Worktops - Au Natural or Man Made?
We're spoilt for choice when it comes to work surfaces. From beautiful natural products such as Metal, Wood and Stone to man-made Corian and Quartz. Although choice is very personal, other factors may come into the equation such as cost, colour schemes and kitchen design. Here are some innovative worktops ideas for hand made shaker style kitchens and state of the art modern German kitchens, designed and installed by Beau-Port Kitchens in Hampshire, including marble, granite, polished steel and solid wood work tops
The natural warmth and feel of wood is a real people pleaser regardless of whether you are planning a traditional hand made shaker style kitchen or contemporary kitchen, it will work well in both settings. No longer seen as old fashioned, modern contemporary designs such as a slab end kitchen furniture which sees the unit and work surface encased in wood has sharp clean minimal lines. Continue the clean modern design by choosing pale wood hues such as oak or use darker wood for an elegant formal setting. Another clever use of wood is to attach it to an island or peninsular to create a communal eating space. Alternatively, you could use pippy oak exposing the beauty of the knots and naturally occurring flaws with a waney bark edge to create an eye-catching breakfast bar, most definitely a show stopper.
A marble or granite worktop eludes a look of elegance and sophistication pair with traditional handmade kitchens in classic or contemporary designs. Use light colours to lift a dark kitchen or highlight painted furniture. Or complement cool creams and neutrals with white and beige colours to bounce light around the room. Add a luxurious look to dark wood handmade or contemporary furniture with teaks or antiques browns. Whatever your kitchen furniture colour is there will be a granite or marble that will harmonise. Colours include on trend Greys, gold hues, bold and subtle blues and natural greens. As a naturally occurring substance no two work surfaces will ever look the same. For a minimal approach and continuity, fit the up-stands and splash backs with the same beautiful natural products. Or combine with dark wood panelling for a more modern look. Speckled pale colours work well in a contemporary kitchen in colours such as cool greys and cappuccino tones. Cool silky sleek surfaces reflect the light and are great for rolling out pastry. If you don't like or are afraid of cleaning them there are now products on the market specifically made and tailored to caring for your natural stone work surfaces.
Quartz V Granite
Man-made quartz work tops have many of the attractive benefits of natural stone. They are hard wearing and durable. They have the added benefits of being stain resistant with antibacterial properties. These surfaces offer flexibility not seen in other worktops and can be moulded to incorporate up-stands and splash backs for a seamless, clean contemporary design. Unlike natural stone they don't need time consuming sealing or cleaning processes but still have the same clean contemporary look. Man made quartz is produced from a combination of crushed quartz and resins, which come in a wide variety of colours. Although it fakes stone in many ways it doesn't truly reflect the look and feel of the real thing and can be more expensive. Hence, if you are looking for authenticity it may not work for you.
Polished Stainless Steel work surface bring a professional look to the cook's kitchen. Easy to clean they will withstand the heat that damages less robust worktops. However, they will also show every tiny scratch so if you like things to look pristine this is not the worktop for you. A stainless-steel surface will bounce off light giving a small kitchen a bigger brighter feel. Edgy and unique a stainless steel work surface or slab end Island makes a high impact design statement which reflects the light and adds interest.
Making a statement
It's not just polished steel than can give your new kitchen the edge. How about using other metal work surfaces such as bronze or copper. Combine with handless units and slab end designs for a sophisticated contemporary look or opt for antique and burnished finishes which will reveal their patina in time and add warmth. Add contrasting beautiful copper or brass handles to a painted kitchen to make a statement.
Choose concrete for an industrial retro look. It Compliments white, blues, greys and gun metal colours perfectly and can make an inexpensive kitchen look rather upmarket. Concrete work surfaces look solid and robust but can be expensive. So, if polished concrete is out of your budget choose a composite mix worktop. These can be a less pricey alternative that is easier to maintain and very convincing…
Ceramic or Glass
These worktops are great for adding light to small spaces. Ceramic tops are tough like granite however, they can be produced to be slimmer. Hence, if a chunky worktop is not for you this represent the ideal alternative. They tend to be heat, scratch and stain resistant but ceramic surfaces can crack so take care with heavy based pans and avoid dropping objects on to the surface.
Sparkling glass worksurfaces and mirrored upstands reflect light as well as their inherent beauty and are perfect for brightening up a dark kitchen. Like ceramic surfaces glass provides a hygienic, heat resistant and easy to clean solution. New toughen glass mean its less likely to chip or scratch and there are slim line versions available. But if you're a perfectionist or have children and teenagers you will find yourself constantly polishing away finger marks and smudges that go unnoticed on other surfaces