Yanic Simard, Houzz
There are countless materials available for kitchen countertops today. But instead of giving you the pros and cons of each material, I’m going to break down six popular color styles so you can get the look you want with the material that suits your needs.
1. Speckled or softly veined white
One of the most common and sought after surfaces for countertops is a stone or manufactured sheet material such as quartz in a white or off-white hue with a slight multitoneal stain or grain to give it a subtle natural richness.
This snowy, sparkly look works well in many situations as it is very neutral but also contemporary and fresh. The pale tone gives the room a sense of cleanliness and lightness with a touch of subtle sophistication.
In more traditional kitchens, this is usually a better choice than a true minimalist white countertop, which can be too austere and struggle with the elegance of other elements such as gnarled woods, shaker cabinets or lantern pendant lights.
Softly speckled or grainy whites also go well with brass accents like these modern lights. Again, the subtle richness persists without fighting for attention and prevents the countertop from feeling too austere – ideal for a dining island where people should actually feel comfortable.
Related: Contemporary dining room sets make an impression
Stained or softly veined white countertops are good for you if:
– You have a traditional or temporary interior.
– You want the room to look big and light without feeling clinical.
– You want white countertops, but you don’t want every crumb and dust spot to show up.
2. Pure white
Pure white worktops, which are generally only available in manufactured materials such as Corian or Caesarstone, ensure a contemporary, minimalist freshness that no natural stone can match. Fortunately, these materials resist stains well, so with a little care they can keep a crisp white for years.
This stark look works well for contemporary spaces. As mentioned earlier, the severity of a true white can counteract a traditional decor, but it feels appropriately crisp in a modern space. It is especially effective in small spaces, such as B. compact condominium kitchens paired with minimalist white cabinets to create the illusion of a larger space.
Here’s another use for white countertops: spaces that already have a lot of bold character in the other surfaces, such as: Grainy wooden cabinets, for example, can benefit from a super-simple counter as a visual disruption.
This is especially true for modern cabinets with a flat front in a wood look with a yellow-orange undertone. A pure white counter ensures that the look feels fresh and contemporary, rather than retro-styled.
After all, white and blue is a classic nautical combination. While off-white would work as well, an all-white counter combined with blue-painted cabinets looks gorgeous. Although both are cool colors, the two of them together feel inviting and always stylish.
Pure white countertops are good for you if:
– You love clean, modern style.
– You have a small room that you want to look as big as possible.
– You want to break up modern wooden cabinets or other bold surfaces.
– You love a nautical white-blue scheme.
Warm wood, with its inviting air and natural richness, is a good choice for adding character to a cool, airy kitchen. Crisp white kitchens feel a little more “homely” and a little less austere with a wooden worktop. It’s a popular choice for transitional kitchens that balance traditional and contemporary elements, especially since classic wood fits both categories.
Of course, wood counters also work well in rooms that already have wooden cabinets – that is, if you are a real wood lover and you don’t mind dominating the palette.
Note in some of these examples that wood only dresses the island counters. Wood is generally an excellent material for an accent counter (often on an island or a small “chopping zone” in the butcher’s block) that contrasts nicely with nearby stone or solid surface counters.
Lighter woods feel more casual or rustic compared to darker colored options. Light stained or unstained woods can have a cottage-inspired feel or a Scandinavian feel, depending on whether you combine them with traditional or modern furnishings. In both cases, a traditional runner rug is an excellent addition.
Dark woods look a bit more formal and polished than lighter tones. They add some gravity to a room that can work well in areas that are already light and airy with lots of windows.
When mixing wood counters with other wood surfaces, it’s often best to stick to warm or cool tones across the board. Red-brown woods are more traditional, while ash-gray tones have been a popular modern trend in recent years. Whichever tones you prefer, they are less likely to clash if you stick to one family or another.
Wood countertops are good for you if:
– You want an accent countertop to contrast with other surfaces.
– Your white cabinets need a little warming up.
– You want your space to feel more accessible and intimate.
– You enjoy a dash of rustic charm.
– You can’t get enough wood.
4. Dark or black
Dark counters in tones like black or charcoal can look very gothic in some situations and perfectly harmonious in others. If you have dark cabinets, dark floors, or other rich and weighty surfaces, a dark countertop will fit right in. In this example, you can see that the white countertop bursts the deep wooden drawer fronts compared to the island countertop, which almost blends in.
When choosing a dark-on-dark palette, it helps to have lots of natural or added light sources (or both). This makes the room feel cozy and refined, rather than just cave-like.
Since white can sometimes absorb and attenuate colors nearby, a rich, dark countertop may be a better choice for bringing out subtle colors in painted cabinets.
Choosing a dark gray instead of pure black will soften the appearance. So in most situations it is preferable to stop at charcoal.
Here is a situation where dark countertops are almost a must. If you use a tinted mirror backsplash to visually open up the room in a subtle way, a dark counter reproduces the deep, atmospheric surface and makes for a perfect complement.
In this kitchen, the counter picks up the black elements of the appliances, the dark legs of the furniture, and the rich and complex parquet floors, making it feel more integrated into the design than a single exclamation point.
After all, sometimes you just want that classic black and white look. If you have a kitchen with crisp white cabinets and little paint, or just a few small counter areas, a dark or black stone brings an instant drama to it.
Again, it is never advisable to have just one large black element in your design as it will stick out like a sore thumb. Hence, consider introducing other black splashes like sleek simple black furniture knobs and handles.
Dark or black countertops are good for you if:
– You have dark cabinets and want the counters to fit into them.
– You have colorful, fun cabinets and you want the hue to really shine.
– You have a smoky mirrored backsplash, a trendy favorite in condos and modern homes.
– You want to connect to other black elements in the room.
– You are aiming for a classic black and white scheme.
5. Mid-tone or gray
Soft gray countertops and other mid-tone colors like beige or rich creams are the most neutral options for the counters. In this kitchen with creamy, cream-colored cabinets and golden-yellow undertones in the backsplash and wood, the dreamy, creamy counters create a harmonious, peaceful look that is perfect for a friendly family breakfast.
Softly mottled gray stone looks similar to concrete and works perfectly in modern spaces with a touch of architecture. It has the benefit of occasionally hiding stains while still looking neat and tidy and not too dark or busy. It’s great when you don’t always have a perfectly organized space but still want a cohesive look.
Since gray is the most neutral color, it’s another excellent choice to pair with brightly colored cabinets, especially in rooms with different cabinet surfaces, as it can help connect light and dark cabinets together.
If you have a black and white scheme or espresso woods with white walls and want to soften the whole look a little bit, a mid-tone counter bridges the very dark and very light elements so they meet in the middle.
Gray is also a nice tone that can be paired with warm metallic accents. If you love a brass-colored faucet or sink, a gray counter will bring out those warm tones to make them really glow.
Related: Pair of gray countertops with these metal chairs
Midrange speakers or gray countertops are good for you if:
– You want a soft, friendly atmosphere with muted tones that harmonize.
– You have mixed together colorful cabinets or several shades of cabinets.
– You have a black and white scheme that could be a little softer.
– You love warm metallic accents and want to show them off.
Boldly veined stone slabs can either make you stop and admire, or have the opposite effect and overwhelm your eyes.
In general, the bolder the veins on your counters, the less drama you’ll want to add elsewhere. This waterfall meter (with the material on the sides) is relatively muted, but the large gray veins still bring in enough character with no bold colors or other noticeable features.
The size of your room will determine how dramatic a bold stone will look after it’s installed.
That’s not to say that you can’t use a bold stone in a compact kitchen, just that it feels even more dramatic, which means you probably want to keep the other surfaces very calm. Notice how many of these rooms use the same dramatic stone for the counter and backsplash, making for a truly unique statement.
A dark, richly veined stone can feel less dramatic when paired with dark cabinets. Whether you use espresso wood or a modern gray that coordinates a key tone in the stone with a similar darkness or lightness in the cabinets, it will help the two connect.
Ultimately, the only way to determine what a richly veined stone will look like with your other elements is by bringing home the largest possible sample or taking samples of your other elements to the dealer to see which tones in the stone are strongest.
Dramatic countertops are good for you if:
– You have a big kitchen.
– You want the counters to be the primary instruction.
– They have dark cabinets to level off a dark, moody stone.
– You can’t get enough visual drama.