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Counters for kitchen, bath, and office

There are so many choices when it comes to countertops for kitchen, bath, and office, itīs easy to get overwhelmed.

What do you use your counters for?

Before you go down for the count, ponder your common tasks before selecting the material. If you are planning to do a lot of scratch cooking in your kitchen and expect to be constantly cutting vegetables and rolling out breads, wood is ideal. If you like to bake pastry, consider marble for rolling out delicate pastries that require a cool surface. If you need counter space for hot pans, put stainless steel next to the stove.

For offices, laminates are practical, but linoleum counters are becoming popular. Linoleum has a texture similar to some laminates and are environmentally friendly too.

Mix materials. There are dozens of creative ways to combine materials for a great look and improved functionality.

Keep up with your counters

If the counters are for a bathroom, integral sinks and solid surface countertops are the way to go. They are easy to maintain and keep clean.

Marble has a timeless quality in the bath with its classic coolness and good looks. Stains are an issue in kitchens, but less of a problem in the bath.

Natural and engineered stone are also extremely popular, durable, versatile, and easy to maintain.

About style

Your counters should be functional, be easy to maintain, AND work with the style of the house.

Laminates are everywhere for good reason. They come in billions of colors and patterns and work well in almost every room and style of home.

Natural materials like wood, stone, tile, and linoleum may work alone or in combination in a variety of settings. Contemporary homes with clean, elegant lines integrate well with stainless, engineered materials, copper, or natural stone, such as granite. More modest cottage-style homes look more comfortable with ceramic tile and wood.

Rules can be broken though. A designer or counter installer can provide guidance.

The bottom line

For many of us the bottom line is cost. That said, as long as you donīt over improve your home compared with others in your neighborhood, youīll probably get most of your investment back when you sell your home.

Generally, more expensive materials, such as granite and solid surface materials, hold up better than laminates. However, low-cost laminates can be replaced much more easily.

Ultimately, your counters should be attractive, usable, and not cost an arm and a leg.

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