Granite and Marble Countertop in the Kitchen.
In a well-designed kitchen, prep space is key. The countertop often stands out simply because it covers so much space, especially as the kitchen becomes a primary living area, and islands become the norm.
“We know the countertop and island are playing a much more prominent role in kitchen design. And now everything starts with the stone or marble countertop,”. Says Nick Harris, v.p. of marketing at Caesarstone U.S. in Northridge, CA.
“Designers are working with homeowners to make sure the workspace is visually appealing. But also utilized to its fullest potential. Simply put, the goal for today’s kitchen is form and function, with sleek, orderly and multi-purpose living spaces,” says Mar Esteve, director of marketing for Neolith by TheSize, headquartered in Almazora, Spain.
Because surfaces are so prominent, there is great demand for variety, and the field has never been wider. Manufacturers are creating new colours, patterns and even new materials that allow homeowners to personalize their space with surfaces that perfectly suit their desired style.
Aesthetically, neutral tones are on top. The look of natural materials – stone or wood – is often a top priority. Finishes are trending toward a textured, matte appearance rather than high-gloss, shiny surfaces. At the same time, designers are getting creative with mixing and matching materials to give the space a unique flair. Creative edging choices, such as waterfall edges that reach from stone or marble countertop to floor, are also on the rise.
NATURAL AND NEUTRAL
The kitchen’s large and growing expanse of countertop space has many designers and homeowners looking to blend these surfaces seamlessly into the overall design rather than drawing too much attention to themselves. This creates a trend toward neutral tones and lends itself well to the earthy colours of natural stone or wood.
A pull toward the natural world is not only prompting designers to lean toward materials that have the appearance of natural stone or wood, but also to mimic the way that elements flow in nature. The waterfall edge on a kitchen island presents surfacing material in a clean, continuous line from the top of the counter to the floor, much like water cascading off a mountainside.
“Waterfall islands are a big trend in the design industry,” says Massimo Ballucchi, marketing director at Stafford, TX-based Cosentino North America.The increase of square footage in kitchens has allowed for these spaces to include islands and additional surface space.
Becker says, “Kitchens are increasingly becoming the showpiece of the house. And we’ve seen an uptick of islands becoming the central point of the design. Designers are using this as an opportunity to experiment with waterfall edges, extra-large seamless surfaces and using different materials. Including colours and textures, in the same space.”
LESS SHINE, MORE TEXTURE
Regardless of material choice, matte finishes and increased texture are increasingly being chosen for surface finish. “Textures are becoming more popular in both engineered and natural materials. Ranging from a matte or honed finish to a textured or leathered finish,” Congress states.
Becker agrees: “Leather- and matte-type finishes have become increasingly popular throughout the last year. And will continue to grow in 2018.”
This trend is consistent across a range of materials. “Texture is slowly moving from ‘look at me’ glossy on stones to matte with subtle textures for stones” adds Chmiel. “Honed or slate looks for stone remain popular,” she adds.
MARBLE COUNTERTOP? GRANITE? QUARTZ?
There are many factors to consider when choosing which material to use in a countertop. Design and colour are the first considerations, says Mays. Then homeowners are looking at durability and how easy the surface is to clean and sanitize.
“When you consider all of these needs, it’s clear why quartz and laminate are the materials that are leading the market,” she states.
“Quartz has that natural stone look and feel, as well as the easy cleanup and scratch and stain resistance, so it has been a big draw for homeowners.
But we’re also seeing laminate as an in-demand material. Homeowners are drawn to laminate because of its lower price point, and with advanced printing technology, today’s designs can also provide that natural, neutral style that’s been trending.”
Kath sees quartz continuing to grow more and more among those who can really afford it. With consumers able to research and easily learn what options exist, and what’s best for their lifestyle, they tend to choose quartz because of its beautiful appearance without the worry.