These days there are countless materials available for kitchen bench tops. From stone to laminex to concrete and so on. But instead of giving you the pros and cons of each material let’s break down six popular colour families so you can achieve the look you want with the material that suits your needs.
1. Flecked or Softly Veined White Benchtops
One of the most common and coveted benchtop finishes is a stone or manufactured slab material, such as quartz, in a white or off-white shade with a light multi-tonal fleck or grain to give it subtle natural richness. Snowy, sparkling looks work well in many situations as 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. In more traditional kitchens, this is usually a better choice than a true minimalist white benchtop, which can be too severe and fight with the elegance of other elements, such as knotty timbers,and shaker cabinets. Softly flecked or grainy whites also work well paired with brass accents. Again, the subtle richness holds its own without fighting for attention and keeps the benchtop from feeling too austere – great for a dining island where you want people to actually feel comfortable.
Flecked or softly veined white benchtops are good for you if:
- You have a traditional or transitional interior.
- You want the space to look big and light without feeling clinical.
- You want white benchtops but don’t want every crumb and speck of dust to show.
2. Pure White Benchtops
Pure white benchtops are generally only available in manufactured materials such as corian or ceaserstone, These benchtops bring a contemporary, minimalist freshness that no natural stone can match. Luckily, these materials resist stains well, so they can stay a crisp white for years with just a little care. This stark look works well in contemporary spaces. The severity of a true white can sometimes fight with traditional decor, but in a modern space it feels appropriately crisp. It’s especially effective in small spaces, such as urban apartments paired with minimalist white cabinets to give the illusion of a bigger space. Other finishes, such as grainy timber cabinets, can benefit from a simple benchtop as a visual break.
Pure white benchtops are good for you if:
- You love crisp, modern style.
- You have a small space that you want to look as big as possible.
- You want to break up modern timber cabinets or other bold finishes.
- You love a nautical white-and-blue scheme.
3. Timber Benchtops
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 can feel a little more liveable and a tad less austere with timber benchtops. It makes a popular choice for transitional kitchens that balance traditional and contemporary elements, especially as classic timber fits into both categories. Wooden benchtops, naturally, also work well in spaces that already feature timber cabinets – that is, if you’re a true timber lover and don’t mind it dominating the palette. Wood in general is an excellent material to use for an accent benchtop (often on a kitchen island or a small chopping zone in the form of a butcher’s block), contrasting with nearby stone or solid-surface benchtops in a pleasing way. Lighter timbers tend to have more of a casual or rustic feel compared with dark-stained options. Light-stained or unstained woods can have a cottage-inspired feel or a Scandinavian vibe depending on whether you pair them with traditional or modern accoutrements. When mixing timber benchtops with other wood finishes, it’s often best to stick to either warm or cool tones across the board. Red-brown timbers are more traditional, while ashy and grey tones have been a popular trend in recent years. Whichever tones you prefer, they will be less likely to clash if you stick to one colour family or the other.
Timber benchtops are good for you if:
- You want an accent benchtop to contrast with other surfaces.
- Your white cabinets need a little warming up.
- You want your space to feel more approachable and intimate.
- You enjoy a dash of rustic charm.
- You can’t get enough of timber.
4. Dark or Black Benchtops
Dark benchtops, 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 benchtop will fit right in. If you’re going for a dark-on-dark palette, it helps to have lots of sources of light in your kitchen – natural, added or both. This will keep the space feeling cosy and sophisticated instead of cave-like. Because white can sometimes absorb and dampen nearby colours, a rich, dark benchtop is often the better choice to bring out subtle colours in painted cabinets, such as powder-blue. Choosing a dark grey rather than pure black will soften the look, so it’s usually preferable to stop at charcoal in most situations. If you have a kitchen with crisp white cabinets and little actual colour, or you have just a few small areas of benchtop, a dark or black stone brings some instant drama.
Dark or black benchtops are good for you if:
- You have dark cabinets and want the benchtops to blend in with them.
- You have colourful, fun cabinets, and you want the hue to really shine.
- You have a smoky mirrored backsplash, a trendy favourite in apartments and modern homes.
- You want to connect to other black elements in the space.
- You’re aiming to achieve a classic black-and-white kitchen scheme.
5. Mid-tone or Grey Benchtops
Soft-grey benchtops and other mid-tone shades, such as beiges or rich creams, are the most neutral benchtop options. Softly flecked grey stone can 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 organised space but still want a put-together look. Because grey is the most neutral hue around, it makes another excellent choice to pair with colourful cabinets, especially in a space with different or two-toned 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 mid-tone benchtop will bridge the very dark and very light elements and help them meet in the middle. Grey is also a beautiful tone to pair with warm metallic accents. If you love a brassy faucet or basin, a grey benchtop will bring out those warm tones so they really shine.
Mid-tone or grey benchtops are good for you if:
- You want a soft, friendly vibe with harmonising, muted tones.
- You have colourful cabinetry or multiple tones of cabinets mixed together.
- You have a black-and-white scheme that could use a little softening.
- You love warm metallic accents and want to show them off.
6. Dramatic Benchtops
Boldly veined stone benchtops 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. The size of your space will be a factor in determining just how dramatic a bold stone looks once it’s installed. 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 somewhat sedate. A dark, richly veined stone can actually feel less dramatic when paired with dark cabinets. Whether you use espresso-hued timber or a modern painted grey, coordinating a base tone in the stone with one of a similar darkness or lightness in the cabinets will help the two connect. 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.
Dramatic benchtops are good for you if:
- You have a large kitchen.
- You want the benchtops to be the primary statement.
- You have dark cabinets to offset a dark, moody stone.
- You can’t get enough visual drama.
Did you know Hurst Homes have an in house design expert that you consult with when designing your dream home? With over 29 years building experience, you can trust our team to guide you with your selections when building your dream home. Just another reason why we are Wagga’s best builder. Call or email a friendly member of our team today for a free building consultation, simply click up the top on our ‘Contact Us’ page.
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