Stainless steel for kitchen countertops? That’s quite a bold idea, we applaud you for thinking outside of the box! But if you’re really going to make this work, you’ll need a wicked kitchen design to go with it. In this short guide we’ve passed on some of our best ideas for styling your stainless steel kitchen, plus a few tips on choosing a finish and installing the countertop DIY or buying it prefab!
- Edgy Stainless Steel Kitchen Countertops
- Why Choose Steel for Your Countertop?
- Custom Stainless Steel Countertops
- DIY Stainless Steel Countertops
Edgy Stainless Steel Kitchen Countertops
Our one word to describe stainless steel kitchen countertops? Edgy. No matter which style you decide to decorate your kitchen in (examples below), it’s always got a modern, clean and refreshing edge that makes guests go “wow”!
White and Clean
Ah, a clean slate. This white, fresh kitchen design is our favorite for 2 reasons.
First, it makes small spaces feel larger. Whether you’ve got natural light or bright spotlights, that light is reflected and bounced around the room by the stainless steel. Add white accents and cabinets, and the whole effect is amplified.
Second, it’s very easy to make it your own. As you’re going to notice from our beautiful kitchen examples, stainless steel can often be very cold and professional. With white countertops and colorful accents from pot plants on the windowsill to bright painted pots and pans, you can really put your own stamp on it.
The only real downside is you need to keep it spotlessly clean! Brushed stainless steel will help hide scratches but it’s down to you to keep the steel polished and glowing.
Black and Sleek
Notice how the darkness is reflected back by the stainless steel countertop. We love how sleek this design is – it’s ideal as an apartment kitchen for bachelors or just anyone who wants a modern, sexy home décor scheme.
The key with a design like this is to keep it minimalist. Any clutter and the whole feel is ruined. Make sure you have plenty of cabinets with this design so everything can be tidied away! The darkness does hide finger prints well, but dirt, scratches and crumbs will really stand out.
A Pop of Color
A colorful kitchen can sometimes look too busy, especially when combined with stone countertops. But the silvery, reflective properties of stainless steel work wonderfully well with bright colors.
Take a look at the red combined with the stainless steel – it brightens the whole design and makes an affordable kitchen solution (plastic red cabinets) seem modern and edgy.
Why Choose Steel for Your Countertop?
It’s a bold choice, and one you might not have seen before. But stainless steel is actually an excellent choice for your kitchen.
Compared to stone, it’s far easier to clean and maintain, generally more modern, and a great worktop for cooking and eating off. Plus it can be far cheaper! You can find a brief DIY stainless steel countertop guide at the end of this article.
Let’s take a closer look at what stainless steel can do for your new kitchen design.
Stainless Steel Countertops: Pros and Cons
Like every countertop, there are pros and cons to choosing this material.
- Highly durable, will last for a lifetime or longer
- Non-porous so won’t be damaged by hot, cold or acidic liquids
- Won’t stain at all, unlike a stone countertop
- Stays cool during summer months and won’t transfer heat along the countertop, even when you place hot pans on it
- Very hard to damage and won’t chip
- Can’t be cut and shaped when installing DIY, so you’ll need to hire someone
- Seams are much harder to hide compared to natural stone countertops
- Can be as expensive as stone if you want a prefabricated stainless steel countertop
- Scratches easily (although these blend well into the countertop after a while)
- Can be quite noisy when you’re moving things around!
The Cost of Stainless Steel Countertops
Costs range from $50 to $100 per square foot – that price might not contain installation costs! Expect to pay more for stainless steel countertops with an extra finish too, like brushed, hammered or quilted patterns.
When you’re comparing stainless steel countertop prices, make sure you find out what exactly is included. Ideally, you want:
- Base material (hardwood) to support the stainless steel.
- Stainless steel countertop to the exact dimensions you need, shaped and ready to install.
- Delivery service, to get the countertop to your home.
- Installing the countertop (fixing and sealing seams, plus plumbing for the sink if required).
- Warranty in case there are any issues.
Where to Buy Stainless Steel Countertops
For prefab stainless steel countertops, you might find that your local hardware store will be able to recommend a supplier or your nearest general kitchen fitter will be able to provide a service.
For custom made, your best bet is to find a supplier or manufacturer online who specializes in stainless steel countertops. Whenever hiring online, make sure you do your research! A kitchen countertop is costly and needs to be fitted correctly or your kitchen will be unusable. Check review sites and ask what guarantees are included before hiring.
Custom Stainless Steel Countertops
Unlike stone, stainless steel can be manipulated into all kinds of custom countertop designs. Check out some of our favorites for inspiration here…
Prefab Stainless Steel Countertops
A great way to cut costs while still having a beautiful stainless steel countertop is to choose a prefabricated stainless steel countertop supplier. These may be repurposed from another kitchen (restaurant or home) or made from recycled stainless steel slabs.
Most countertops are 24 inches deep, from the wall to the edge, and are 1.5 inches thick. The length of the countertop can be cut or extended with additional sheets even with prefab stainless steel countertops.
Stainless steel kitchen islands are usually around 1 meter by 2 meters, but really they depend on the size and shape of your kitchen. Finding prefab stainless steel countertops that fit awkward shaped or sized countertops might not be easy.
Commercial Stainless Steel Countertops
Stainless steel can have a very professional vibe – the trick here is to combine the professionalism of a restaurant kitchen with the style and comfort of a home kitchen.
The last thing you want is a kitchen that looks like the one from your local take out place!
As you can see in the picture above, the key aspects you want to take from this are the large, spacious cabinets and overhead storage. Now, add a pop of color, windows and low hanging lights. Sliding cabinet doors are a nice touch, and you can either leave the top cabinets as open shelves, or add doors over them too.
The stainless steel here is classically shiny and bright, so you may want to use duller lights to prevent a blinding gleam.
Hammered Stainless Steel Countertops
Hammered stainless steel gives your countertops a texture, which is ideal if you want to contrast with other glass and shining materials in your kitchens. Not only would it stand out against white cupboards like in the image above, but it’s also a little easier to clean! No one will notice if it’s not polished to perfection every day.
Hammered stainless steel is not so great if you wanted to cut, chop and dice directly on the countertop as the rough texture can blunt blades. We definitely recommend it for kitchen islands, breakfast bars and tables, however. The bumpy texture stops plates sliding around if your kitchen floor isn’t quite level.
Brushed Stainless Steel Countertops
Brushed stainless steel counters have a subtle effect, almost with a mottled brush-stroke type appearance. This adds a dash of texture to your kitchen and can also turn bright reflections from the window into a dull glow. The texture of the countertop is still smooth, however!
We think that brushed steel goes well with more homely kitchens. It’s not as bright or demanding as plain stainless steel and gives the room a softer vibe.
Stainless Steel Sheets for Countertops
As we discovered, ordering one large pre fab stainless steel countertop sheet can be pricey! So, can you use individual sheets bolted together?
It’s certainly an interesting idea and something you might want to consider doing. Done properly, it looks sleek and elegant like a tiled wall… done unprofessionally and it looks like someone let Frankenstein loose in your kitchen.
Cleaned up, could you imagine a bolted design like this in your kitchen? It brings a lot of industrial character to your décor!
This is also a good idea if you want to save some money. Welding together smaller scraps of stainless steel will be cheaper and might even be something you can do yourself at home.
Stainless Steel Legs for Countertops
Bar stools, tables and even countertops can look very elegant yet exposed with stainless steel. It’s a very subtle way of bringing it into your kitchen and adding a modern vibe. It doesn’t have to take over your kitchen with industrialist minimalism, especially when you use it to hold up salvaged wood countertops or repurpose vintage or broken furniture.
Stainless steel legs for countertops is a great way of fusing the new with the old in your kitchen to create something marvelous.
You can purchase furniture with stainless steel legs easily online, but for something truly unique we suggest going DIY! Find stainless steel legs and fuse them to furniture you love – black is a classic but bright color work well with the silver metal color without looking cheap.
DIY Stainless Steel Countertops
With the high cost of stainless-steel counters, the thought of turning it into a DIY job is definitely intriguing… but is it possible?
The answer is yes, stainless steel countertops DIY fashion is a real thing. What might surprise you, however, is that it’s actually not that easy.
You could carve a soapstone countertop for your kitchen or bathroom easier than you could a stainless steel countertop. But, if you enjoy a challenge, it’s certainly worth a go.
Installing Stainless Steel Countertops
Let’s be clear here. You can create a template and install a stainless steel countertop yourself… but cutting it? That’s not something the average joe can do.
So, your first step to creating a beautiful stainless steel kitchen countertop like the one above, is to find a metal fabrication company who can cut the stainless steel into the right shape for you.
Contact them via the phone or email (it’s not a good idea to just rock up to the factory unannounced!) and get a quote. You might be able to shop around a little bit for a good quote.
They’ll cut and shape the stainless steel into a flat surface or box-like shape with edges, around the template you create.
The cheapest material to create a template from is a light wood, like plywood. Cut the wood to the size of the countertop you want, placing it in your kitchen to make sure it fits right. Spray paint it silver gray if it helps you picture it as stainless steel.
The stainless steel will be wrapped around the wooden template, so if you’re opting for a large, heavy stainless steel sheet to cover a wide area, you might want to use a sturdier wooden base using a hard wood.
Stainless Steel Countertops with Integrated Sink
Image credit: Steel and Tube at EBOSS
Don’t forget a hole for your sink and the faucet tap!
This is the simplest and cheapest way to include your existing sink. If you want an integrated stainless steel sink, you’ll need to organize that with the manufacturer and have dimensions ready. Grooves can also be added for the draining board.
Finally, decide on the edge depth and style! 1.5 inches is the standard, but a thicker depth looks quite nice with stainless steel countertops, or an overhanging edge.
Once the countertop is in place, all that’s left to do is seal the seams and polish it to a beautiful shine!