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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.