Interior Design Tips: How to Choose Countertop Materials

wood countertops

When you think about countertops, move beyond your kitchen and bathroom. Well-designed countertops are now found all over the house – lower-level bars, laundry rooms, built-ins, and even on furniture. Regardless of where they are installed, we guide our clients through the same material decision-making process, bringing good interior design principles into the mix.

Our first consideration in choosing a countertop material is our client’s tolerance for maintenance and imperfections. Each option comes with it own upkeep requirements, so it is important to understand the homeowner’s level of commitment to these needs. Also, some materials change over time, which may not be acceptable for some people. Understanding our clients’ expectations helps us narrow their choices from the start.

The second factor we apply to the decision process is the intended look for the countertops. Do our clients want dark or light? Solid or patterned? More movement or less movement? We take our clients to local distributor showrooms to get a sense of what they like. We find that many people have little exposure to all of the available choices, so perusing these showrooms helps them discover new options. We always go on these trips without a solid focus on what we are looking for, because new things are always coming out of the ground! Being open to new materials and technologies can lead to an unexpected and unique look.

Countertops can be a costly aspect of an interior design project. Taking the time to understand how the material will fit into the overall design scheme can help eliminate poor choices. On our shopping trips, we bring with us all of the materials that will surround the countertops, including the backsplash, cabinetry, flooring, hardware, paint colors and fabrics. It is important to see what elements work together and show off the countertops best. This is a field trip! We encourage our clients to walk around and discover what they love. There are no wrong answers. Our expertise is in helping you bring all of the elements you love together to create cohesion and balance.

Here are some quick tips on how to choose a countertop materials for your space:

countertop materials

Your backsplash matters. Countertops and backsplashes need to be thought of together in your space design. If you have chosen a granite countertop with a lot of movement, then your backsplash should be calm. However, if you are looking to create a feature tile mosaic for your backsplash, a calm countertop is in order. You do not want the two elements to fight each other for attention.

countertop materials

Consider the size of your space. A large kitchen island may offer a nice opportunity to create a countertop with lots of dynamic movement as a focal point. However, that same material in a bathroom may be too small to appreciate the movement, or may dominate the space. Those with spacious kitchens may want to consider two materials to break up the look a bit, such as granite on the perimeter and wood on the island.

granite countertops

Four inches is not enough information. When choosing a natural stone, never select your countertops from a 4” sample. If there is a lot of movement and change in the piece, you will not be able to see the whole look!

wood countertops

Don’t forget the finishes. The finish you choose for your countertops can greatly affect the final look as well as durability. Granite now comes in shiny, sueded, honed or flamed – each with its own characteristics. Finding a fabricator who can apply a hard finish to a wood countertop can help lengthen the time between refinishes. Concrete can crack and crumble if not mixed and sealed correctly. Take the time to understand your options to ensure you end up with the design and functionality you want.

Questions on what countertop material is right for your project? Send us an email or give us a call at 317- 253-8986.

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