How to Choose Kitchen Countertops & Backsplashes

Home Editor Jennifer Kopf shares her tips for incorporating the right materials for countertops and backsplashes in your kitchen.


Hi, I'm Jennifer Kopf, Home Editor at Southern Living. Countertops have come along way since laminate. Marble, granite, and solid surfaces such as corian remain top options for classic and traditional kitchens. For something different and more modern, look for materials such as glass, stainless steel, concrete, and even recycled paper. The top of your island doesn't have to match the rest of your countertops. Butcher block and other wood installations make a great choice for islands. The light tone of maple contributes to a casual style. While stained and sealed walnut looks much dressier. The backsplash is where you can really have fun with your material choice and your application. Tile is usually the way to go. Ceramic is the traditional choice. And, you can never go wrong with white subway tile. But, there are also, many options in glass, and even antiqued mirror. Your back splash decision doesn't stop with the choice of tiles. Traditionally, a back splash is a few inches high. But choose something different for more impact. Go higher up the wall, either halfway, or even all the way to the ceiling. This is especially successful above your cooktop. Create a small shelf around the entire kitchen for a fun display. Or a little enclave above the stove to keep oils and other cooking supplies. With all of the options out there, choosing your counter tops may feel overwhelming, but remember there is no wrong decision. Be true to your needs and your style preferences, and you'll be sure to love your results. For more ways to create a beautiful kitchen, read Southern Living Magazine and visit
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