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Kitchen Remodel: Tips for Selecting Kitchen Countertops with Pictures

Updated on August 21, 2011
Lily Rose profile image

In my next life, I want to be an interior designer. I love decorating and home decor, taking on projects, and helping others do the same.

When considering a kitchen remodel, most people rank countertops at the top of the list of importance, together with cabinets.  When it comes to choosing what countertops would be best for you, evaluating your lifestyle is a good place to start.  If you prefer to take extra care when prepping and cooking food, your options are wide open.  If you tend to be a bit messier or if you’re a busy family that makes messes in the kitchen regularly, then you may want to consider durability as a priority, in addition to good looks. 

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New granite slab countertop in my first home's kitchen - I fell in love with this granite - and still am!
New granite slab countertop in my first home's kitchen - I fell in love with this granite - and still am!

Granite Counters (slab)

When it comes to form and function, as well as popularity, a granite slab is what most people want. Prices range from affordable to very expensive with granite. More often than not these days, granite is what people chose.

You may think it is out of the question, but if you do your homework you might find that you can afford granite – it may not be the most “exotic” one, but it’s sure to be beautiful still. You can select a thinner cut and a simple edge design/profile to spend less – it likely can end up being even less than other solid surface materials, like quartz.

*What is important to remember is that each piece of natural stone is a piece of art from Mother Nature.*

This is a beautiful example of a high-end granite tile countertop.
This is a beautiful example of a high-end granite tile countertop.

Granite Tile Countertops

If you still feel like a slab of stone is too expensive for your budget, perhaps granite tiles are your solution. You can even get tiles that are preassembled with a decorative edge profile, but this would be a high-end granite tile option. There are mid-range options which are usually larger tiles, like 16”, 18” or even 24” squares. These usually include a strip of granite tile for the sink rail and edges. The most affordable option is the standard 12” x 12” tiles. Most people who use these for their countertops finish the countertop edges with a wood strip. To help give the illusion of a slab when using granite tiles, use the larger tiles in a solid color shade with minimal grout joints and a matching grout color.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Limestone countertop.Limestone counter.Honed marble slab.Slate slab countertop.Beautuful travertine tile.
Limestone countertop.
Limestone countertop.
Limestone counter.
Limestone counter.
Honed marble slab.
Honed marble slab.
Slate slab countertop.
Slate slab countertop.
Beautuful travertine tile.
Beautuful travertine tile.

Rustic Counter Tiles

If you prefer a countertop that has more of a rustic look with a matte finish, consider slate, limestone, honed marble or travertine tiles. These options, although as beautiful as granite in many cases, do have inherent drawbacks such as staining easily or not being as resistant to heat and scratches. You must do your research before committing.

White Carrara Marble Island.
White Carrara Marble Island.

Marble Slab Counter

White marble slabs, such as the beautiful Carrara, are gaining in popularity. It has a naturally sophisticated and modern look to it. Some marble can be very porous, though, when it comes in contact with certain foods, so you need to make sure you are familiar with the care and upkeep of a marble like this.

You can remodel your kitchen on a budget (although that seems like an oxymoron) if you do your research and focus where it counts – countertops and cabinets, then features like architectural finds, accessories, fabrics and lighting. Be willing to compromise – remember, inexpensive does not equate to cheap or ugly – it’s how it is used that’s important.

Also remember, you can save loads of money in your kitchen redo project by simply refacing or resurfacing your cabinets instead of replacing them; read more about this here.

It will take time and patience, but with an open mind you CAN do it!

Formica 180 FX Countertops

Formica has a new product that just might have you saying "I can't believe it's not granite!"  Well, at least I did.  I also never thought I would be excited about receiving my new Formica countertops to replace the old, ugly Formica countertops that came with my kitchen but I was very excited and I am LOVING them!  Check out before, during, and after pictures of my kitchen redo, plus more here:  Formica 180 FX


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    • Lily Rose profile image

      Lily Rose 6 weeks ago from East Coast

      Hi Rosalind. I'm not sure if you're making a statement or asking me a question, but quartz is definitely a popular choice these days as well. As a matter of fact, I recently moved and bought a newly constructed home that has the most beautiful quartz countertops throughout the whole home! So far I do not see much difference as far as the care and durability compared to granite.

    • profile image

      Rosalind 6 weeks ago

      Everyone wants Quartz these days?

    • Lily Rose profile image

      Lily Rose 4 years ago from East Coast

      Good advice! Thanks, Hady!

    • Hady Chahine profile image

      Hady Chahine 4 years ago from Manhattan Beach

      Nice hub! Personally I like the granite and rustic tile look. If going with granite, I highly recommended visiting your local showroom to pick out the design/pattern of choice versus asking your general contractor to do the work for you. Also, get details on the finish-seal coat material and directions for keeping it clean and protected from staining.

    • sammysmyth1 profile image

      sammysmyth1 6 years ago

      Thanks Lily, makes you think of how much work there is in having that amazing kitchen, voting up on this :P

    • relica profile image

      relica 7 years ago from California

      The marble slab countertop is my favorite, even though it is not the easiest to maintain. Nice Hub.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 8 years ago

      Great hub. My daughter is thinking about redoing her kitchen, so I'll print this for her.

    • Lily Rose profile image

      Lily Rose 8 years ago from East Coast

      I hope that I am one of those that gets to redo my kitchen & baths when my money eases up! I'll definitely be ready now!

    • dusanotes profile image

      dusanotes 8 years ago from Windermere, FL

      Thanks, Lily Rose, for that interesting Hub. When money eases up more and more people will be wanting to re-do their kitchens and baths, the two things that can create value in a home better than anything else. Don White