You can also create a U‐shaped kitchen by adding a freestanding island to an L‐shaped kitchen. In this case the one end cabinet was turned to face away from the kitchen and a beadboard end panel was added to allow for a place to intersect the open island. Because the island is open you have knee space for stools and seating without needing an overhang.
Pure white countertops generally only available in manufactured materials such as Corian or Caesarstone bring a contemporary minimalist freshness that no natural stone can match. Luckily these materials resist stains well so they can stay a crisp white for years with just a little care. This stark look works well in contemporary spaces. As mentioned the severity of a true white can fight a traditional decor but in a modern space it feels appropriately crisp. It’s especially effective in small spaces such as compact condo kitchens paired with minimalist white cabinets to give the illusion of a bigger space.
Recycled Glass and Cement Kitchen Counters. Although it's expensive ($100 to $160 per square foot installed) this unique combination of glass and cement is a surefire way to add character to your kitchen. Ecofriendly durable and customizable this countertop material is a top choice for a "forever home".
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Lighter woods tend to have more of a casual or rustic feel compared with darker‐stained options. Light‐stained or unstained woods can have a cottage‐inspired feel or a Scandinavian vibe depending on whether you pair them with traditional or modern accouterments. In either case a traditional runner rug makes an excellent complement. Darker woods come off a little more formal and polished than lighter tones. They lend a certain gravity to a space which can work well in areas that are already bright and breezy with lots of windows. When mixing wood counters with other wood finishes it’s often best to stick to either warm or cool tones across the board. Red‐brown woods are more traditional while ashy gray tones have been a popular modern trend in recent years. Whichever tones you prefer they will be less likely to clash if you stick to one family or the other.
Boldly veined stone countertops can either make you stop and gaze in admiration or have the opposite effect and overwhelm your eyes. In general the bolder the veining on your counters the less drama you’ll want to add elsewhere. This waterfall counter (with the material wrapped down the sides) is relatively muted but the large gray veins still bring enough character without any daring colors or other statement features.
Go minimal. Are you in the process of picking new cabinets for your compact kitchen? Consider this look. Ultra‐plain handleless cabinets in a nude hue are soothing to look at and give a sense of visual order. Pick a seamless backsplash such as this slab of marble since tiles with grout can look busy. Get in a tight corner. When space is tight an ingenious trio of pullout corner drawers is a lifesaver helping to solve the problem of lost space in those awkward‐to‐access base cabinets. If you’re remodeling think about how you’d use such drawers – for cutlery towels pans dishes? Here a slimmer top drawer is complemented by the two deeper ones so all the bases are covered.