A kitchen upgrade is much more doable for many homeowners than an all-out kitchen remodel because of the budget involved. This is a smart choice if the kitchen only needs a bit of tweaking, as upgrades tend to have a higher return on investment than a full remodel. One of the smartest things a budget-conscious kitchen owner can do is replace kitchen countertops.
The thing is, many homeowners have come to realize this. So, it is becoming more difficult to achieve a unique look in their kitchens. You can work around this by trying a material mashup for your kitchen countertops.
This is not really a new thing. People have been doing that for kitchen cabinets, choosing one type for wall cabinets and another one for base cabinets. This ploy has met with considerable success, so it is certain to work with kitchen countertops as well. Fortunately, there is a much wider variety of materials available for kitchen countertops, so you can really go to market with it.
Material mashups can also have a significant effect on the cost. Combining high-end materials such as granite, quartz stone, marble, and hardwood with less pricey materials means a smaller overall cost.
The trick is choosing the right materials to combine so that it looks unique, but not weird. Here are some material mashup tips for kitchen countertops that should work on esthetic and functional levels.
Quartz stone and concrete
You may not be aware that concrete countertops have become quite popular with some designers and homeowners, mostly because you have a lot of versatility with concrete. You can execute almost any kind of design for concrete countertops, although it works best with industrial themes.
That said, concrete countertops are not cheap. They are among the costliest type of kitchen countertops and require quite a bit of maintenance. Some people also find them unattractive and repellent, imparting a chilly look to most kitchens. You can work around this by contrasting it with quartz stone.
Quartz countertops are low maintenance and very durable, available in wide range of colors and designs, and they cost less than concrete countertops. You can use them for perimeter counters in a contrasting color or style to that of the concrete kitchen island, providing a warmer, homier look to the kitchen.
Stone and wood
Wood continues to be popular in the kitchen. But, perhaps not so much for kitchen countertops since porcelain tiles came into the picture. Wood is not ideal as kitchen countertops. Because it requires quite a bit of care and maintenance, and do not last very long. Nevertheless, wood is still an attractive material. So you might still be able to use it in kitchen countertops by pairing it with granite or quartz stone.
What most people do is to use the stones for prep areas of the kitchen countertops and keep the wood parts for the dining or entertainment areas. Walnut or oak are very hardy wood, and the dark wood goes very well with granite or quartz stone in light colors. If you plan to use this combination outdoors, stick to granite or marble as engineered quartz stone fades under direct and prolonged exposure to sunlight.
You might also want to consider marble for a specific part in an indoor kitchen if you make pastries all the time. Marble countertops are frequently a couple of degrees cooler than the ambient temperature. So it is ideal for rolling out pastry. Our suggestion is to use mostly granite or quartz stone and wood, and keep marble countertops as a roll out section, as marble is not ideal for rougher use.
Another design tip is to use the cabinets as the inspiration for your wood and stone finish. For instance, if you have dark cabinets in one section. And natural wood on another, you can choose the colors of your countertops to match each section. Take note that wood countertops might also display unexpected variations in the grain or color like granite or marble. This can affect the overall look of the kitchen. When choosing your natural materials, use these variations to your best advantage to give your kitchen a unified design.
Plastic and steel
Plastic and steel are perhaps the main representatives of the modern age, so it is not surprising that it might have a prominent place in modern kitchens with an industrial theme. Steel is actually a good choice for the kitchen as it is very durable and low maintenance.
The problem with steel countertops is it is very expensive. One way to keep the cost reasonable is to limit stainless steel to the heavy use areas, and laminates for other areas. In most cases, stainless steel works best for a full kitchen island, so you can use laminates for perimeter kitchen countertops.
The reason you want to pair stainless steel with laminates is to have a wide range of colors. Stainless steel is pretty much the one color, but laminates can be any color or design you want. Generally, you want your laminates to match your kitchen cabinets, unless they happen to be stainless steel as well. If that is the case, you can choose any color and design for your laminates, because anything goes with stainless steel.
Stone and steel
While stone and steel might seem like a cold pairing, it can work if you choose the right color. Granite and quartz countertops can look very warm if you choose earth tones with some movement. It also makes sense, as granite and quartz are both scratch resistant, while stainless steel is not. You can choose granite or quartz for your eating and entertainment area and keep stainless steel for the prep area.
You use the kitchen for many things, so a material mashup makes a lot of sense for your kitchen countertops. You can consult with your local remodeling company about what other mashups you can do.
KNC Granite is a countertop specialist serving the areas of Baltimore, Annapolis, Bethesda, Rockville, Alexandria VA, Arlington VA, and Washington DC. KNC Granite has a large array of granite and marble slabs from which to choose. You can check actual slabs at our showroom in Lanham, Maryland.
Aside from natural stones, we carry some of the top brands of engineered stone, including Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and MSI, all of which come with manufacturer warranties.
We do not only supply top-quality countertops, however. We are experts at fabricating and installing kitchen counters or bathroom vanities and can provide you with good advice regarding variations and material mashups. Also we specialize in kitchen remodeling and bathroom upgrade projects, delivering on time and on budget.
Give us a call or email us for your free in-home consultation and quote!