Once, the kitchen was the unsung workhorse of a residence, hidden away behind closed doors. But with today’s open-concept floor plans, they’re the most popular gathering spots in the house. And because your kitchen is likely to be constantly on display, the materials you choose matter … a lot.
The hardest-working and most visually impactful kitchen components are your countertops. And, while you could choose a standard granite or quartz, stepping beyond the basics can lead to stunning results.
Check out these five unique countertop alternatives for your new or updated kitchen:
1. Paper, not Plastic
At first look, paper seems an unlikely candidate for a durable countertop material, but PaperStone® countertops merge recycled paper with resin for a finished product that feels warm to the touch with “steel-like strength” and “stone-like durability.” Deep tones, like Cabernet and Denim, dominate the color offerings, though lighter shades, such as Sand and Pewter, would play well with darker-toned cabinetry.
2. Crushing It
Want to include upcycled materials (beyond reclaimed wood) in your build? Bring sustainability and style to your kitchen with crushed glass counters. They’re made by suspending recycled glass pieces in acrylic or concrete, so no two slabs are alike. They’re available in an endless array of colors; plus, they’re durable, simple to clean and often more affordable than natural stone.
3. More than Marble
Like art for your countertops, Marmoreal® makes marble countertops like you’ve never seen before. While the material is a mixture of 95 percent marble and 5 percent polyester resin binders, the results are far more fascinating than the formula suggests.
Like a grown-up take on confetti, flecks of cream, terra cotta and shades of blue ranging from navy to turquoise pop against a background of honed or polished white or black.
4. Check, Please
While butcher block countertops are a kitchen classic, a specific variety known as “end-grain” butcher block is considerably less common. Created by turning grain boards on end and gluing them together, end-grain countertops have a distinctive checkerboard appearance. A great choice for a prep-work/island area, this type of butcher block can be cut on directly without marring the surface.
5. Go for the Gold
Or, in this case, another precious metal: copper. Although it’s one of the priciest countertop options out there, copper has a number of advantages. Besides bringing instant warmth into any space, it’s easy to maintain and microbial. Keep in mind that copper is prone to dents and dings and gradually changing tones — though that’s what many copper-counter owners love about it.