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Don't Count Out the Countertop

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Although they get splashed with stains and spills, countertops are an important kitchen staple. Experts offer advice about different materials, durability, aesthetic and more.

Though they are easily overlooked, countertops are a major design aspect in kitchen remodeling, and homeowners are presented with an ever-expanding array of material options.

“People are getting more creative with backsplashes,” says DeAnna Radaj, a Milwaukee-based feng-shui design consulting company owner and author of “Designing the Life  of Your Dreams from the Outside In” (iUniverse, 2006). Radaj likes the eluma DecoSplash, an LED-lit backsplash with a customizable glass panel. “[Clients] trust us to do something a little different there.”

Radaj is such a fan of  PaperStone that she’s planning to use it in her own home. She is excited about its durability, although its tendency to fade in bright light makes it unsuitable for outdoor kitchens.

Susan Serra, of Susan Serra Associates in Huntington, N.Y., is a fan of matte-finished slate, which she says is denser and stronger than granite. However, it does scratch, and can flake, and while some designers prefer the material in bathrooms, Serra likes the look anywhere.

“Everything does not need to be perfect. That’s life,” says Serra of countertop imperfections. However, she concedes that the good thing about granite, and one of the reasons that people have stuck with it, is that its pattern hides stains. Although they may be a budget-breaker for some customers, she says she is also a fan of solid color lava countertops.

With so many choices in material, countertops have pushed themselves to the forefront of kitchen design elements. Be sure to choose the one that suits your kitchen best.