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Dec 13, 2013

Countertops: Bold Bright or Soothing Neutral

Recently, when I was in our showroom, a customer shared with me her favorite countertop sample:  a fire engine red Silestone. She admitted, though, that she was not brave enough to use that color for her countertop. Then, reluctantly, she spread before her the samples of neutral colors from which she was going to actually choose.

Red countertop colorThis is quite a predicament. Purchasing a countertop is not like choosing a paint color: it is much more costly, and much more permanent. In light of this, we find ourselves flooded with questions: I am investing a great deal of money, so why shouldn’t I get my dream countertop? I may have to move within a couple of years, will my countertop be appealing to buyers? Will I really love this color after a year? Can I pull off this color in my bathroom/kitchen?

As confusing and conflicting as these questions are, they are important and should be answered, and you can begin to do so right now as you read this blog.

First, start gathering inspiring examples of your dream kitchen/bath. You can rip out photos from magazines or go to your favorite home improvement websites. Within most search engines, you can select a search image option, then type in your favorite color along with the word “countertop.” An entire suite of photos will pop up. One useful tip: try to be general with the wording of your color. For example, you should type in “red” rather than “fire engine red.” This will allow the search engine to pull an array of reds you may not have considered using. Do not make a decision right away, but rather allow yourself to pull the photos piquing your interest. For example, if you are like our red-loving customer in the showroom, you may run across the photo of a countertop marbled with reds and neutrals that speaks to your ambivalence between bright and soothing. You may find a brownish red is inspiring, or you may confirm the fact that the fire engine red really does get you excited about re-doing your kitchen or bathroom.

Granite countertopsOnce you are satisfied that you have enough reference, spread the images out before you and compare them side-by-side. It will be easy to see which images are more appealing. You may also find within this process that there is a common trend within your choices: are you drawn to kitchens with high contrast, do you like rooms with a bright countertop and neutral wall paint, or vice versa, neutral countertops with brightly colored walls, do you like rooms that are relatively uniform in color yet accented with pops of a different color (e.g. with a vase or decorative dishes), etc. These trends will have an influence on your final decision.

When you have settled on your favorites, it is time to start living with your choices. Find large swatches of the colors you would like your countertop to be. This can be actual samples, pieces of colored paper, something you print out or paint, or even pieces of fabric that are the right color. Pair the countertop colors with other large swatches representing the colors of the walls/tiles you might be considering. Large swatches are helpful because their color will not be influenced as much by the existing colors in your kitchen or bathroom. Note: if you cannot find large swatches, then try placing a neutral gray behind your samples. Give yourself several days to see the colors in different lights and do not be afraid to move your swatches around the room.

After you have done these exercises, you will be much more confident in answering the questions: Can I get my dream countertop? Will my countertop be appealing to others? Will I really love this color later? Am I capable of pulling off this color in my bathroom/kitchen?

In my not so humble opinion, yes, you absolutely should buy your dream countertop; however, you may just need to do a little experimenting before knowing exactly what that might be.

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