Kitchen renovations remain one of the most popular projects for 2018. It makes sense to renovate or upgrade what may be one of the most important rooms in a home. This is true for everyone, whether you are a great chef and baker or don’t cook at all. After all, where do your coffee maker, frozen pizza, and wine chest live? An attractive kitchen is a great place to host a casual happy hour or morning meeting if you work from home.
Still, knowing where to start can be a challenge. Surf any site on the internet (like Pinterest) or walk into any home renovation store and you’ll soon be overwhelmed with choices and possibilities. We suggest an easier place to start is your kitchen countertop. Big or small, all modern kitchens are anchored by their countertops and islands. These surfaces are the main components that determine both the functionality and primary aesthetic of the kitchen. Homeowners should weigh four main considerations before choosing their countertops: appearance, durability, maintenance, and resale value. But what about color? That falls under “appearance”, and your color choices will be driven in part by some of the accent trends of 2018.
One of the main kitchen trends of 2018 centers around color. Gone are bold black or gold accents or statement walls. In their place, homeowners are opting for a more soothing oasis feel for their kitchens. Most people are choosing soft blues or neutrals like greys, beige, ash, or even white. These color choices may seem uninspiring until they are paired with the second (and continuing from 2017) trend of the year, counter to ceiling mosaic tiles. An elegantly neutral countertop or kitchen island perfectly complements a bold color or pattern on a mosaic backsplash or tiled wall. A neutral color scheme for counters also works well with our modern preference for natural lighting from better windows or even skylights in the kitchen. Homeowners oftentimes find themselves balancing their need to integrate color into their kitchen that is harmonious with natural lighting but simultaneously not bland. The answer is to look for a countertop color that works well with a backsplash and the existing lighting in your kitchen. Don’t automatically shy away from a neutral countertop until you consider how everything will look together in your kitchen.
No matter what style kitchen you have, granite is always the top choice in terms of natural beauty and increased resale value. Most people consider the cost of granite counters, plus the intrinsic risk of its installation, worth it in the long run. Granite adds value to a home because of its universal appeal. It is also ideal for larger kitchens since it is the only natural material that is available in wide slabs (usually up to 70 inches wide) that make it possible to create counters and islands with no seams, thus creating a smooth and beautiful surface that showcases the natural dramatic veining in the rock. The one caveat for homeowners is that although granite is very strong it is also brittle. Installation can sometimes result in cracks or chips. Small accidents can be repaired by the contractor but larger cracks mean ordering (and waiting) for a new piece of granite to arrive. Since no two pieces are alike, the second replacement piece may not exactly resemble the original one. Is it worth the risk? People say “yes” in order to have a valuable upgrade for their kitchen. In addition, granite is also the only material, natural or otherwise, to be used for outdoor kitchens. It will not fade in sunlight and can withstand weather extremes.
Quartz is the main alternative to granite. Unlike granite, it is a manufactured material but can be customized to come in colors that are more in line with today’s trend of neutrals. The natural veining of granite is gorgeous on its own but might compete with a tile backsplash. You won’t have that issue with quartz since it tends to be more uniform in color. Also, unlike granite, quartz is nonporous so that means that there is less maintenance when it comes to spills and water rings. It will never need to be sealed either (like granite) and most soaps and detergents are safe to use. The drawbacks? Quartz usually comes in narrower slabs of approximately 56-65 inches. A larger kitchen may have surfaces with seams joining the counters but this will not be an issue for smaller spaces or islands. It is also not a natural material, so it has less intrinsic value than granite. But the installation is easier and less nerve-wracking than dealing with a potentially large cracked piece of granite. You can weigh the pros and cons of these two popular building materials (and others) for yourself, or you can read the chart below for a comprehensive summary.
[aesop_image img=”https://adaptmyhome.files.wordpress.com/2020/09/44703-2018-countertop-comparison-e1527168151670.jpg” panorama=”off” align=”center” lightbox=”on” caption=”An easy summary chart to help you compare and decide which kitchen counter material is best for you.” captionposition=”left” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]
As you can see, there are many things to think about when it comes to starting your home renovation. In the end, balance your aesthetic with your lifestyle. A Pinterest ready kitchen outfitted with marble counters may not be ideal for a large and growing family. On the other hand, a laminate kitchen that you don’t find attractive won’t be where you want to linger for your morning coffee or be an end of the day retreat. Really take your time to think about your ideal kitchen and research the options that will fit your immediate and future needs. As you design your kitchen countertop and island, don’t forget other considerations. If you like a clean minimalist approach, an integrated sink might be right for you. They’re also functional because you easily wipe down the counters to the sink without a watery pool left over. While your contractor may suggest a Corian countertop to be paired with an integrated sink, they’re also available in marble, poured concrete, and even stainless steel (so many choices!).
[aesop_image img=”https://adaptmyhome.files.wordpress.com/2020/09/d1f08-decision-tree-kitchen-counters.png” panorama=”off” align=”center” lightbox=”on” caption=”Still having trouble? Here’s a handy-dandy decision tree to help you decide!” captionposition=”left” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]
When upgrading your kitchen, don’t forget fixtures! A new faucet will complement your new island well. You may be able to save on renovation costs by bundling upgrades together, so ask your contractor if he can obtain a professional discount for you when buying hardware. If this is the case, don’t shy away from looking into a hands-free or fashionable high-arc faucet. A fresh look for your kitchen is not an impossible task! Simply find a reliable contractor and write down your most important concerns for your new space. Begin there and you’ll be on your way to a new kitchen that’s perfect for you, your friends, and family!