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Create a Stunning Kitchen with Beautiful Surfaces

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers

Appliances, cabinets, fixtures—a lot goes into a kitchen, and there’s a lot that can be done to improve the look of it. Unless homeowners are willing to undergo a total overhaul, kitchen layouts are fairly fixed due to the placement of wiring and plumbing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something special with what you already have. Whether you want to update your existing kitchen or are planning a whole new one, here are the key surfaces to consider that will help you design a particularly beautiful space.

HanStone Quartz Tranquility

A Tranquility engineered quartz countertop from HanStone® provides a universally appealing surface on which to work. Its light color, natural veining, and easy maintenance make it an attractive option for most applications.

Durable Stone Counters

Shopping for countertops can be tricky, because there is a host of different materials to think about before you can even start looking at colors. Whatever you choose, it needs to stand up to the demands placed on it or else you risk damaging a large swath of your kitchen design. Seeing as attention is often directed down on counters—whether you’re preparing ingredients to cook or examining a spread at a party—you definitely want to invest in something that will last, and stone fits the bill for many homeowners.

Whether natural or engineered, stone counters are favored for their resistance to scratches and heat and water damage. Of course, the composition of each material dictates just how hardy it is; granite is formed as magma containing feldspar and quartz cools slowly and crystallizes under the earth’s surface, so it is exceptionally dense and durable, while marble is formed when sedimentary rock like limestone is metamorphosed under heat and pressure, resulting in a softer, more porous stone. That’s why granite is favored for applications where it will take a beating, and why marble is an artist favorite for carving sculptures.

Natural stone must be sealed and properly maintained to prevent stains from seeping into its crystalline structure, but you can make it easier on yourself by selecting engineered stone. It’s composed of the same basic ingredients including plenty of hard-wearing quartz, but is manufactured to ensure better consistency, and that means it’s a more predictable surface. Of course, you will still find plenty of variation in the market with slabs that have the look of authentic veining and crystallization patterns, so don’t think this choice only offers uniformity. Thanks to its matchless density and non-porous structure, engineered stone is perfect for anybody who wants the best in terms of durability, doesn’t want to deal with sealing, or wants to enjoy extras like bacteria resistance. What more could you ask from a kitchen counter?

Oceanside Glasstile Tessera Collection

This kitchen is given a pop of color and personality with a bold, patterned backsplash that features Tessera Collection tiles in the Meridian pattern from Oceanside Glasstile®.

A Patterned Point of Interest

Kitchen designs often fall flat, because while they are composed of a number of textures and materials, those components are typically large and visually unbroken. You might have a big section of stainless steel from your refrigerator, a row of wooden cabinets, and stone countertops, but is attention drawn anywhere in particular? Think of your kitchen like an outfit—if you were to wear a solid top and pants, you would probably accessorize to accent your appearance and look well put together. The simplest action you can take to combat kitchen design regularity is highlighting the fridge with magnets and photos, but you can really do the room justice and give it its own character with a beautiful backsplash.

The wall behind the stove or sink is a perfect place to install something interesting. These areas are prone to splattering, so a backsplash is definitely a practical choice as well. No matter your style or the color palette you want to work with, tile gives you the opportunity to make your kitchen one of a kind. Choose simple subway tiles for a crisp modern vibe, a geometric pattern to set a certain tone, or a complex mosaic to instill your preferred artistic aesthetic into the space. There is no place more customizable than the backsplash in a kitchen, so feel free to really make it your own and set your design apart.

Wilsonart Landmark Wood -7981 Laminate

These cabinets look like raw teak, but their beautiful exterior is actually thanks to Landmark Wood - 7981 laminate from Wilsonart®, which is GREENGUARD Gold certified and offers resistance against wear and tear.

Refreshed Cabinets and Beyond

If your kitchen appears worn and tired or just doesn’t have the right look, there are ways to work with what you have to get what you want. It is usually very expensive and time consuming to replace the major components of the kitchen, and so long as they are structurally sound and work properly, it is in your best interest to breathe new life into them instead.

You can sand and stain cabinets to completely change their appearance and the ambiance of the room, or if this is too labor intensive, you can simply give them a new skin. Laminate comes in plenty of natural patterns and colors, and there are even types made to be used on vertical surfaces. This manufactured option is exceptionally durable—it’s made to prevent scratches and damage from chemicals—and has many fans among do-it-yourselfers. Laminate can be used in many applications, including counters and backsplashes, so see if it can revamp your kitchen in record time. Just be sure to look for third-party tested products that are certified safe for indoor air quality and you should be good to go.

Think of your kitchen as a canvas and see what kind of design you can create. It doesn’t always take a huge project to make a huge impact, so look into these ideas and make the transformation you want to see. You’ll probably be surprised by just how different the result looks from the starting point!