If you’ve tuned into HGTV for more than five minutes, you’ll know that new homeowners want three things: an “open-concept” floor plan, a walk-in closet and granite countertops.
Granite is often what we hear about on the subject of countertops. While we love granite countertops and know they can sure look snazzy, we’ve recently seen a few other materials emerge on the countertop scene, and we welcome them with open arms.
So maybe you can’t quite let go of that dream of running your fingers along a kitchen counter surface that is cold, gorgeous and extremely durable. Lucky for you — granite’s earthy and slightly less ritzy cousin, concrete, is here to help fulfill your dream…and save you a few bucks.
Durability is an obvious reason why we love concrete countertops — they can be very scratch and heat-resistant if sealed correctly. It’s also easy to customize your counters by deciding on the shape, color and texture. However, durability also means the installation process can be a bit difficult and that the surface must be well-supported, as concrete is an extremely heavy material.
We were pleased to find out that adding concrete countertops can be as easy as covering the existing and outdated countertops with concrete. This process can of course be tedious, but it is helpful to use a pre-existing structure as your surface base rather than creating your own structure out of thin air.
Concrete countertops provide a clean and minimalistic look that is sure to last through ever-changing design styles and years of culinary abuse.
Installing butcher block countertops is a popular and inexpensive route that many adventurous homeowners and designers have taken. Many have paired the brown wood with white cabinets or white sinks, which happens to be our favorite look, but the possibilities are endless! The neutral shade of brown provides a wonderful safe base color to pair with any color you could imagine. Always wanted a green kitchen? Great. Brown wood complements that beautifully.
After window shopping on Pinterest, we were curious as to how well a wood surface would last after years of withstanding the elements of a busy kitchen. Thankfully, several homeowners have chronicled their butcher block countertop projects and updated the cyber world about their longevity and wear and tear several years after the installation. With the proper stain and prep work, these countertops seem to last well throughout their lifetime, but may not be the best material for those who aim for perfection. Because wood is such a malleable material, it is more susceptible to obtaining nicks, scratches, cracks, or even your friends mistaking it for a cutting board, which just means they gain even more character!
The low cost of the project and the beautiful end result outweigh some of those minor cons. There is something so refreshing and natural about the look of these countertops and they are out-of-the-ordinary enough to catch one’s attention. As hand-crafted wooden features have made a comeback on the interior design scene, we are happy to see them making a semi-permanent statement in such a central location as the kitchen.
One look we are extremely intrigued by is the incorporation of glass as the kitchen countertop surface — sometimes accompanied by a source of illumination.
We trust glass with so many things. We use it for our windshields, windows, mirrors, watches, TV screens, light bulbs, bottles, aquariums — and the very screen you’re reading this on. So why not trust glass to hold our kitchenware?
We could talk about how durable, heat-resistant, hygenic, and scratch-resistant glass is, but let’s instead talk about its curb appeal. There is something so clean and fresh about this glassy look; it helps brighten up any space, which is particularly important in a kitchen. But if you’re going for a more moody or sultry feel, glass can be a chameleon and is willing to work with you to achieve that look.
As mentioned, we are obsessed with the combination of glass with lights. This look feels dreamy and relaxing, and is a great way to make the most of this translucent material.
Glass countertops are a slightly more pricey choice in comparison to the previous materials mentioned. The cost can range between $200-300 per square foot, but of course this price varies. If you have both a forgiving budget and a desire to think outside of the box, this would be a wonderful alternative to the traditional granite surface.
If you’re trying to save some pennies during your kitchen remodel, we found the perfect place for you to store your savings — on the counter, with glue!
That’s right. Some crafty homeowners have sanitized, glued and sealed penny mosaics on their countertop surfaces, and the end result is gorgeous. It’s sure to make guests do a double-take.
There are several different approaches to this project and each result is unique in its own way, because of the varying shades, years and wear of any given penny. Some have opted for an organized pattern mosaic while others have embraced the random and unpredictable look. Either way, this approach is extremely cost-effective, as it will of course cost you however many pennies you end up using, plus the cost of a few supplies. So grab some epoxy, a year’s supply of pennies and maybe a few helping hands, and get a whole new look in your kitchen. To us, this penny alternative makes a lot of “cents”.
Penny for your thoughts? (Okay, sorry. The penny puns end here!) We would love to hear about any experience you have with the above-mentioned countertop alternatives or other ideas you might have!
PHOTOS COURTESY OF: Homedit, Domestic Imperfection, Homeroad, Squirelly Minds, WooHome, Like a Saturday, Behance and DigsDigs.