When choosing a kitchen worktop, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by so many options – from the cheapest pieces of processed wood boards covered with a melamine laminate, to unbelievably expensive stone slabs. And everything in between.
The fact there are countless materials to choose from proves the kitchen worktops are something worth thinking about. Gosh, if only someone somewhere wrote a list of questions that could help you decide. But who? Who would do such a thing, based of course on experiences from their clients and followed by photographs of gorgeous kitchens to serve as examples?
Oh, that’s right, we did it! So, first of all:
How does the worktop match with other materials in the room?
And we mean with EVERY other material. Of course, it should go well with backsplash and cabinet doors, sink and stovetop, but since it is looked at mostly from above, the worktop is almost always seen in combination with the floor.
Wall finishes and colors are equally important, also doors and curtains. And if there’s a window next to the kitchen cabinets, there’s probably a window sill to have in mind. You see, the window sill is often the same height as the worktop and can be quite noticeable.
Exaggeration? Maybe. But there’s actually a simple way to test out combinations you imagined.
We don’t talk about mood boards on the blog because we rarely create them, but they are definitely practical when it comes to combining different materials and colors. We won’t elaborate what a mood board is because you can read this fantastic post on Style Curator and find out the advantages of creating one for yourself.
However, it can be complicated, if not impossible, to collect samples of all materials you want to use. But don’t let that discourage you.
Just the other day, we took a floor tile from the kitchen of an apartment we’re currently designing (so exciting, stay tuned) and went searching for matching cabinet doors and worktops. It’s a poor man’s mood board, but it did its job.
And do you want to know a secret? The combination we thought would be the best, was actually the second best. And the one we were on the fence about, blew our mind. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone.
Combining colors, textures, and patterns is pretty challenging, though. Especially if you’re courageous enough to step away from a monochrome palette.
We want you to take a look at this kitchen, from the Alcântara flat by amazing M2.senos.
You see, who would’ve thought this worktop would be such a perfect match?
We will be honest with you – our go-to type of stone is Calacatta marble which usually goes well with everything, but there is something irresistible about this re-used marble in a combination with red-ish pigmented hardwood floor.
That’s the thing about combining materials and colors. You don’t have to adore each one individually to fall in love in the way they complement each other.
It feels like contemporary minimalism meets traditional style in this apartment. Also, elements that are important for overall ambiance seem luxurious and they are wisely combined with easily removable, and replaceable, low budget items. And as you can see, worktop is almost a crucial element of the kitchen. Try to imagine any other worktop instead of this one. Not as good, right?
But we can’t talk about stone countertops without asking:
Is it hard to maintain the worktop?
There is no surface in your home that has to put up with constant wear and tear as much as kitchen countertop does. From tomato sauce and lemon juice to sharp knives and hot pots.
Sauces leave stains on a natural stone. Hot pots can burn wooden worktops. It is hard to cook carefully and even though you know you shouldn’t cry over spilled milk, you will cry over red wine spilled on your new white-with-a-pinch-of-grey marble kitchen countertop.
We are not saying you shouldn’t consider those materials. After all, they are beautiful. And maybe you don’t really cook that often. Maybe you don’t mind unperfections that appear over time. But you have to be aware of the facts.
These days, we are in love with stainless steel worktops. Yes, it is easy to scratch them, and practically impossible not to scratch them, but they are also extremely easy to clean. And it is easy to keep them clean. They can handle hot pots, acid from grapefruit, or food colors like champs. Think about it, there’s a reason they are a part of every professional (restaurant) kitchen.
*Adverb lovely is used due to lack of the right word to describe this house. Architects said it wasn’t really a project but a process. The more individual layers, spaces and surprising circumstances they uncovered during the reconstruction, the more revisions, and alterations they had to make in their design. And designing process lasted until the end of realization.
If your first thought about stainless steel was something like “but that looks so cold”, guess we proved you wrong. See how floor tiles complement the worktop? Wooden ceiling and kitchen cabinets don’t hurt, either. Isn’t it beautiful?
Another great example is the kitchen from Casa AG by Duearchitetti. Different, peaceful ambiance, with two perfect cuboids – kitchen elements – inserted into the original, irregular structure of the building.
With their simple geometry, sharp edges and smooth materials, detached from the structural walls, elements enhance that contrast. The play of the new and the old – never gets old.
It is easy to fantasize about stone, wood or stainless steal if no one raises a question:
How much does the worktop cost?
You know, the processed wood boards covered with melamine laminate are great.
Being the ones who always say things like “Don’t fake materials” and “Design has to be honest” (ok, we’ve just realized how preachy we are), we are not saying you should choose the laminate that looks just like marble or wood or concrete. You could, of course, but how about those kitchens that are simply white… or black.
Just look at these two examples that we featured in our previous posts: Airy and Open apartment in Tel Aviv designed by Maayan Zusman & Amir Navon with beautiful all-white kitchen…
… and TRN apartment refurbishment in Trnava designed by JRKVC with black plywood kitchen elements.
In which order you’ll ask these questions, is up to you. Once again, it’s all about your own priorities. But don’t despair even if you have to compromise.
Maybe you can’t afford the ideal worktop, or the one you want is not practical enough. The peace of mind when being debt-free, as well as living in a friendly, easy-to-maintain apartment, contribute to the overall ambiance of the home more than perfectly matched materials.