What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when thinking about a modern kitchen design? Chances are you imagine an open floor plan with hardwood flooring and impressive countertops. You have every reason to picture a contemporary kitchen in this particular way, as the latest kitchen trends feature a transitional style and define the countertops as the focal point of the room. Therefore, it’s only natural that enhancing the practical and aesthetic value of kitchen countertops will play an essential role in the development of new kitchen design trends.
So, whether you are building a brand new home or just want to upgrade your existing kitchen décor, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the prevailing kitchen countertop trends for 2016 first. Only then will you be able to get up-to-speed with the latest materials, colors, and styles in kitchen design and to make sure that your investment will pay off in terms of comfort, appeal, and added value to your home.
Trendy Kitchen Countertop Materials
Your kitchen countertops should both reflect your personal style and accommodate your practical needs. Finding a durable, attractive, and easy-to-maintain surface that perfectly suits your requirements and preferences, however, should not be a problem – there is a great variety of options when it comes to countertop materials and designs.
Natural stones have been the preferred choice for kitchen countertops during the last several decades. Renowned for their unique beauty and great durability, natural stones make for an excellent work plot and add a lot of charm to the ambience.
- Granite is among the most popular countertop materials for 2016 because of its unparalleled beauty, great strength, and minimal maintenance requirements. Granite countertops come in a wide range of colors and unique patterns that can suit any kitchen design and personal taste.The durable, heat-resistant surface is very suitable for meal preparation and daily use, not to mention its great aesthetic appeal. Granite countertops are not among the cheapest options for a kitchen remodeling project but when properly taken care of they can last a lifetime and can considerably increase the value of a home;
- Marble has always been a symbol of beauty, elegance, and high style, so marble countertops are still regarded as the classiest choice for a kitchen. Although this exquisite natural stone is softer than granite, marble surfaces are smooth and cool which makes them ideal for baking and rolling dough. However, marble can stain and scratch more easily than granite, so it needs better care and regular sealing to remain in excellent condition. Marble is one of the most expensive options for kitchen countertops;
- Soapstone countertops have also gained popularity in recent years due to their incredible durability and gorgeous look. Soapstone doesn’t come in a great variety of colors but it darkens over time to become more and more beautiful with each passing year. Soapstone surfaces are widely preferred in contemporary kitchens because they are easy to clean and successfully resist scratching. Unlike other natural stones, soapstone doesn’t absorb stains and doesn’t discolor, so it is practically timeless.
Engineered stone countertops are quickly catching up with granite and other natural stones in popularity. This comes as no surprise, as engineered quartz surfaces combine the elegant look of natural stones with increased durability and ease of maintenance. They are scratch- and stain-resistant, as well as heat-resistant, non-absorbent, and very hygienic (engineered stone countertops contain an antimicrobial product for increased protection against bacteria). What’s more, the color and finishing options are practically endless, giving homeowners the ability to choose a custom look that perfectly fits their personal taste. Engineered stone provides an eco-friendly, low-cost solution that can suit any needs and preferences, so the demand for engineered quartz countertops is steadily growing.
There are different types and brands of engineered stone countertops available on the market, but they are all actually composed of 93% quartz particles. The most popular brands, Caesarstone and Silestone, are extremely non-porous and can resist almost all spills and stains. Besides, they come in many fashionable and eye-catching styles, providing for a beautiful and modern-looking kitchen.
Butcher Block and Wood
Interest in wood countertops is currently increasing, as designers and kitchen remodelers are incorporating more and more wood elements in both transitional and modern kitchens. In fact, wood countertops are trending right behind quartz in 2016. They offer warm, timeless appeal and bring coziness and natural charm to the kitchen that is often missing in other modern materials. What’s more, the classic butcher block countertops easily blend with other components and designs, resulting in an aesthetically pleasing, high-end kitchen décor.
Wood surfaces are ideal for cutting, chopping, and other food preparation activities (any eventual scratches or burns can be easily repaired — all you need to do is sand them out and apply mineral oil).
Upscale laminate has a fashionable polished look that mimics the appearance of expensive modern materials, classic butcher blocks, or luxurious natural stones. It doesn’t have the durability and value of real high-quality materials but requires very little maintenance and costs just a fraction of the price of natural stones and solid surface countertops. So, even though laminate surfaces are not heat-resistant and are quite vulnerable to scratches and chips, laminate countertops will remain a very popular choice among homeowners in 2016.
Concrete can be custom cast to create impressive unique designs, so it has quickly become a hot trend in kitchen countertops. It can be ground, polished, or stained, and embedded with seashells or stones to fit any personal style or existing home decor.
Concrete closely resembles natural stone in its appearance and requires regular sealing. Precast counters come fully smoothed and polished, providing for a long-lasting gorgeous look and feel. Cracking, however, is a major concern.
Functional and non-porous, stainless steel is very durable and resilient to almost everything, including bacteria. It allows for custom-made countertops that work nicely in contemporary settings.
Not only do stainless steel countertops look extremely fashionable and modernistic, but they also make the kitchen look bigger because of their remarkable reflective properties. However, some homeowners find stainless steel very cold and harsh, lacking in richness, variety, and natural depth. Besides, stainless steel surfaces can be easily scratched and damaged, so they are not the best option for people who are rough and careless in their kitchen activities. On the other hand, stainless steel is resistant to heat and stains and requires very little maintenance. This great functionality, combined with the futuristic look and relatively low cost of stainless steel countertops, makes them very trendy.
Made from eco-friendly materials, such as fly ash or recycled paper, composite countertops are considered the safest and most hygienic surfaces for food preparation – they are free of VOCs, emit no radon gases, and inhibit bacteria growth. Besides, they can resist stains, scratches, and heat and come at affordable prices. So, it’s only logical that they are becoming more and more popular by the day. However, composite countertops lack the aesthetic appeal of natural materials and require special maintenance and regular sealing, so not everyone is willing to incorporate them in their kitchens.
Tiles are rather cheap and come in a wide range of colors and textures, so they can fit any kitchen style or design. In recent years, however, tiles have been used primarily for backsplashes and wall sections, not for countertops. Even though glazed ceramic tiles are resistant to heat, stains, scratches, and moisture, they are losing popularity as countertop surfaces. Partly, this is due to the fact that tiles are a little more high maintenance than other countertop surfaces – they can chip or crack pretty easily and the grout requires regular cleaning in order to avoid stains and mildew.
The emphasis in 2016 is on sleek and seamless countertops, so kitchen remodeling may include mosaics and hand-painted tiles to brighten and liven up the kitchen, but will probably not involve tile countertops.
New trends in kitchen countertops exclude solid surface countertops, glass tops, acrylic surfaces, and other previously popular materials.
Trendy Kitchen Countertop Colors
To ensure the fashionable look of your kitchen, you need to pay attention to the prevailing kitchen color trends as well. Contemporary homeowners prefer sleek and clean kitchen decors, so the popular color palettes for kitchen countertops in 2016 feature a lot of neutral tones — tawny, gray, black, and white. A black countertop in a white kitchen, however, remains the most widely preferred combination, as it makes a strong statement of starkness and utility that appeals to both modern and classic tastes.
Trendy Kitchen Countertop Designs
New trends in kitchens focus on sleekness and elegant simplicity. Open floor plans and transitional style kitchens have become the standard for contemporary homes. This design makes kitchen islands a must-have element. In fact, the trend is for two kitchen islands (back-to-back or side-to-side) for the purpose of creating dual work zones. A floating kitchen island is another interesting option.
When choosing a new kitchen island, make sure its countertop matches the rest of the kitchen countertops for a seamless design. Have in mind that the trend is for thin curvy countertops with rich texture.
One last fact you need to consider when remodeling your kitchen: In 2016, the tendency is for kitchens to also serve as home offices, so charging stations, LED televisions, and convenience appliances should also be incorporated in the contemporary kitchen design. Actually, it is a kitchen island with a durable countertop can be most easily converted for office use because of its versatility, mobility, and storage capacity.
Installing new countertops or remodeling your old ones is a laborious and expensive project. So, it’s a good idea to get fully informed about the latest trends in kitchen countertops before making any final decisions. Of course, your choice will be determined by your own personal needs and preferences but the above helpful insights into what most home builders and homeowners are prioritizing in their kitchens in 2016 may give you some good ideas to use when creating your own dream kitchen décor.