By Lindsay Slattery
Your countertop is arguably the most eye-catching element of your kitchen. That’s ironic when you consider your countertop is also your workshop and it probably takes more of a beating than any other surface in your home. If you’re someone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen, you end up looking at it for hours a day. So why settle for a drab slab?
Traditional marble and granite are traditional for reasons: they’re stunning and they’re durable. If you can afford them, they’ll give your kitchen a classy and timeless vibe and will last for years or decades to come. However, they aren’t the only options available to achieve the look you’re going for.
People everywhere are showing off unique countertop installations that are changing the game. These ideas cover the entire spectrum of personal style. Whether you’re going for a sustainable, rustic look or your eye is on what’s chic and trendy, there’s a unique countertop out there that’s perfect you.
It’s no secret that replacing your countertop is expensive. However, it’s also a long-term investment that, if you play your cards right, can generously add to the value of your home. Take a look at these outside-the-box ideas to get some inspiration.
Sure, you’ve seen ceramic tile countertops time and time again. This is different. This is a countertop that’s essentially made of one very large, fitted tile. In other words, this a porcelain “slab.”
No more worrying about the upkeep of tile grout or having to scrape food out from the crevices. Simply wipe down this countertop with soap and water, and you’ll have it looking as good as new. Not to mention, ceramic is incredibly durable. Although you wouldn’t think of it in terms of strength like you’d think of a rock slab, you may as well. There’s very little chance it’ll chip or stain.
What’s more is that the lovely, permanent sheen the ceramic gives off is enough to elevate the appearance of any kitchen. It’s available in a variety of colors, styles, and thicknesses.
2. Stainless Steel
Stainless steel countertops are booming in popularity amongst avid cooks as they mimic the food preparation surfaces you’d find in the kitchen of a restaurant. There’s a reason that restaurants use them too: They’re indestructible.
No material stands up better to abuse. There’s no food too acidic or messy to change the state of a stainless-steel countertop. The steel can be cleaned literally within seconds, saving serious cooks serious time.
The downside? This is one of the costlier installations on the list. However, provided steel is a look that fits your kitchen, you won’t need to replace it anytime soon.
On the other side of the cost spectrum is cork. One of the reasons you may not hear about cork countertops too often is that they’re often dismissed as cheap and too easily damaged. However, this is actually quite far from the truth.
The recycled cork used to make these countertops is packed together so densely that it’s actually very durable. The lightweight of the material also makes it easier and cheaper to install than its rock slab counterparts.
Perhaps the best part about these cork countertops is that they’re 100% recycled and sustainable. They’re made solely of material that would otherwise be clogging up a landfill for centuries to come.
Brass is a countertop material that’s so tough, people are starting to use it for their kitchens. Additionally, several bar owners have employed the help of brass to achieve a classic, throwback atmosphere in their establishment. Brass countertops become rustic-looking with use and age, creating a look that evokes Old World charm.
Bronze countertops are durable and easy to clean, and most varieties of this type of countertop pull off a truly unique and stunning look.
One downside of this material is that the metal can be reactive to fingerprints and acidic foods such as tomatoes or lemons. However, if you’re worried about wear and tear, you can ask about having the brass aged. Not only will this create an attractive effect, but it will also make any scruples less noticeable.
It’s not difficult to understand why glass countertops are taking the Pinterest-sphere by storm lately. They’re absolutely gorgeous. Not only do they come in more colors than you could possibly imagine, but they’re highly customizable. Do you want transparent, translucent, or opaque glass? Smooth or rippled? Thin and sharp or butcher-block style? Would you like built-in LED lights?
This is definitely one of the more if not the most expensive option on the list. However, if you can afford it, most companies guarantee that it will never chip or crack. Glass may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think “durability,” but you’d have a hard time damaging this countertop.
6. Recycled Wood
Here’s another option for the folks who aren’t looking to break the bank. You’ve seen the butcher block a thousand times, but reclaimed wood countertops tell a story. Similar to the cork countertops, these are made exclusively from recycled material. They differ, however, in that the wood maintains elements of its previous function, which gives this countertop a weaved tapestry kind of feel.
This kind of countertop does require more maintenance than its counterparts. If you decide this one is for you, ask your installer about a reliable laminate to prevent stains, swelling, and other erosion.
Be the change you want to see in your kitchen! No matter what anyone says, you have options when it comes to your countertop. If one of these unusual materials inspired you, perhaps you should dare to be different. Let the innovation begin.
Images used with permission, courtesy of John Rutter and www.shutterstock.com