Mixing and matching countertop styles is a popular trend with designers and homeowners alike. And for good reason! Choosing different countertop surfaces adds visual interest and that desirable custom touch to your kitchen. And it’s simple to do — with a little know-how, of course. Just like mixing and matching colors, fabrics, and textures in your decor, and cabinet styles and finishes, you want to follow the rules of good design to strike the perfect balance in your space.
The Rule of Threes
When it comes to decorating, three is the magic number. Odd numbered items are always visually more appealing, and anything more than three will just be overkill. With that said, when it comes to large items like your countertop surface, you may want to go with the less is more approach. If you want to be adventurous, go with three different surface materials but stick to a common hue, or at least a color that compliments your scheme. Or take the more conservative approach and select two completely different surfaces that enhance the overall look of your kitchen. For example, dark granite countertops below your cabinets, paired with a butcher-block top, in a natural finish, on a built-in kitchen island. Whatever you choose, they should be placed apart, but connect visually.
Practicality and Placement
In addition to good design, consider practicality and how your surfaces will function. Opt for durable, stain-and-moisture-resistant materials like stainless steel, quartz or granite next to the cooktop or sink, and accent with marble, wood, or tile in areas where you will be baking, or housing canisters and small appliances like your toaster or stand mixer. Kitchen islands are a great focal point in a kitchen, and the perfect place to showcase your style. A raised bar top with extra seating is also a great place to transition between countertop styles.
Always consider the color of your cabinets and floors first, and choose countertops that compliment both, and tie the two together. When using two separate surfaces, contrast is key. For a balanced look, pair dark perimeter countertops with a neutral or light island, or vice versa. For example, if you have white cabinets, you could opt for black granite with little variation, paired with a veiny white marble. And if you have dark cabinets, you could go with mottled quartz in light tones of brown, and pair that with a charcoal gray stainless steel. If you decide to go for three separate surfaces, keep two tone-on tone, and contrast with the third. For example, cool gray granite and stainless steel, paired with warm wood.
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Written by Tiffany. Tiffany honed her skills as a writer and editor working in the fast-paced newspaper, magazine, and television industries. Tiffany is also an award winning graphic designer, with extensive experience in the worlds of mass media, publishing, and advertising. As a designer, she also has a strong eye for interior decorating and color. Tiffany has a BA in Communications and a minor in Fine Art. She is a natural cook just like her mother, and rarely uses a recipe. She also enjoys reading, photography, painting—and most of all, spending time with her husband (a skilled DIY’er) and two sons.