A properly chosen and fitted worktop can make
A properly fitted kitchen can make the kitchen the true heart of the home (and let's face it we all tend to gravitate there at parties ...). For the purposes of this article I am going to be looking at the worktop, as it is, I would argue, the most important area of your kitchen, both aesthetically and functionally.
The first thing to consider of course is colour. Your worktop should of course coordinate with the rest of the kitchen, and there are different colour ranges available depending on the material you choose. Granite for example is limited to the colours of the rock where it was extracted, Quartz and Corian having a much wider gamut as they use man-made pigments to give them their colour. Other substances, like wood, are pretty much self-explanatory. So, if you have your heart set on electric blue or candy-apple red, Granite is not going to be for you.
If there is going to be many funky lines, curves and sweeps in your kitchen, then it may well be worth thinking of Corian, which can be shaped very much easier than either granite or quartz, and whose texture lends itself so much better to an ultra-modern look. For simple square surfaces, there's probably nothing more beautiful than a big slab of granite.
Next you have to think about sinks. One with a separate drying basin? What sort of drainage grooves do you require? How to fit the sinks seamless or classic, Corian, or stainless steel? It is well worth looking round the web to find examples of installations you like because the big limit here is your imagination!
Next upstands (also called splashbacks) protect your wall from knocks and stains, and has the quality of visually anchoring your surface to the kitchen wall. Suppliers give a few options for these so it is worth looking into before you buy to make sure you are getting the effect that you really want.
Edging is another facet of worktop choice that has to be factored. Most suppliers give many options on this, but common types are finishes like rounded, square, bevelled, grooved and so forth. These often have their own pricing and intricate edging can add to your cost. When you order your worktop, you will be asked how many sides need edging and how long the sides are, unless of course you get the whole thing measured and fitted for you.
So, back to materials. Wood and laminates are self-explanatory, but Granite, Corian and Quartz need a little explanation. Granite is the king of worktop surfaces: beautiful, natural and with a deep shine. Although more expensive, and requiring a little more upkeep, granite is most definitely the premium choice. Quartz is a partially synthetic material, made of 97% crushed stone (usually, erm, quartz) combined with man-made polymers and pigments so that it has a comparable hardness to granite, but with the advantages of being completely non-porous and is available in a wide array of colours and finishes. Corian is a completely synthetic material, basically a man-made stone, that can be joined seamlessly and invisibly, can be moulded at very high temperatures and and is available in a huge range of colours.
So, I do hope this helps with some of your choices for the kitchen. Of course, a trained and helpful staff will always be able to help further with your decision making, but this should be enough to set you upon the road of discorvery for your kitchen worktop.