Planning a kitchen remodel can be nerve-wracking, and your countertops are sure to be the center of the attention when it’s done. Imagine how devastating it would be if it makes your kitchen look outdated! You can use this time in the planning stage to decide on a look for your countertops that can help you plan for the overall look of the kitchen, but first find out what the current trends are for kitchen countertops.

Colors

White is still the preferred color for kitchen countertops, because it looks classy, clean and sleek. Classy never goes out of style, so you can go full steam ahead if this is your choice. White is design-friendly, as it goes with anything, so you can go as crazy as you like with your paint colors, cabinets, and backsplashes. White marble is the top choice, but some granite slabs are white, and engineered stones that look like marble are widely available. Next in line for popular colors are beige, black, and brown.

Lines and edges

It is not yet seen everywhere (maybe because of the cost) but if you want to be at the leading edge of the trend, opt for a waterfall countertop. The waterfall countertop uses the same paterial down the sides of the counter all the way to the floor. If that is not your style (or in your budget), the next best thing is to have a mitered edge .

Kitchen islands

Form meets function when it comes to kitchen islands. Kitchen islands can extend the design and functionality of your kitchen in many ways. It adds workspace and storage capacity, and it serves as a combination of breakfast nook and home office. In an open floor design, your kitchen island can also serve as a divider, bar, extra seating, even a misono table! You can do almost anything with a kitchen island, which is why it is a trend likely to stay for a long time. Larger and longer is the prevailing trend, so start measuring your available space!

Materials

Of course, countertops are all about materials, and there are lots of them out there. All of the materials trending in 2016 have their pros and cons, so that’s no help. When it comes to choosing one, you have to ask yourself what look you want in your kitchen. Are you aiming for modern and functional, or traditional and warm? Natural, or man-made? Do you want to make a statement, or is comfort your most important criterion? While you are debating on these questions, take a look at what is trending in terms of materials.

Composites and laminates

Kitchen countertops have become almost synonymous with natural granite, marble, or engineered quartz stone, but the buck doesn’t stop there. Some new, and some old, materials are gaining some ground in consumer preference. Among the new ones are dekton and neolith. Both are synthetic countertops, and resistant to heat, scratching, and staining. Dekton is a glass-porcelain-quartz composite.

Neolith is porcelain.

Laminates and eco-friendly composites are also finding favor, especially if you are on a budget. Good quality laminates look very much like stone and they are low-maintenance, although heat is their archenemy. Eco-friendly composites are also good because they keep bacteria count down and are largely heat, scratch, and stain resistant with proper sealing and care.

Wood

However, you may also want to consider wood. Once largely displaced by natural or engineered stone, wood is making a comeback in modern kitchens. The most popular wood for countertops is American black walnut waterproofed with marine oil. The classic butcher-block countertop is also popular, which is of course great for food preparation. It is has a classic, timeless appeal, so you need not worry it will become outdated. Heat spots and scratches are easy to remove with a bit of sandpaper and mineral oil. Innovators have moved away from clean and smooth edges of a wood countertop to favor the live-edge look. In essence, you keep the natural edge of the wood intact and simply polish it for an organic feel.

Concrete and metal

Concrete countertops are not actually new, but it is just recently gaining an audience for countertops and kitchen islands. Concrete can be tinted in any color, although earth tones and gray are the most commonly used. Add in a backsplash of distressed zinc or pewter, which is bacteriostatic, and you have a thoroughly post-industrial look to your kitchen. You can also try brushed stainless steel for backsplashes if you want something easy to keep clean.

Glass

While it may not be the ideal choice for kitchen use, tempered glass is still trending because it looks amazing. You can get glass in tiles or back-painted sheets in a wide variety of designs. It can be tinted any color like concrete, and it is easy to clean. It is resistant to heat, scratch, and stains. The biggest drawback to glass countertops is the repair. You have to be more careful round glass countertops than you would be with stone, concrete, or wood. A good compromise is to use glass on areas that gets the least traffic, and other materials for your workhorse areas. Check out how nice this looks:

Trending kitchen countertop designs are all about form and function. Overall, marble, granite and engineered quartz still make up the bulk of desirable kitchen countertops, but it doesn’t mean you have to follow the herd. The look or material you choose depends on your needs. However, if you are undecided, or like to look of more than one design, there is no reason why you cannot combine them in your own kitchen. Many designers make use of two or more materials for different parts of the countertop and still get a cohesive look.