By Shawna Dillon, of Studio Snaidero Chicago
In the first part of this post, I talked about functional and general aesthetic considerations that can help you select the best kitchen countertops for your needs. From a purely visual point of view, you will also want to think about which materials work best for the cabinetry you have chosen. The wrong countertop-cabinets combination can make the whole design fall apart aesthetically, while the right one can add value to it. Below are my suggestions, based on experience.
WITH LIGHT WOOD CABINETS:
Light wood cabinetry gives you the most pairing options for countertops. You can go dark (more dramatic) or light depending on the effect you are going for. Keep in mind that natural stones with busy patterns tend to look best with light to medium woods.
Light Quartz, Marble, and Granite provide a dramatic contrast and keep the cooking and food preparation surface nice and bright. Plus the natural and engineered stone surfaces complement the richness of the dark wood.
If you chose a textured finish it means you like its “showcase” quality, so let the cabinetry do the talking. A quiet, simple finish such as solid quartz with minimal aggregate, glass, stainless steel, or Corian will pair well with the texture without competing for attention.
Again, you want to play with contrasts to make the overall look of your kitchen as interesting as possible (while still keeping it tasteful). High gloss cabinetry looks great with a matte or honed top; a leather finish on stone can provide the needed texture.
Matte cabinets look best with a polished finish; something like engineered stone, granite, marble, stainless steel. However, a honed or leathered finish can tailor an otherwise quiet and subdued installation. You can also go for a total matte look; that’s fine too. In this case, though, I’d recommend using something with a slight texture just to add some punch.