How to Pick the PERFECT Countertops for your Next Home Project

Countertops are always a difficult decision because they are such a large investment and such a huge piece of design. You can’t just change them out like a throw pillow. Today we’re sharing a few basic tips to find the perfect stone for your project along with inspiration, including great examples of types of stones with pros and cons to each one.

Also we recently went to the stone yard with one of our design clients and filmed the entire thing. There are lots of take aways from this trip!


1. First choose a qualified installer who will give you options of stone yards to view your actual slab of choice. Interviewing installers first makes the process less overwhelming. They each have preferred stone yards that they work with and so you don’t need to go to every stone yard before discussing with them. If you have a general contractor for your project they’ll tell you which show rooms to go to as well.

2. Take inspiration of the counters you love along with any other design elements that might influence your decision, such as backsplash materials, etc. 

We like to even have a moodboard for the entire design. You can see ours for the Park Place Project here. If you’d like to learn how to make your own moodboard you can learn how in our Live in a Home You Love Guide.

3. I like to take a friend along to help make selections. This helps me from getting overwhelmed and be able to actually enjoy the process. A showroom professional at your stoneyard should be able to guide you to the type of stone you’re looking for but don’t limit yourself. As I describe in the following examples, Quartzite can give the look of marble, so you have options. 


Quartz? Quartzite? Granite? Marble? Oh my!

By definition a counter is a flat surface for working, especially in the kitchen. So the first question you might ask is, “How do I use this surface?” You’ve heard that marble is not the best option for a kitchen because it will stain. And soapstone requires some work if you want to keep the glow, because it tends to look dull without maintenance. But we have so many great alternatives these days that give the same look and feel. 


So let’s get into it. A honed granite in shades of gray or black can give the feel of soapstone! We love the example of our friend’s Luxury Modern kitchen. The light wood cabinetry on the outside walls have a beautiful honed black granite that mimics soapstone. The dreamy dark wood island is actually toped with a manmade quartz. Typically we don’t mix a manmade quartz with a natural stone. But in this space it’s executed so well!


We think the lighting choices in this kitchen are perfect! Here are a couple look a likes we found that we LOVE!

Granite is one of the most classic countertops. If you want your granite to be timeless I would steer away from the choices everyone else is making. You might really like the trending granite, but if you use even a subtle variation of that stone it will stand the test of time. There’s nothing worse than a counter that shouts, I’m from this or that decade. The best part about using a granite that is timeless is you can update the kitchen surround with new appliances, cabinet doors, paint and leave the existing stone in place. Our friends at Cavie Interiors recently did this for a homeowner in a house decades old. 


Soapstone is a living finish! This means it will change and has a warmth and patina like no other. Again, this might not be for everyone. But for those who love the look of a kitchen in the French countryside with all of natures glory this is for you. The best expample is the kitchen we can show you is from One Quant Maison She loves the patina of her soapstone and we do too!


Aren’t these barstools perfect? Check out these options we found with a similar look!


Some Quartz can look manmade and bring down the look of a space. But the right Quartz can be the shining star of your bathroom or kitchen. Ginni of Rickerson Renovations used a stunning Quartz in her space as a perfect example. And using it as the backsplash with a small shelf took it to the next level. We see this trending in design a lot these days but Jenny did it a number of years ago ahead of its time. We know white quartz with gray veining has been a popular choice. But we see warmer mixes of creams, golds, browns along with the gray veins being used today.

In the video we also mentioned Stephanie of @BloomingIvyLane’s kitchen! Her quartz is a classic and could work in a modern kitchen to the most traditional space.


We love the double sconces used in these kitchen designs so we gathered a couple look a likes!


Quartzite is a variety of Granite that feels warm and timeless. However, granite is priced by levels 1 through 5 and the Quartzite is just under exotic stones many times at a level 4. I found a slightly flawed piece that my fabricator was able to use and save some money. Taj Mahal is one of my favorite Quartzites. Some quartzites can mimic marble but without all the maintenance. The Old Barn used this Quartzite even as part of her European style farm sink and it is nothing short of stunning and definitely worth the investment! 


We love the barstools and pendant lights in this home so we rounded up a couple look a likes we LOVE!


Porcelain is gaining popularity but we have a word of caution. I used this in my primary bath and I couldn’t love it more. It gives the look of real marble with warm rich veining in a variety of colors. However, porcelain is a thiner man made material that requires skilled fabricators with the right tools to create a seamless 45 degree angle. Which allows for a wide edges and for a powerful impact!  


Butcher Block can bring so much warmth and function to a space. Lauren Tanner used combination of Quartz and butcher block in her kitchen to create the coziest, most beautiful space. The butcher block functions well for the areas she uses for service as a buffet and coffee bar. If you’re not a perfectionist a worn wood butcher block used for function in kneading bread or cutting meats is the way to go! 

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