Consider these popular colors and styles to get the look you want — no matter what material you use.
1. 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. 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.
2. Pure White
Pure white countertops bring a contemporary, minimalist freshness that no natural stone can match. White countertops are great for spaces that already have a great deal of bold character in the other finishes, such as grainy wood cabinets that can benefit from a super simple counter as a visual break.
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. Wood 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.
4. Dark or Black
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. 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. Because white can sometimes absorb and dampen nearby colors, a rich, dark countertop can actually be the better choice to bring out subtle colors in painted cabinets. Or, if you have a kitchen with crisp white cabinets and little actual color, or you have just a few small areas of counter, a dark or black stone brings some instant drama.
5. Midtone or Gray
Soft gray countertops and other midtone shades, such as beiges or rich creams, are the most neutral counter options. Because gray is the most neutral color around, it makes another excellent choice to pair with colorful cabinets, especially in a space with different cabinet finishes, as it can help tie light and dark cabinets together. If you have a black-and-white scheme, or espresso woods with white walls, and you want to soften the whole look a little, a midtone counter will bridge the very dark and very light elements so they meet in the middle.
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. Gray is also a beautiful tone to pair with warm metallic accents. If you love a brassy faucet or sink, a gray counter will bring out those warm tones so they really shine.
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 isn’t to say you can’t use a bold stone in a compact kitchen, just that it will feel even more dramatic in scale, meaning you probably will want to keep the other finishes very sedate. Ultimately, the only way to tell how a richly veined stone will look with your other elements is to bring home the largest sample you can or take samples of your other elements to the dealer to see what tones are strongest in the stone.
Houzz.com edited by YourVilla Magazine Staff