Countertops are the icing on top of your kitchen renovation cake – they’re what enhances the flavour of your kitchen and gives it that extra appeal. The thing about cake icing though is that there’s a wide variety of ways to put it on: you can go from a quick slathering all over the cake to creating intricate star-and-swirl patterns; the same idea can be applied to countertops. At the end of the day, what’s important is to not get intimidated by all the choices that are available to you. Focus on what you need out of your countertop and zero in on the one that best fits the bill.
Here are some criteria to consider when you’re choosing a countertop that’s right for you:
Square footage needed
First, figure out how much material you actually need for your kitchen countertop. Are you looking for an L-shaped perimeter countertop? Will your countertop be one uninterrupted piece or will it be broken up by appliances in between? Do you have enough space for an island, too? These are all good questions to think about before you get down to taking measurements. These measurements may not exactly be the final dimensions, but they’ll give you a very close idea of how much countertop material you expect to get.
To get a sense of what material is best suited to your kitchen needs, take a look at what your usual cooking habits are. Do you bake a lot? Go with marble or granite. Do you often chop foodstuff directly on the countertop? Go with quartz. If you’re a versatile cook and do a little bit of everything, one option to consider is combining different materials together for your countertop. You can simply designate different cooking areas in the kitchen and install the corresponding countertop material at those areas. You can even achieve a more built-in look by putting in a quartz rectangle chopping station in a stretch of granite countertop or vice versa for a baking station.
Fit with overall kitchen design
After you’ve taken care of the practicalities of your countertop, it’s important to make sure it aesthetically fits in with the kitchen design you have in mind. This is where the fun part comes in because it’s where you get to pick out the colour and pattern of the countertop. It all depends on how detailed your kitchen design is: do you just want the countertop to complement your kitchen cabinets? Or is there a specific theme like modern or rustic you want to create? Get a bunch of samples from your local countertop manufacturer and imagine how each will fit in your kitchen. Keep in mind though that if you’re going for natural stones like marble or granite, the final product you get will never exactly match the samples you worked with.
Because most countertops are finished with square edges, you can stand out by making the stylistic – and more expensive – choice of rounded, bevel, or ogee edges. These decorative edges will subtly bring focus to your countertop if you want it to be the centrepiece of your kitchen design.
Decide on the maximum amount of money you’re willing to spend on your countertop and make sure to stick by it. As you start to really get into renovating your kitchen, you’re going to keep coming across temptations to splurge on new design inspirations – don’t get sucked into that trap! To get a realistic budget picture, contact your local countertop manufacturer and professional contractors to get a quote based on the square footage you need and the different materials you’re thinking of using for your countertop. Factor in a little contingency extra and see if your budget can comfortably take on those estimated costs. Once you have your maximum budget down, you can rely on that number to keep you in check and not go overboard.
Like many home renovation projects, the sheer number of design choices in countertops can be overwhelming. By keeping these considerations above at the top of your list though, you’ll have a much easier time choosing the right countertop that’s both practical and beautiful for you.