Kitchen, Bathroom Countertops Styles and Ideas
A stone countertop in the kitchen is, for most of us, more typical of a French country farmhouse. Many of us who grew up as baby boomers in America are more familiar with such countertop materials as Formica, stainless steel or especially, the wide variety of laminates. Many laminate countertop materials marketed in the 1960s were made to resemble Carrara marble or wooden butcher’s blocks. Does anyone remember the Bittersweet orange kitchen counter Alice used in “The Brady Bunch”? These styles are still around and what’s more, they are widely available and in use, believe it or not, because Retro kitchen style is making a comeback. Earlier forms of countertop used in the 1950s include linoleum and, more rarely, vinyl. These are going to be hard to find and less exciting to buy and install than today’s exotic options. If you’re shopping around for new countertops today you will most likely be shown a variety of stone materials. Granite is a popular option, and so are more pricey alternatives such as marble. Marble is visually attractive but not as hard as granite, and it easily scratches and stains. Soapstone is also popular. It’s very dark, non-porous and an excellent heat insulator. Another countertop material that is becoming more widely used is concrete. It can be made into any color, shape or finish. When a glass aggregate is added, it begins to resemble terrazzo. Glass by itself is another excellent countertop material. It can be surprisingly strong. Stainless steel is a classic that is making a comeback as part of the “foodie” culture. It always gives an industrial feel to a kitchen. “Solid surface” countertops are seen more and more nowadays. These materials are made from mineral powder mixed with acrylics and sometimes with polyester binders. Some rarer countertop materials now in vogue include copper, porcelain, ceramic tiles, reclaimed or exotic woods, pewter, slate and even semi-precious stones such as agate, petrified wood or slabs of unusual fossils. Amethyst is one of the most luxurious countertop materials available. It reveals a variety of purple and violet tones that respond vividly to intense light. Planning your countertops is likely to be rewarding. Take the time to visit showrooms and stone dealers to get an idea of what’s available. You are bound to be surprised at the richness of the offer. Let your wildest imagination have free rein!