The Best Neutral Countertops for Your Kitchen
Go beyond granite.
Updating your countertops can revamp the entire kitchen without having to perform a major remodel. They’re usually an investment purchase and, once installed, they’ll probably stay in the space for the next 10 years. So it’s no wonder homeowners stress about which material to choose. Granite has traditionally dominated as the go-to option, but it comes with a steep price tag and its busy patterns are dated. Flip through recent issues of SL, and you’ll notice that the all-white kitchen trend has taken over. While we love the clean look of white countertops, we also love that there are more ways behind basic white to create a sleek aesthetic for your space. Read on for three of our favorite neutral countertops that won’t go out of style.
Quartz countertops are durable and low-maintenance. Unlike granite, quartz countertops are man-made in a factory, so a wider range of colors is available, and there’s more control over the equal distribution of pattern and veining for the cut slabs. Quartz counters are nonporous, which means they’re resistant to stains and don’t require sealing. The surface won’t absorb harmful bacteria, viruses, mold, or mildew. One downside: Quartz can crack under extreme heat, so don’t place hot pots and pans directly on these countertops.
Soapstone is another tough, easy-to-care-for material for kitchen countertops. It’s nonporous, so it’s also antimicrobial and doesn’t require sealing. The counters have a softer, soap-like feel (which is how this stone got its name). Though soapstone counters are durable, they’re still susceptible to scratches; lightly sand the surface to diminish the look of any blemishes. Soapstone is also heat-tolerant. To maintain the countertop’s rich charcoal color, treat it every few months with mineral oil, which helps the stone oxidize.
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Butcher block countertops will warm up an all-white space and bring farmhouse charm to your kitchen. Butcher block makes for a durable, hardworking surface, and it can even double as a cutting board. The countertops are made by gluing several pieces of wood together, and many different colors and styles are available. (We suggest choosing a thick slab of a darker wood like mahogany or walnut.) Butcher block is susceptible to scratches and cuts, but sanding down the physical signs of wear and tear will restore the counters’ brand-new look. Butcher block is antibacterial and antimicrobial but not resistant to heat or stains. Maintain these countertops by oiling them about twice a year.