Even though I've been trying hard to convince people otherwise, granite countertops are still king. But if the dark, speckly stone leaves you cold, fear not! There are alternatives. Here are eight of our favorites.
Gets my vote for The Next Big Thing. It's much cheaper than marble or granite, and it lends a nice warmth to kitchens with white cabinets. You can even buy it at IKEA! The downside is that it can stain, and you'll need to use a trivet with hot pots so they don't burn the counter. Regular oiling can help keep your butcher block countertops in tip-top shape. Read more about butcher block countertops here.
Pros: Gorgeous. Can be cheaper than granite. Big Con: Super high-maintenance. Marble, since it's softer and more porous than granite, can stain or etch very easily. But if you love the look, it may be worth it to you to be super vigilant about cleaning up red wine and lemon juice.
Faith, our Kitchn editor, put a lot of thought into her choice of marble countertops for her new kitchen. You can read her list of pros and cons and other marble-related considerations here.
This dark stone with light veining has a beautiful, old-world feel. Easier to maintain than marble (although still higher maintenance than granite). Want to learn more about soapstone? You can read an interview with a homeowner with soapstone countertops here.
Engineered stone (or Quartz).
Engineered stone countertops, like Cesarstone and Silestone, are made of little bits of quartz mixed with a binder and then molded into countertop shapes. The result is something that looks like stone and is super-durable. If you like the look but not the maintenance of marble, this might be good choice for you. Quartz countertops are also a good choice if you're going for a very minimal look, as there are options that are pure white or pure black, with no veining. The downside: engineered stone is one of the more expensive countertop options. Read more about quartz countertops here.
Stainless steel is durable, easy to clean, and has a nice industrial-modern feel. The downside? Stainless steel countertops can be pretty pricey. Read more about stainless countertops (and see more stainless countertop inspiration) here.