Kitchen Countertop Buying Guide

Consider function, style and budget when shopping for counters for your remodel

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Before you start shopping for kitchen countertops, make sure you have a well-thought-out plan for your kitchen renovation. Consider how long you plan on living in the home, as well as the cabinetry and fixtures you plan to use. You should also consider what types of upgrades are typical for similar homes in your area.

The kitchen is the hub of your hectic home, where you cook, entertain and relax—and your countertops must reflect this. These hardworking surfaces must suit your space, complement your style and meet your needs. Today's countertop choices are more varied and exciting than ever.

View Images of Kitchen Countertop Styles and Trends

Choosing Kitchen Countertops

Here's how to start the selection process:

Function First. Because every household is different, you won't find a one-size-fits-all material. Are you an enthusiastic chef who slices and dices five nights a week? Do you host cocktail parties at the bar area or serve family dinners around the island? Do your kids spill orange juice and smear jam most mornings? Rank the importance of factors such as durability, stain resistance and ease of maintenance.

Signature Style. Consider which surface you find appealing: the look, feel, texture and shades. Should it be warm or cool to the touch? How important are integrated sinks, seamless appearance and vibrant colors? Consider additional details, including thickness, overhang and edge options. You should love the end result.

Mix It Up. Each material offers unique strengths—from heat resistance to ease of cleaning. How can you ever choose just one? Maybe you shouldn't. Some homeowners find that mixing a variety of materials creates an ideal kitchen. Depending on your space and needs, for instance, you may want a stone-topped baking center and a butcher block island for chopping.

Establish Your Budget. This part isn't the most fun, but it's the only way to determine your options. Along with material costs, take into account any fees for delivery and installation, as well as any custom details such as edge treatments, integrated sinks and backsplashes.

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