing increased demand for more texture in countertops — both visually and physically,” says Kath, who mentions countertops with veins that ripple dramatically as they would in nature and subtle debossing to give the surface an organic feel. 

“The modern kitchen of 2022 is designed to be as accessible and functional as possible,” says Stefano Chiavaroli, business director of Atlas Plan — creator of ceramic slabs, including marble-effect and stone-effect designs. “The main features are a unique design, minimalist taste, and maximum adaptability.”

It’s key to select a countertop that elevates your interior, while also ensuring the longevity of your selection. When it comes to kitchen remodeling, replacing a countertop is not as easy of a feat as swapping out lighting, replacing cabinet hardware, or adding a backsplash. 

The best countertops should be full of character, yet versatile enough to complement classic and modern design styles. Whether with warm whites, deep grays, or bright golds, opt for a surface that has the ability to change with the trends. 

“If you go neutral with some of the more permanent fixtures like paint, cabinets, and surfaces, it’s easier to update the other items over time to keep your kitchen looking modern,” Williams says. “Neutral doesn’t mean the surfaces can’t have character. In fact, they absolutely should, because they portray the homeowners’ personality.”

 

Adding Character in 2022

Neutrals

 “In terms of color, neutrals continue to reign supreme in kitchen surfaces, regardless of if that means light, dark or somewhere in between,” says Williams. “Finishes vary from a shiny polished look to a natural or rugged stone appearance based on the overall aesthetic of the room.” 

Warm Whites

“White kitchen countertops aren’t going anywhere, but we’ve noticed that warm whites are starting to take over the cool whites and grays of the previous decade,” says Kath. “Kitchen design all around has been warming up, so to speak, with warm wood cabinets coming back into style, warm-hued flooring, and more.” 

Color & Warmth

“We are seeing some demand for subtle blues and greens as homeowners are looking for some color and warmth in the kitchen,” says Morici.

Dark Finishes

“We also see dark designs gaining in popularity – not necessarily for the entire kitchen, but for smaller spaces like coffee or wet bars, a built-in desk space in a kitchen, or on the island with white countertops along the perimeter,” says Kath.

Marble Effect

“The marble effect is a classic choice for kitchens, however it also can be revisited in a contemporary way, with elegance and originality,” says Chiavaroli. “Atlas Plan perfectly reproduces the excellence and richness of colors and textures, along with the veining and shading of marble, natural stone and the most innovative designer materials to create alluring atmospheres/environments.

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