Matching Your Countertops With Your Personality
When Gaye Mack upgraded her two condo bathrooms, she carefully considered how color would affect the space while still searching for that ‘wow’ factor. The Barrington, Illinois-based author and Evolutionary Astrologer chose a deep green marble countertop for one and a variant of darker green granite for the other. “The contrast with the white cabinetry is, I think, stunning,” she says.
“The marble job involved me going to the stone warehouse where they cut pieces from humongous slabs of stone,” adds Mack. “I even picked out the corner of the slab for them to cut from which had some interesting white ‘veining’ in it.”
Show Your Personality and Style
Experts agree that countertops should reflect your personality and style. “Natural stone is all about personality,” says Katelyn Anderberg, A&D Outside Sales Representative with Elements Room, which provides premium surface materials for designers, architects, and industry professionals. “The bigger the personality of a client, typically the more fun and bold the movement in the stone tends to be.”
Traditional people tend to be drawn to more traditional designs, while people with bolder personalities tend to be comfortable with big movement and bold colors, according to Kathlyn Gossman, Kitchen and Bath Account Manager with Smokey Mountain Tops, which specializes in fabricating and installing granite, marble, and quartz surfacing for residential kitchen and bath and commercial projects.
“Whichever one you lean toward, your countertops and overall style should look like you,” Gossman recommends.
What if you don’t know what your personality or style is when it comes to countertop selection? Anderberg suggests asking yourself what colors you are drawn to: cool or warm tones? “After you know what tone is desired, find countertop colors that flow with the desired look.”
Stacy Garcia, a kitchen designer in Southern California who, along with her husband, owns Garcia Cabinetmakers, a custom cabinet shop in Southern California specializing in residential cabinetry, also recommends clients choose their countertop alongside their cabinetry and flooring. A material board can help them visualize options and develop a cohesive look.
“One formula is to make sure the stone includes a color from the cabinetry,” Garcia recommends. “The overall room style also determines the cabinetry and countertop choices. Ask yourself if you prefer a modern look with frameless cabinetry and waterfall counters or a more traditional look with face frame cabinets and a classic edge detail, for example.”
Making these decisions from the onset not only helps clients visualize the space, but helps save time and money in the long run since they’ll be fewer changes and delays once a project begins.
Consider the Cabinetry
Clients don’t always consider a cabinet’s style, other elements of a room and their needs when choosing a countertop, experts say. “A traditional style cabinet pairs well with more conventional stone color palettes such as taupes, browns, and golds,” says Gossman. “A sleek cabinet shines when paired with contemporary materials like honed black granite or statement slab material with large movement.”
As far as other elements are concerned, Gossman goes as far as inquiring about colors throughout the house so that all the areas flow together. “We suggest clients bring in as much as they can when they select countertops,” she says. “Samples of cabinetry, flooring, wall colors, backsplash tiles, and even fabrics from adjoining rooms all help the client picture everything together and guide their decision.”
She also suggests looking at things like durability, care and maintenance, practically, functionality, and design. “It’s not so much about the cabinet or base material itself, but about the look of the cabinet and countertops together in the space,” she says. “Make sure you select materials and textures that work well together.”
Match or Contrast?
Don’t be afraid to mix different shades of the same color. “Many clients are surprised to find you can put together different shades of whites or grays,” Gossman explains. “You don’t have to exactly match your cabinets to your countertops. You can also blend textures together such as sleek cabinets with softer honed materials.”
While one’s personality can drive the countertop style decision, something else clients should keep in mind is how long they’ll be living with their choice. Solid colors with little to no movement help with resale of the home due to the versatility of the stone and kitchen, according to Anderberg.
“If a client plans to live in their home for years and love the look of bold movement, then by all means, they should pick out something they love,” Anderberg says.
For those who love a bold look but want to temper it, Gossman suggests looking at perimeter applications versus islands, where movement shows better on larger pieces. “Often customers will do a high-movement statement piece on an island or peninsula where you can see more of the large design, and then do a toned-down solid for the perimeter to complement the other,” she says.
Want some quick expert advice? Garcia runs a popular kitchen and bath industry Twitter chat where professionals share weekly insight on design: #KBTribeChat. While the discussions are geared for professionals, consumers are welcome to join in every Wednesday, from 2-3pm EST.