In this post, we will be exploring the different options available for kitchen ideas for countertops. The process of selecting a kitchen countertop can prove to be a bit overwhelming as it can make or break your whole design scheme. The market is full of different materials that can be used as countertop surfaces. Homeowners are usually bedazzled by the huge variety present in every material which makes the selection a tedious process. In short, it is not easy to select a kitchen countertop. You need to do proper research kitchen countertop ideas and shortlist what material suits you the most.
Before buying a kitchen countertop you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- How much will you use the countertop?
Are you a cooking enthusiast who dices seven days a week or do you have children that might spill food/juice regularly? Are you a social butterfly that hosts informal cocktail parties around the bar area or do you have family dinners around the kitchen island? The answer to these questions will significantly narrow down your countertop’s material options and will help you select the material based on the durability and ease of maintenance that you require.
- What type of aesthetics are you aiming for?
Is your style modern or traditional? Do you have your kitchen decorated in a Mediterranean theme or a Tuscan one? Does your kitchen have a rustic countryside vibe or a sleek contemporary one? By finding the answer to this question you will know what type of feel, texture and color will look the best.
- What is your budget?
This is probably the most unexciting part of the selection process. Decide a budget and estimate the total cost by taking details such as installation cost and small custom details like backsplashes and sink, etc. into account.
Kitchen Countertop Materials
There are many materials that can be used for covering the kitchen countertops such as marble, travertine, formica, limestone, granite, concrete, stainless steel, wood/butcher block, glass, slate and soapstone, etc. All of these materials come in different colors and textures. However, in this post we will discuss three major natural stones as kitchen countertops i.e. marble, limestone and granite.
Marble Kitchen Countertop Ideas
Marble is a beautiful natural stone that has been a favorite of the aristocrats throughout the history. This lustrous stone is in fashion no matter what era we are talking about. It is timelessly fashionable and looks elegant in any space where it is installed. Marble kitchen countertops look exquisite in any kitchen. The radiance of this stone complements all kitchen styles. In fact, right now marble countertops are the current Pinterest rage. The beauty of marble also lies in the fact that even though it is a luxury material you can still afford it by buying the less expensive marble type. It is also an ideal option if you live in the warmer parts of the country as marble stays icy cool no matter how hot the kitchen gets thanks to its high heat resistance.
But with all its beauty, marble also has a few downsides. It is extremely vulnerable when it comes to acidic substances thanks to its calcium carbonate nature. This leads to etching of its surface that diminishes its lustrous look. It also stains very easily if not properly sealed. Due to its pores, the staining agents seep deep into its structure that sometimes leads to permanent damage and requires replacement of the stone. Sealing after every six months is highly recommended and can help in keeping your stone’s appearance in brand new condition if it is properly maintained as well. Wipe spills immediately with a dry soft cloth and clean your marble countertop regularly. Use a commercially available marble stone cleaner for thorough cleaning after every two weeks.
Listed here are a few design ideas based on some popular marble types which can help you for your next kitchen countertop hunting:
- Calacatta Marble: Calacatta is the most expensive and rare marble type. Its dramatic veining and light colors make its appearance stunning. Calacatta marble has many different types that can complement different design schemes e.g. Calacatta gold looks divine in modish looking kitchens with gold accented white cabinets and furniture while Calacatta Bluette looks lovely in a Mediterranean kitchen giving off an oceanic vibe.
- Carrara Marble: This Italian marble is the least expensive and most commonly around the world. It has soft feathery veins in gray color. This marble is perfect for both light and dark color schemes. Add a complementing backsplash to your kitchen for an oomph worthy design. You can also pair Carrara countertop with a black and white marble combination backsplash in a kitchen with black cabinets.
- Statuario Marble: Statuario marble is also one of the precious marble types with its milky white background and intense gray veining pattern. Statuario marble looks good in kitchens with white cabinets and wooden floors.
- Nero Marquina Marble: Nero Marquina is black marble type with strong white veining. It looks marvelous in contemporary kitchens with lots of silver or gold hardware or accented furniture with matching sink accessories.
Marble’s cost depends on its type, thickness of the stone, amount of impurities present and its rarity. The average cost of a marble countertop’s material is somewhere in between $40 to $100. The cost of installation and supplies depends on your area and stone installation company. Sealing and polishing are additional costs that need to be considered when making the budget.
Travertine Kitchen Countertops
Travertine is also a luxury natural stone but it is less expensive as compared to marble. It has a porous structure and has holes on its surface which can be filled or unfilled. The irregular pattern of pores and holes makes each travertine stone unique in appearance. It is found in many earthy shades and tones. Travertine countertops have two veining types depending on the method of cutting the stone i.e. crosscut and vein cut. It has four basic finish types which include tumbled, honed, polished and chiseled edge. The polished and honed finish channel the chic sophisticated vibe while tumbled and chiseled edge give off a rustic countryside feel.
This stone is extremely durable and is weather resistant. It can survive both heat and extreme cold which makes it ideal for kitchen countertops. It can be installed in either tile form or in slab form. Usually, the slab based counter is opted by homeowners for kitchen installations as there is no presence of grout lines which makes the accumulation of bacteria or dust on the countertop near to impossible. Travertine requires a dedicated cleaning routine with specific stone cleaning products so if maintenance is not an issue then you are good to go.
Given below are some aesthetically pleasing design ideas that you can use for your next travertine kitchen countertop project:
- Walnut Travertine: Walnut travertine countertops look great in Tuscan inspired kitchens. The wooden decorations and stonework of a Tuscan kitchen is accentuated by the light milky brown color of the walnut travertine.
- Gold Travertine: If you have a kitchen with stone veneer adorned kitchen island or a backsplash in neutral tones then a gold travertine countertop can really brighten it up. Gold travertine looks amazing in an Old World-inspired kitchen as well.
- Silver Travertine: A minimal kitchen looks incredible with a vein cut silver travertine countertop in high polish finish. The sleekness of this countertop complements the contemporary kitchen designs.
- Beige Travertine: If you want a velvety cream-ish vibe in the kitchen then go for beige travertine countertop. It adds a svelte touch to your kitchen’s environment with an antique look.
- Ivory Travertine: Add an element of elegance in your kitchen with ivory travertine kitchen. This countertop has an earthly yet modern luxury vibe. It is perfect for galley and one-wall kitchens.
- Noce Travertine: Noce travertine kitchen countertops look nice in traditional style kitchens in light color schemes. Light wooden cabinets go really well with this countertop.
- Scabos Travertine: Add an element of flamboyance in your kitchen with scabos travertine countertop. The pop of color with this travertine will make your kitchen look vibrant.
The cost of travertine countertops varies with their type and amount of imperfections present in the stone. If only the cost of stone is considered then the slab countertops vary between $25 to $55 per square foot while the tile ones can have the price range of $5 to $25 per square foot. The installation price of slab countertops is more than that of tile ones due to their heavy weight. Professional installation, delivery charges, price of materials such as grout, polish and sealant and their application charges should be part of your budget planning. Complexity of the project also increases the overall charges so it is better to have a consultation session with a professional before starting the project.
Limestone Kitchen Countertop Ideas
Limestone is a sedimentary rock found in shallow warm waters. It consists of mineral calcite and impurities such as shell, debris, coral and algae deposits. The presence of biological debris adds a fossil type pattern on the stone. This stone has been used in the field of construction since 14,000 BC. It has a porous surface and is found in a variety of colors and shades. Most common limestone colors are generally tones of whites but it is also found in cream, ivory, brown, gray, yellow and red colors. The hues are subdued when it comes to limestone so if you are looking for something bright then maybe this is not your cup of tea. Aside for countertops, it is also used for covering floors, walls, backsplashes, fireplace surround area, walkways, driveways, gazebos and even fountains. It is also used in decorative trims, accent walls, veneers and sculptures.
Limestone’s porosity makes it susceptible to stains both organic and inorganic which is why it is advised to get your limestone countertop properly sealed before using it. Also, never use acidic cleaners for its cleaning as limestone reacts badly with them leading to etching and permanent damage to the stone.
Given below are some design ideas that showcase how you can use this lovely stone as your kitchen countertop:
- White Limestone: if you like your kitchen clean and fresh with a calming effect then white limestone countertop is perfect for you. Use a polished finish for the refreshing sleek look with pastel colored cabinets or painted walls and wooden floor.
- Beige Limestone: Beige limestone is found in varying shades of tan. It adds an element of warmth to your kitchen. If you want a cozy look in your kitchen then install beige limestone countertops for a homely comfy feel. As this color is neutral, it goes well with any color or design scheme.
- Ivory Limestone: Another lovely color of limestone is the creamy ivory. This off-white shade adds a silky look that not will not only brighten your kitchen but also complement your style.
- Gray Limestone: If you like bold designs then gray limestone countertop is the perfect candidate for making such a statement. This countertop can look marvelous in a contemporary or minimal style kitchen with chrome or silver decor and accessories.
The average cost of a limestone countertop is $50 per square foot. Other factors that can influence the stone’s cost are color, grade and your location. Installation charges, cost of materials and labor fees should be included when deciding the budget. As the countertop slabs are quite heavy in weight, it is recommended that you hire professionals for its installation and save those DIY skills for another project.
Each natural stone has its own set of pros and cons that we have discussed in detail. No matter what type of natural stone you use, maintenance is going to be part of the package. A little effort can go a long way as marble, travertine and limestone are resilient stones and prove to be a long-term investment when used as the kitchen countertop. If regularly dusting is done with weekly detailed cleaning then these stone countertops can retain their beauty for decades.