What is the best material for kitchen countertops?

We ask a lot of our kitchen countertops. We gather around them, work on them, prepare food for them, eat for them – and nowadays we seem to think, too, that our counters should say something about us. Given the kaleidoscopic selection in the market, how do you know which material will suit you? In kitchen design, as in all relationships, compatibility matters. Proud of die-hard practicality? You are likely to love clean, indestructible quartzite. Millennial fashionista? Terrazzo beckons. We asked some of our favorite design experts to play matchmaker with a varied selection of countertop materials, personalities, and budgets. Here’s what shakes.

If you are cost conscious

Do you want to avoid the high installation costs associated with materials like marble? tile Countertops (starting at $ 10 per square foot) can be a clever solution, said Beth Dotolo of Pulp Design Studios in Seattle. But be careful: grout gets dirty quickly. For a refined, long-lasting look, choose large format tiles that have been corrected to avoid large grout lines. Houston-based designer Marie Flanigan, who had just completed an island of 12 by 24-inch limestone tiles, agreed. “People think of those chunky 4-inch squares we grew up with,” she said, “but if you choose wisely, tile lets you get the beauty of natural stone without the price of a slab.”

If you are a modernist

For an elegant mid-century look stainless steel Countertops (starting at $ 55 per square foot) are the choice of New York kitchen furniture designer Christopher Peacock. They require custom manufacturing, so they aren’t a budget option – but aside from the machine-age good looks, they can also highly recommend them. They are germ-resistant, easy to clean and insensitive to stains and rust.

If you are a minimalist

When it comes to completely seamless simplicity, look for “solid surface” artificial workhorses Corian (starting at $ 40 per square foot) are hard to beat, said Marianne Brown of the W Design Collective in Salt Lake City. “When I use Corian I always stick to solid colors and straight lines as decorative edging can definitely make it look dated,” she added. Another nifty trick? Match the color of your countertop with your cabinets for a sleek monochrome effect.

If you’re a real freak

Do you hyperventilate even the smallest blemishes? Quartzite Counters (from $ 50 to over $ 200 per square foot) might be the answer. The panels are available in various colors, from brown to blue to light white, and encompass all types of movement arteries. “Quartzite is the most durable natural stone, harder than granite. We therefore always use it when a customer needs something that is heat and scratch-resistant and almost indestructible,” said Ms. Flanigan.

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