Easy-Care Countertops & Creative Designs Trending

Countertops continue to play a critical role in the kitchen, serving as both a multifunctional work space and a key design element. While designers are seeing more interest in durable, easy-care surfaces, there’s also a growing interest in creative applications such as layering of colors, materials and thicknesses to add visual pizzazz.

Value remains a priority for many consumers, but the value of countertops may not be defined by the cost as much as by their durability and their ability to elevate an ordinary kitchen into something truly special.

Below are a few of the hottest trends in countertops right now.

--As kitchens get smaller, the impact of the countertop gets bigger – and that means creative countertop designs are more important than ever. Designers are addressing this need with a variety of applications, including layering of materials (i.e. wood or solid surface over stone), and varying countertop heights, materials and colors to visually separate different zones.

--More color is showing up in countertops, perhaps because consumers expect to live with their countertops longer than in years past, and are unwilling to commit to a bland color for the long haul. Additionally, consumers are increasingly using multiple colors in one space.

--Texture is another key trend, with a growing interest in materials that offer visual texture, depth and dimension.

--Although the economy continues to improve, consumers remain interested in countertop materials that provide value – both functionally and aesthetically. As such, there’s a growing demand for easy-care, durable surfaces that can withstand the test of time.

--While granite remains ever popular, quartz continues to make inroads thanks to its aesthetic appeal, wide array of color options and ease of maintenance. Solid surface also is garnering increased interest for its flexibility, allowing designers to incorporate trivets, drainage boards and even touch-screen TV monitors into the surface. Improved laminate technology is also making laminate a more attractive, affordable option for those on a budget.

--While kitchens may be smaller than in years past, there’s a growing trend toward integrating dining, where consumers forego the formal dining room for an open layout where the countertop surface area is expanded to incorporate the dining function. This increases the need for durable, easy-to-clean countertop materials that work for everything from food prep, family dining and full-scale entertaining to homework and craft projects.