Concrete Kitchen Counters. Pigments stains and dyes can create concrete counters with color and visual texture. With the right sealer a concrete counter can be well worth its cost – at least $100 to $150 per square foot installed.
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.
Softly flecked or grainy whites also work well paired with brass accents such as these contemporary lights. Again the subtle richness holds its own without fighting for attention and keeps the countertop from feeling too austere – great for a dining island where you want people to actually feel comfortable dining.
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The U‐shaped kitchen lends itself to high‐efficiency cooking: You can often pivot on one toe as you spin around from refrigerator to sink to stove. A good friend and accomplished cook swears by this kitchen layout. He loves it because it keeps people out of the way when he's cooking. Guests can hang out as long as they stay on "that" side of the peninsula! The U‐shaped kitchen (also called the C‐shaped kitchen) is the perfect expression of the work triangle we hear so much about in kitchen design.Rather than miles of counterspace this kitchen has a freestanding custom‐designed china cabinet at the end of the L. Sometimes a square island is better than a rectangle. If you don't have the room for a main sink in one of the legs of the L then put it in the island. This makes for a very tight work triangle and still allows for entertaining. This island has seating on two sides which makes for good conversation as well. If storage is what you're looking for the L‐shaped kitchen can be the best option for the maximum amount of wall cabinets.
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.
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Softly flecked or grainy whites also work well paired with brass accents such as these contemporary lights. Again the subtle richness holds its own without fighting for attention and keeps the countertop from feeling too austere – great for a dining island where you want people to actually feel comfortable dining.Believe it or not there can be such a thing as too much counterspace. When it happens it's most often seen in the L‐shaped kitchen layout. In this kitchen hutch‐style cabinets on the countertop solve this problem add to the aesthetic and create additional storage. This solution also cuts down on the clutter that can appear when there's too much counterspace outside of the main work triangle.This could either be seen as a broken U or an L‐shaped kitchen with an island. Technically I'd say it leans towards the latter but if you imagine that door on the left being cabinetry you can use this layout for inspiration for your own U‐shaped kitchen.Details like shaped cabinet doors niches for spices and oils and decorative lighting should all be considered while working on the design development and finish/fixture selection. Picking bar stools and tables and chairs for an eat‐in kitchen usually comes at the end but this is also important so don't just mail it in at this point. Think about adding patina and texture through vintage pieces if you can find them. And don't forget about items like decorative plate racks artwork and area rugs or runners. Small touches like this can add much character to a newly remodeled kitchen.Double‐dreamy: a U‐shaped kitchen with an island and a peninsula! I'm taking a little creative liberty here again since I'm not sure where the stove is. But this looks like a great way to for your guests to be in the kitchen and out of the way at the same time. A sleek and modern U‐shaped kitchen with a creative twist: The peninsula is part island/part kitchen table.The L‐shaped kitchen is by far the most popular layout these days. It's most often seen with an island so it's perfect for entertaining multiple‐chef cooking or for making dinner while the kids sit at the island and get help with their homework. The adaptability of this layout is what makes it so desirable. Whereas a galley or U‐shaped kitchen can work in the smallest of spaces you often need a bit more room for an L‐shaped kitchen with an island. This layout has the most amount of variations by far and works with any style whether a kitchen is modern traditional or somewhere in between.Wood counters naturally also work well in spaces that already feature wood cabinets – that is if you’re a true wood lover and don’t mind it dominating the palette. Notice in several of these examples how wood only dresses the island counters. Wood in general is an excellent material to use for an accent counter (often on an island or a small "chopping zone" in butcher block) contrasting with nearby stone or solid‐surface counters in a pleasing way.Matching the floor stain color is one of the most challenging phases of a project. If you've got original floors and plan to refinish just the kitchen – or are laying new wood floors to match the old for continuity – don't expect a perfect match. Many floors in old homes are made of old‐growth wood and flooring is manufactured differently now. The natural patina of an old floor also is nearly impossible to match. Companies offering reclaimed wood floors can make that matching process easier.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".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.Concrete Kitchen Counters. Pigments stains and dyes can create concrete counters with color and visual texture. With the right sealer a concrete counter can be well worth its cost – at least $100 to $150 per square foot installed.Engineered Quartz Kitchen Counters. Perfect for the customized home engineered quartz comes in just about every shade imaginable. This engineered product combines ground quartz resin and pigments for a tough nonporous material. Great ecofriendly attributes makes it a safe bet for green homes too. Get ready to pay up though since costs range from $95 to $105 per square foot installed.Zinc Kitchen Counters. You don't see zinc countertops in many modern kitchens but this metal has a warmth that has made it popular for centuries. Zinc's tone darkens with time adding patina. Its antimicrobial properties make it a smart choice for a cooking space. This beautiful material typically costs $100 and up per square foot installed.Here’s one solution to that aforementioned seating problem in U‐shaped kitchens: This terrific bench seating allows for that coveted kitchen table. On the minus side there is no casual counter seating.Older homes with smaller kitchens sometimes have the refrigerator inside the "U" but that really eats into the counter space. Most often you’ll see a U‐shaped kitchen with the refrigerator on the adjacent wall right outside the "U" which is fine. It’s still within the work triangle. One signature of the U‐shaped kitchen is the peninsula. In this case it doesn’t have seating due to the passageway between rooms. The lack of kitchen seating is often the reason people prefer the L‐shaped kitchen with an island to the U‐shaped kitchen.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.Recycled Paper‐Based Kitchen Counters. Recycled paper sounds like the worst possible material for a kitchen countertop but this ecofriendly choice has surprising durability. When blended with resins and pigments it has the look and feel of soapstone – but at $40 to $80 per square foot installed it's a fraction of the cost.Flecked or Softly Veined White. One of the most common and coveted countertop finishes is a stone or manufactured slab material such as quartz in a white or off‐white shade with a light multitonal fleck or grain to give it subtle natural richness. This snowy sparkling look works well in many situations since it is very neutral but also contemporary and fresh. The pale tone brings a sense of cleanness and lightness to the space with a twist of subtle sophistication. In more traditional kitchens this is usually a better choice than a true minimalist white countertop which can be too severe and fight with the elegance of other elements such as knotty woods Shaker cabinets or lantern pendant lights.Assign dedicated storage areas. Kitchen clutter can easily accrue so it makes sense to assign different cupboards a specific purpose and stick to it. And dedicate a few minutes every couple of weeks to returning stray plastic lids or pot covers to their homes and sweeping out spilled spices and coffee grounds – it really will make a difference in how pleasurable (and easy) your kitchen is to use day to day.Ecofriendly Kitchen Counters. A little research is really all that's required today to make your new kitchen ecofriendly. The wide variety of material styles and costs – from salvaged wood to Bio‐Glass to bamboo (shown in this photo) – means you can find just the right green countertop material for your home.Organize inside. It may sound like a no‐brainer but often what makes a kitchen big or small organized is how we arrange the insides of our cupboards. Shelf and drawer dividers hooks racks and other storage devices are key to keeping order. Consider what works for you and go custom if you can. Are you a Mason jar and Tupperware kind of person? Do you prefer mugs on hooks shelves or in drawers? Storage is often about personal preference. Here the slim slots for chopping boards and placemats are a brilliant idea as is the slim pullout spice rack.Plastic Laminate Kitchen Counters. Although it’s sometimes scoffed at by stone lovers plastic laminate still has a serious fan base. The wide range of customizable edges and finishes means it can work in any design. At $8 to $20 per square foot installed its affordable price makes it a winner for many. However it’s not the most durable of countertops so it may not be best for heavy‐duty cooks.Be clever with your cabinets. Use every spare inch in a small kitchen by building recessed shelves where feasible. Here they surround an integrated refrigerator. With this design solution wall space that’s too skinny or awkwardly shaped for extra cabinets can still be used to hold frequently used items. In this kitchen it also helps open up the room and leads the eye to an appealing feature. The other clever feature in this kitchen is the cookbook niche above the door – another neat storage trick that doesn’t take up too much room. Ask a builder if one can be carved out from an existing wall.Soapstone Kitchen Counters. Often used in laboratories for its resistance to stains chemicals and bacteria soapstone is a durable and natural choice for a kitchen. At $80 to $100 per square foot installed it might be on the more expensive side but it can be a lifetime investment.Gather and display. This cute kitchen demonstrates how you can be organized and chic at the same time. A charming crock to hold wooden spoons a wall‐mounted crate or two to provide a home for vintage‐style scales and jugs a small wall‐mounted spice rack – they all add a pretty touch as well as having a practical function.Dark counters in tones such as black or charcoal can appear very gothic in some situations and perfectly harmonious in others. If you have dark cabinetry dark floors or other rich and weighty finishes a dark countertop will fit right in. In this example you can see that the white counter is the one that pops compared with the island counter which almost blends into the deep wood drawer fronts. If you’re going for a dark‐on‐dark palette it helps to have lots of light sources natural or added (or both). This will keep the space feeling cozy and sophisticated instead of just cave‐like.Copper Kitchen Counters. It certainly isn't common but a copper countertop is surprisingly easy to clean and maintain. However it's not for perfectionists – since it's a "living" surface it reacts to different substances creating a blend of matte reds browns and greens. But for those who love the look the minimum $100‐per‐square‐foot cost is worth it.Island. No matter how modestly sized an island can provide invaluable space for working serving and storing. I recently interviewed a designer who advised that we take the recommended dimensions and clearances with a grain of salt as they tend to work only for mansions and in Fantasyland. As long as you’re not bruising a hip every time you round the island you have enough space.Corner of windows. This one may take some sacrifice – you’ll have to stash seldom‐used items in storage and purge those you don’t really need. In return your kitchen will expand and feel so much less cramped thanks to your new views and all that wonderful natural light.The layering and mixing of finishes in this kitchen give it an old‐world charm. Note the glazed blue‐gray island and its relationship to the pendant above. The choices for a mahogany‐tone wood countertop dark trim around the windows and a custom hood surround in particular were all made during the process of designing this kitchen and impact the overall finished look and style.A dark richly veined stone can actually feel less dramatic when paired with dark cabinets. Whether you use espresso wood or a modern painted gray as shown in the previous photo coordinating a base tone in the stone with one of a similar darkness or lightness in the cabinets will help the two connect.Soft gray countertops and other midtone shades such as beiges or rich creams are the most neutral counter options. In this kitchen with creamy off‐white cabinets and golden yellow undertones in the backsplash and wood the dreamy creamy counters add to a harmonious peaceful look perfect for friendly family breakfasts. Softly flecked gray stone has a look similar to concrete and it works perfectly in contemporary spaces with a bit of an architectural bent. It has the advantage of hiding the occasional spot while still looking clean and tidy and not too dark or busy. It’s great if you don’t always have a perfectly organized space but still want a put‐together look.Granite Kitchen Counters. There are plenty of reasons granite counters are so popular – this natural stone has plenty of character with unique grains colors and customizable finishes. When properly sealed it’s one of the most durable options out there. While it can cost as low as $50 per square foot installed prices can go up quickly with more exotic slabs and difficult installations.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.If you're limited on space and storage in your L‐shaped kitchen adding a pot rack frees up space in a base cabinet. In its grandest expression the L‐shaped kitchen has a large island main sink on one wall range on the other and prep sink in the island. This creates at least two overlapping work triangles allowing for multiple cooks to work at the same time. Guest seating at the island creates a "kitchen as theater" feel. Even in some smaller spaces you can fit a L‐shaped kitchen small island and prep sink. No seating at this island but I'm sure having that extra sink more than makes up for it in the cook's eyes!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.Tile Kitchen Counters. One of the more affordable counter choices (starting at $30 per square foot installed) ceramic or stone tile is incredibly durable and one of the few DIY countertop options. Maintenance can be difficult with all that grout but choosing a durable and dark grout can make things easier.Colorful appliances. We often read (or in my case write) that making everything glossy white and glass bounces the light around and keeps a small space looking seamless and thus larger. But the truth is those spaces can be a real yawn sometimes. Trust me visitors do not notice how small this kitchen is;; they remember the cheerful aqua refrigerator. Eye‐catching vent hood.Eat‐in area. Your idea of an eat‐in kitchen may be a table that seats a party of eight. You may be overlooking the fact that you have room for a cafe table a small counter or even a flip‐down bar top.Displayed collections. As long as there’s a place for everything and everything is in its place there’s no reason not to keep your favorite items on full display. Pot racks plate racks a few open shelves and a glass‐front cabinet let these homeowners enjoy their copper cookware silver and china from the kitchen table which takes up most of the room in this charming kitchen.Artwork. In a galley kitchen giving the eye a beautiful place to rest at the end distracts from the narrowness of the space. These are vintage prints of seaweed which bring a coastal texture indoors. Spend a few minutes browsing through the thousands of kitchens showcased and you will quickly see they come in all shapes sizes styles and colors. Colorwise they can run the gamut from eye catching bold and bright to light tranquil and airy. Featured here are some of the many delightfully colorful kitchens along with examples of color palettes inspired by the kitchens.A wall‐mounted rack like this one keeps things orderly without swallowing too much space. Buy decent knives if you can afford it as they should last a lifetime. One advantage of a magnetic rack is that you can slowly build up your collection of knives buying one at a time rather than having to invest in one large block complete with knives which can be pricey. If you’re starting from scratch a bread knife paring knife and chef’s knife are essential.Warm wood with its inviting air and natural richness is a great choice for infusing a cool breezy kitchen with some approachable character. Crisp white kitchens feel a little more "homey" and a little less austere with a wood countertop. It makes a popular choice for transitional kitchens that balance traditional and contemporary elements especially since classic wood fits into both categories.Marble Kitchen Counters. Marble has an unrivaled classic look that always seems to be in style. For lovers of white kitchens in particular a marble counter offers more variety than almost any other material. Marble is known more for the patina it develops with use than for its durability. It’s a softer stone than granite and can scratch and stain easily;; the cost typically ranges from $70 to $100 per square foot installed.If you're doing tile or stone floors work on picking those materials at the same time as cabinets backsplash and countertops. The relationships among these materials is critical. It's tough to mix different types of stone and tile unless you want your kitchen to look like a showroom.