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Kitchens & Baths
Granite & Marble
HOW TO USE TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF COUNTERTOPS
IN YOUR KITCHEN
So when should you consider using two different types of countertops in your kitchen?
There are four main situations when you might want to do this:
- You want to make your kitchen feel more custom and unique.
- You would like to stretch your budget.
- You are looking for a way to add some visual interest.
- You have a section of the kitchen that feels separate and would offer a natural spot for something different like an island.
Mix and match kitchen can be quite elegant when done correctly. But like any decorating project, using more materials and color requires a bit more planning and careful assessment of the space and overall intended look. What can you start with? The first step is to look at your kitchen layout. Do you have two separate counters or are all your countertops in one run? If you only have one counter or a few small wall counters, then it is best to stick with a single-color countertop. You can always add an interesting tile backsplash to give your kitchen that designer look you want.
The ideal space for two counter or two cabinet colors is a medium to large kitchen with an island. It is important to make sure the space is balanced.
The idea of combining two countertop styles in your kitchen might seem overwhelming at first, but it is a relatively cut-and-dried process. It all boils down to balance, color coordination and effortlessly mixing different materials. Here are some strategies to put in your playbook.
Pay Attention to Patterns
If two options both have significant movement or pattern, pairing them can overwhelm your kitchen design and distract the eye. If you find yourself drawn to busy designs, search for a complementary countertop that is solid-colored or has minimal pattern. This will ensure that one counter material does not compete with the other. Marble, granite and other natural stones typically feature a lot of movement, though many engineered materials now mimic these natural stones. Try matching one of these materials with a toned-down quartz or solid surface for the perfect balance. If you are set on an all-natural look, you can play with color instead of pattern.
Coordinate with Accent Colors
Accent colors can come from your favorite art piece, linens, furniture, plumbing fixtures, cabinet hardware and even your range hood. If there is a shade, you’re fond of, pick a countertop design that either matches or incorporates that tone in its pattern. The downside to this strategy is that your countertop may look out of place if you ever decide to change your kitchen’s accent colors. A good rule of thumb is to not mix two stones that look very similar. If you select a pair of granite countertops that look too similar, it might look more accidentally than innovative. One fail-safe way to pair two granites is to pick something very consistent and solid on the perimeter (the counters up against the wall) and an exotic or otherwise exciting granite for the island.
Balance Dark with Light
The age-old principle of yin and yang applies to countertop design too. If your first choice is on the lighter side, look for a darker second choice for contrast. You can go with a classic black-and-white motif as seen in this midcentury kitchen built by Don Tankersley & Co., or mix light and dark neutrals, pastels, primary colors and so on.
When creating a light-dark dynamic, there is more than one approach. If you have mixed cabinet colors, you can use a light countertop with light-colored cabinets (and vice versa) for a more dramatic contrast between your two designs. You can also opt for balance by placing your darker selection on lighter cabinetry. If your cabinetry is the same color throughout, consider other factors, such as how well each countertop design stacks up to your backsplash material.
Create an Accent Piece on Your Island
Whether they feature bold color tones or unusual patterns, many designs are natural showstoppers. There is no better spot to install them than the hub of your kitchen. Wrapping your island with dramatic patterns and sweeping veins, such as in this Toronto kitchen island designed by Lori Morris, will create a focal point that stands out, especially if the rest of your kitchen’s color scheme is neutral or muted.
For example, in a kitchen with white cabinets, put Absolute Black Granite on the perimeter counters and a dynamic white or gray stone like Absolute White or Ash Blue on the island. The understated Absolute Black on the perimeter will set the stage for your island granite to shine.
This same overall pairing of one solid granite and one granite with more movement can be adjusted for your color scheme. For example, if you have warmer, earth tones in your kitchen, then you might want to put that Absolute Black Granite on the island and use a warm stone like Sienna Beige on the perimeter. The long, meandering lines in Sienna Beige Granite create a visual flow around the Absolute Black Granite, which would act in this case as a visual anchor for the whole ensemble. One more combination type to consider is a soft white granite paired with a bold, colorful exotic.