Even though I've been trying hard to convince people otherwise, here in Houston at least, granite countertops are still king. But if the dark, speckly stone leaves you cold, fear not! There are alternatives. Here are 8 of our favorites.
1. Butcher block.
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.
4. 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.
5. Stainless Steel.
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.
Concrete countertops have a lovely, raw elegance: you get the movement and natural feel of stone, with the industrial edge of stainless. They can be poured in any thickness you like, which can make for some really nice edge details. And if you're especially handy, you can even pour and install your concrete countertops yourself. Find out everything you need to know about concrete countertops here.
If you thought tile countertops were only for bohemians and people stuck in the 80s, let this stylish kitchen prove you wrong. Personally, I think tile countertops, especially white ones, can have a certain timelessness.
This is something I've never seen before but find really appealing: a backsplash and countertop made with penny tiles. The curved transition between the backsplash and countertop is a nice detail. Go for dark grout unless you want to be constantly scrubbing.
Read more about the pros and cons of tile countertops here.
Granite as an alternative to granite? No, not a joke. Although what most of us think of when we think of granite is the speckly gray or brown stuff, granite actually comes in lots of different colors and variations, including "pure white," which looks a lot like marble.
Granite also comes in almost-black varities. And if you hate the shiny look of most granites, try a leathered finish.
What do you think? Do any of these alternative sway you? Or do you remain a granite die-hard?