Ever noticed that people gather in the kitchen during a party? Showcase your gathering space with practical and stylish modern-day countertops. Open counter space and great task lighting are the top trends in kitchen design for 2018.
There are lots of articles on finding the right lighting, but the countertop trends need some closer study. After all, you will be cooking, cleaning and eating on top of them for many years to come. How do you find the best surface for all your planned tasks?
The bigger question is how do you sort through all the choices for a timeless and durable kitchen countertop?
Countertop Trends in 2018
So. Many. Choices.
There’s marble, a favorite since the Greeks gave us Aphrodite rising from the sea. There is tile, a favorite since Roman times. There are durable granites from all over the world. And now the rising star, quartz.
Kitchen trends are leaning towards clean and modern lines. The oversized show kitchen with a huge island is now scaling to a more personal size. That doesn’t mean fewer countertops, but it does mean that designers are paying attention to island width and scale.
Trending colors in 2018 are classic bright whites and gray accented with pops of color in cabinetry, walls or accessories. The stark black and dark browns of the mid-1990s – 2000 are showing their age. New age materials such as concrete, glass, and resin are making an appearance.
Types of Countertops
There are many types of kitchen countertops. Depending on your aesthetic and budget, one of them is for you. Each material has its particular pros and cons, including price.
Granite countertops have reigned supreme in high-end kitchens for the past decade. They are scratch resistant, heat resistant, hard, and come in a variety of natural colors.
Granite is a composite stone of quartz, mica, and feldspar. Each natural countertop is unique. Disadvantages? Hard granite is unforgiving if you drop a dish, never mind cutting on the surface in a pinch. Your knives will dull very quickly if the edge touches the granite.
Granite, like other natural stone surfaces, should be polished and sealed regularly. Although granite is one of the hardest surfaces, it can chip. Unfortunately, chips in granite are difficult to repair invisibly.
Another high-end favorite, marble is a kitchen classic. It’s natural colors add a certain warmth to many designs, from Early American to modern. Unfortunately, marble is soft and porous. Marble is susceptible to etching, stains, and chips.
Marble requires regular sealing and polishing to maintain its gleaming shine. Small chips and scratches can be buffed out fairly easily, although stains and burns may be more difficult to eradicate.
Slick gray or black countertops made from soapstone are a popular choice for chefs around the world. The soft, slick surface is white-veined and blends in with rustic and contemporary looks. The look is a lower cost alternative to darker granites.
Soapstone is soft. You have to be very careful to avoid scratches and chips.
Trendy pour in place concrete countertops is all the rage. Since these are custom-poured, you can personalize them by adding unique stones and shells, mosaic tile or glass. Concrete is sturdy and heat resistant.
Concrete is also heavy, cracks easily, and highly porous. It must be mixed correctly and in the correct proportions. Otherwise crumbling, pitting and mineral efflorescence may happen.
It stains easily and must be sealed regularly. Concrete also requires a long cure. Your countertop starts quite soft but will cure over several months to its final hardness.
Industrial stainless steel is the only choice in a commercial kitchen, but its look in a home is cold and clinical. Stainless steel appliances and hardware can be used in a home kitchen with good effect, but it’s best to skip a full countertop.
Laminates and Composites
Inexpensive laminates allow quick changes in color and style. They are made of a plastic resin bonded with paper. They do not withstand heat, they cut and scratch easily, and they discolor. For longest lasting wear, skip them.
Composites like Corian are a blend of acrylics and polyesters. They come in both wild and natural looks. Composites are easy to clean, non-porous and stain-resistant. However, they are vulnerable to heat and scratching.
The #1 look of 2018 countertop trends is quartz. Quartz is an engineered stone created from 95% ground quartz sand and 5% polymer resin. There are some naturally quarried slabs, but for the most part, quartz countertops are made to order.
Quartz countertops are the most durable stone available. They are non-porous, stain-resistant and come in a rainbow of colors and styles. They are heat resistant, although they can warp with extreme temperatures. Chips and scratches are rare but can be fixed with special equipment.
Countertop Color Trends
For 2018, the look is bold. Rich, saturated colors and deep veining are the dramatic looks for countertops. Instead of choosing the most inconspicuous stone possible, the 2018 trend is neutral walls and floors with the countertop forming the focal point in the room.
So instead of a matte black or gray stone, try a pearl white with a metallic fleck, a cigar brown or even stone with deep blue veining. Consider the seamless look of an integrated sink to further highlight your stone choice.
Choose your countertop for contrast. A deep cabinet color needs the brightest countertop possible to make the woodwork pop.
Bullnose, Squared or Beveled
You also have many choices regarding the finished edges of your countertop. For the most part, people don’t think about what type of countertop edge, but it makes a big difference when the counter surface is the focal point of the room.
Edges are a finishing detail that separates a luxury installation form a standard big box store one. Several styles are popular, choose the one most harmonious with your design.
Here are some of the most common types:
The squared edge works in almost all design styles. Kerfed edges instead of sharp are preferred. If sharpened to a point, they would be prone to chipping and accidental cuts. The slightly softened corner kerfs make the edges safer.
This is the simplest finish to cut. It’s straight 90-degree edges all around. Keep in mind that a truly straight and sharp edge risks injury. This edge gives your kitchen a modern, streamlined look in 2018.
This countertop edge is rounded from top to bottom. It is the safest for children and those prone to bumps, as the edge curves into the cabinetry below. This is also it’s greatest downfall, as all drips and spills are directed onto your wood.
The bullnose is a classic that never really goes out of style. It takes out all the angles and replaces them with a single round. The semi-circular edge profile is versatile enough to blend unobtrusively into modern and contemporary designs. The rounded design is more resistant to chips than the straight edge.
This edge is a redirects spills and drips away from the cabinetry, directly to the floor. It retains the curved profile of the bullnose on top but sharply angles to a point on the bottom. It resembles quarter-round trim.
Bullnose and demi-bullnose dominated countertop design for many years, but are now slightly less popular in contemporary designs.
A contemporary look for 2018 is a squared edge with slightly rounded corners. This is also known as an eased edge. It is an excellent compromise between the sleek, but easy to chip 90-degree angles of the squared edge and the slightly old-fashioned bullnose look.
The more rounded top edge makes the eased edge more comfortable to bump into, for those prone to frequent collisions. Like the squared edge, spills are directed to the floor, not the cabinets and there are no dirt-catching crevices to worry about.
The close cousin to the eased edge, the trending look for 2018 is the simple pencil round edge. It has a soft edge with a subtle curve. The slight lip keeps spills at bay without sacrificing style.
Counter leaners find the edge to be more forgiving than straight edges, without the dated look of some of the fussier profiles. Pencil round is easy to clean and the curve does not collect dirt.
This edge features flattened corners at 45-degree angles. The bottom comes to a point, which means drips go straight to the floor instead of down your cabinet fronts. Watch out for chips, though. The thinner edge can be prone to bumps and knocks.
The beveled edge is easy to clean. The top edge is cut at a 45-degree angle to slope downward much like the table of a cut diamond. It brings focus to the countertop because light reflects off the edge at a different angle than the surface, similar to a gem.
Beveled edges continue to be popular with contemporary designers.
Mitered edges give the illusion of a thicker slab without the weight. This edge is created from two pieces. The standard-thickness countertop is wrapped with a thicker frame around the sides.
Mitered edges can add a rich look to less expensive installations for a fraction of the cost. These are a very popular choice, especially with heavy granite.
Fancy Cuts (Ogee, French Cove and DuPont)
The Ogee, French Cove, and DuPont cuts are all multi-curve edges that draw attention to the countertop. They are dramatic and definitely recall luxurious living. Their curving flairs contrast with stark modernity.
If you want your countertop to stand out as the centerpiece of the kitchen, these edges give your counter a “pop”. Show restraint in other areas, as these cuts can look fussy and dated with other over-the-top kitchen design elements.
Cleaning the fancy cuts takes a little more patience, as a sponge will tend to push dirt into the crevices. Patience and a plastic tool will keep the cuts clean.
Also trending in 2018 is the updated kitchen island. These multifunctional work/eat/study/play spots continue to their popularity. Designers are showing islands with harmonizing, not necessarily matching finishes.
For example, a uniform gray surrounding countertop with a white kitchen island. Integrate the sink into the island top and you have a perfect prep-station that stands out like a jewel in the middle of the kitchen. Other ways to set the island apart? Use a different edge treatment or go for a deeper cabinet color!
Size matters. The oversized and overwhelming islands of a few years ago are reducing to a human scale. Thoughtfully consider the activities planned for the island and build in your storage. Islands so big you have to scramble onto the top to clean them are thankfully less popular.
Consult Your Kitchen Designer
All the countertop trends of 2018 stress practicality and durability. Only you know how you live, so consult with a knowledgeable designer to make your kitchen come to life. A stone countertop can last a lifetime, so it is best to find the right design to make you happy now and in the future.
Bold color or elegant neutral, the trend for 2018 is visual impact. Countertops are the focal point of the kitchen instead of taking a backseat to floors and walls. Choose dramatic veining or deep colors for natural looks, subtle metallic flakes and shine in neutrals.
Edge treatments add a subtle impact to your countertop. With all eyes drawn to your counters, choose a clean and contemporary look that fits with your lifestyle. The simple squared off look is chic, with the pencil round edge coming in close second.
All the Options in One Place
International Granite and Stone offers free in-home consultations. Our experts can advise you about countertop trends, backsplash, plumbing, led lighting, and your whole project. Contact us today!