“You wouldn’t build a house unless the design was exactly what you wanted; honing in on the design of your renovation project is crucial before you proceed.” – Michael Upshall
Choosing a countertop can be one of the most difficult decisions when building a home or doing a bathroom or kitchen remodel.
After all, a countertop is a wide expanse of color in any room and it’s one that you must live with happily for quite a long time.
Depending on the material you choose, it can also be one of your home’s biggest investments.
Countertop ideas can feel virtually limitless when trying to narrow down your preferences.
Each type of countertop has its own benefits and drawbacks. Scroll through our selection of the best countertop ideas and learn why each is a good—or perhaps not-so-good—option for your home.
A bathroom countertop can make or break this room’s design—especially in a small bathroom. In fact, an easy bathroom renovation may only require replacing the vanity countertop and painting the cabinet below.
A great countertop can make a huge difference in bringing a dated bathroom into the current decade.
A tile countertop can work better in a bathroom than in the kitchen, especially if it’s part of an overall bathroom tile design scheme.
Keep in mind that more expensive countertop ideas may be feasible in the bathroom, where a smaller amount of costly material is required.
Higher-maintenance materials, such as marble, might be ideal for a beautiful guest bathroom that doesn’t bear the brunt of daily use.
Concrete is an often overlooked countertop material that looks amazing in a modern, rustic, or industrial style home.
A professional concrete worker can tint a concrete countertop to coordinate with your bathroom or kitchen design scheme. It’s also a great option in an outdoor kitchen.
Concrete’s list of advantages includes its:
- Ability to take on different shades, patterns, sheens, and colors
- Ease of use for DIYers
Note that concrete countertops must be sealed to avoid staining. They also require periodic treatment with tung oil and can be waxed for a glossy appearance.
You can also buy laminate refinishing kits that provide the look of concrete without having to replace your countertops.
If you want your home to include a DIY countertop, a wooden countertop may be the best option.
You can install butcher block on a kitchen island or use a wood block countertop in just one section of the kitchen.
Even if you have soapstone, marble, or granite on the rest of the kitchen counter tops, the wood area will add a homey warmth to the room.
Marble is another good material for a DIY project. Bakers often replace part of a kitchen island worktop with real marble to have a smooth, cold surface for rolling out dough or making candy.
Stainless steel is an easy kitchen countertop material to DIY, especially atop wooden cabinets. Concrete is another DIY countertop option for industrial or modern kitchen design
Glass countertops are a fun, contemporary choice. Chances are, few—if any—of your friends have glass countertops, making your kitchen and bathroom surfaces unique.
Thick, solid panes of clear or frosted tempered glass look amazing in a modern kitchen. Recycled glass countertops are made from shards of broken or crushed glass mixed into a clear acrylic or concrete medium.
Recycled glass countertops are one of the most eco-friendly choices on the market. Glass worktops are strong, heat-resistant, and simple to clean. They can be lit from beneath, providing an ethereal, futuristic glow at night.
Granite remains one of the most popular countertop options in kitchen design today. Comparable in cost to marble, granite is more durable and comes in more colors and textures. No two granite slabs are identical.
- A high-end appearance designers and homeowners favor.
- A durable and easily cleanable surface.
- Excellent stain and water resistance.
The main drawback to a granite countertop is that it’s among the most expensive countertops you can buy. You will also pay more for rare colors and unusual veining patterns.
However, it is a cost that is often recouped when you sell your home. Granite is a good high-end replacement for a marble countertop, as it is not as easily stained or scratched as marble.
The kitchen is the workhorse of the home, its heart and gathering place. Your countertop design must first be functional, with beauty ranking a close second.
However, with today’s dizzying array of kitchen countertop options, beauty and functionality usually go hand-in-hand.
When budgeting for your kitchen countertops, be sure to include adjacent rooms with worktop surfaces.
You will likely want to use the same countertop and backsplash materials in your laundry room, butler’s pantry and mudroom.
If it’s within your budget, an entirely white kitchen with white cabinets, white flooring, and white marble countertops is stunningly beautiful.
Laminate is great if you’re into mid-century retro kitchen design. However, today’s laminate is almost nothing like the material used on countertops and backsplash surfaces in decades past.
New printing techniques can help you achieve the look of marble or granite at a fraction of the cost. Although laminate isn’t heat or cut resistant, it is affordable and easy to clean.
If you’re not fond of laminate, but your budget is limited, there’s another alternative. An engineered stone countertop is a more expensive—but still affordable—substitute for a real marble, granite, or soapstone countertop.
The sturdy mainstay of commercial kitchens, a stainless steel countertop will be just as durable in your home kitchen.
While some love the way metal countertops coordinate with stainless steel appliances, others may feel that much metal is too cold for the home.
If a sea of stainless steel surfaces is too much for you, consider using it only on your kitchen island or next to the stove.
When it comes to a durable solid surface countertop, it’s hard to find anything more durable than food-grade stainless steel. Advantages include:
- Total heat, stain, rust, and burn resistance.
- No damage from spilled oils or acids.
- Its ease of installation, making it DIY-friendly.
- It is recyclable.
Metal countertop design includes several alternative finishes, including brushed metal, antique matte, mirror-polished, and satin. Always use a cutting board with metal countertops, as it can ruin your cutlery.
A quartz countertop is a gorgeous option when it comes to durable countertop ideas. It comes in a huge array of colors, from natural stone finishes to more vibrant hues.
Advantages of quartz countertops include:
- Scratch and stain resistance.
- Built-in anti-microbial protection.
- Enduring beauty that never requires polishing or sealing.
- Often comes ready to install with a built-in sink.
Contrary to popular belief, all quartz countertops are engineered. Manufacturers combine crushed quartz crystals with resin to achieve a natural stone appearance.
Its price point ranks near granite, but it usually offers a glossier, more refined appearance than granite.
Porcelain, stone, glass, and ceramic tile are durable and affordable countertop and backsplash options.
A tiled countertop offers several advantages:
- It’s easy to DIY.
- It comes in a huge variety of colors, textures, and sizes.
- It’s easy to sanitize and keep clean (provided that the grout is properly sealed).
If your home has tile countertops and you can’t afford to replace them, look for an epoxy tub and tile refinishing kit. It completely covers existing tile and grout, giving it a shiny new appearance.
A butcher block countertop is perhaps one of the oldest kitchen prep surfaces in the world.
This versatile countertop option fits into everything from a modern kitchen to the most rustic abode. It is a built-in cutting board, making it a truly useful kitchen countertop idea.
As with all kitchen countertop options, wooden surfaces bring certain disadvantages, including:
- Frequent maintenance requirements, such as sanding scratches and applying mineral oil to protect the surface.
- Porosity that can trap bacteria if not properly cleaned.
- A propensity for staining and burn marks from hot pots and pans.
Even with its disadvantages, butcher block remains a popular kitchen worktop material.
Various woods can be used individually or together, including maple, oak, walnut, and birch. Apply two or more shades of wood stain for a customized appearance.