The Modern Kitchen: 5 Countertops to Consider

The Modern Kitchen: 5 Countertops to Consider

Eleanor Büsing
Oct 19, 2015

Countertops can make or break a kitchen, not only in terms of their use and durability, but in how they look, feel, and mesh with the overall look of the space. Leaving aside the more practical considerations for a moment (head to our Ultimate Guide to Choosing Countertops if you want some quick pros and cons), I'm considering what feels truly modern in a kitchen these days.

Of course, what constitutes a "modern" material is open for (endless) discussion, and I can only give you my personal opinion. Currently, I'm all about a smooth but natural feel and uniformity of colour. That leaves plastic-y solid surfaces, heavily veined marble, and rustic butcher block—as much as I may like them—out of the running. Instead, take a gander at these five options, and share your suggestions in the comments below.

Paper Composite
Paper composite surfaces—as seen in the Dwell kitchen, above—like Paperstone and Richite have made waves in the market in recent years, and with good reason. The recycled paper fibers are combined with resin, resulting in a surface that is stain- and heat-resistant, easy to install, and has a smooth, matte finish.

(Image credit: Made A Mano)

Lava Stone
Lava stone may still be outrageously expensive (and only widely available in France, which of course contributes to that), but it's one to keep an eye out for. The enamelled volcanic stone is extremely durable and comes in a huge range of colors, which, in an otherwise neutral kitchen, feels fresh.

(Image credit: Design Skool)

This one's been around for awhile, but I still love the way soapstone's smooth, matte grey appearance toes the line between traditional and contemporary. It's not completely impervious to nicks, but will darken and develop a wonderful patina with age.

It doesn't matter how long this idea hangs around, concrete in a kitchen will always feel modern to me, thanks to its pared-back look and industrial connotations. These countertops do require maintenance and can stain easily, but for those who like a worn look, concrete is great.

La Maison d'Anna G. via ambiaiinterijeri

Stainless Steel

The chef's choice, good old stainless steel wins for its functionality, hygiene, and the glowing patina it develops with years of use. These days, I like a super-slim steel worktop, rather than the chunkier wrapped counters of the past.

What countertop materials are you loving lately?

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