Black Granite Countertop with Small Islandby Dan Fritschen

If you’re smart about it, replacing your kitchen countertop can be an inexpensive part of your home remodeling job. The cost of buying the materials and carrying out the work can be as little as $600 depending on the size of your workspace to as much as $6,000 using more exotic countertop materials.

The material you choose needs great consideration, as whatever you pick for your kitchen will greatly influence the look and feel of the whole space. This is especially important if you have an open plan space where your kitchen decor has to fit into a larger theme throughout your home. More and more of the materials which were traditionally used in the kitchen are even finding their way into the bathroom including granite, marble, stainless steel and limestone – creating a thematic harmony in the interior decor of your home. Do you see your kitchen as a standalone, unique space? Or as a component of a larger design?

Apart from the traditional countertop materials, more adventurous homeowner may want to try out new materials. Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular choice; quartz is tough, easy to clean and environmentally friendly. Recycled glass not only offers one of the most attractive countertop materials but is also a more environmentally friendly choice. This material is beautiful and also offers a long life expectancy – longer than many other materials. Recycled glass is easy to care for – however, this may not be suitable for the more budget-conscious home owner.

Cork is another material that’s environmentally friendly; it’s also dense, lightweight and sturdy. One unique property that should make cork attractive to mothers with young kids is the noise reduction properties! Cork is certainly a great asset in the kitchen because it comes with an antibacterial property – perfect for homes with young children.

Of course, you don’t need to use just one type of material throughout your kitchen. For example, if you decide you want a kitchen island, you could choose a dark wood as opposed to a granite countertop. This would create a more intimate dining-table effect when everyone is gathered round it, making your kitchen a comfortable and relaxed social space as well as a food preparation area.

For more great kitchen design ideas, check out our Design Gallery for millions of design photos. And for help estimate your remodeling costs, try our free, easy to use kitchen remodel cost calculator.