The Best Kitchen Worktop Styles
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The Best Kitchen Worktop Styles

Nailing down your top priorities – from budget to practicality – is key to finding the best kitchen worktops for your home

A kitchen worktop is an important consideration – yours needs to be strong enough to sustain knocks and food preparation, as well as any sticky stains and residue that may accumulate. And of course, most of all, it needs to look stylish. Our kitchen worktops encircle the entire room, so the right one will make a huge positive impact on the overall look and feel of your space. In the same vein, choosing the wrong one could leave your kitchen feeling clinical, and can fail to unite every element of the room. So which kitchen worktop style is right for you?

Which Type Of Kitchen Worktop Style Is Best?

There is a huge array of kitchen worktops to choose from, so to ensure you choose the right one for your home, it pays to consider three main things:

  • How durable do you need it to be?
  • What is your budget?
  • How often do you want to maintain it?
  • What style do you like best? (Some prefer a more modern look, while others favour more rustic and traditional).

Below you can find the rundown on almost every type of kitchen worktop available, to allow you to pick the option that most makes sense for you.  We’ve highlighted everything from heat resistance to style kudos, and how expensive (or not) each worktop style is to install.

Granite Worktop

Granite is a very popular option for kitchens, largely because this stone material is both beautiful and practical – though as a result, it can be pricey. Jen Nash, Magnet’s Head of Design, explains, ‘The most expensive worktop to install would be either marble or granite. They are both luxurious and highly sought after for their beauty and durability, and also come in a wide range of colours and patterns.’

On the practical side, a granite worktop is ideal for keen cooks and those who do plenty of food prep. Alec Wilson at Clive Christian Interiors Weybridge explains, ‘Granite is the most resistant worktop to heat, so can deal with hot pans and baking sheets being rested on it if necessary.’

If you do want a granite worktop, you have the option of a matt finish or a high gloss finish. But Alec adds that if you make a lot of mess in the kitchen, or have little ones who are constantly touching their sticky hands to the worktops, you may want to avoid the latter. ‘Shiny black granite shows finger marks and smears quite badly and needs to be frequently cleaned with a microfibre cloth, but lighter colours are not so bad,’ he tells us.

Wood Worktop

Modern kitchen with black cabinets and oak worktops.

deVOL Kitchens

Wood worktops can be a controversial choice, but they can be more affordable than stone, and can look incredibly stylish, especially if you want a traditional country kitchen made up of natural materials. Beech and oak are popular wood worktop materials, as is walnut, and all of these should be readily available, whoever you are sourcing your kitchen from.

Wood is often seen to be a difficult worktop to maintain – and that can be true. But if you’re willing to put the work into doing so, it can pay off hugely, providing a characterful worktop that will last for years to come, says Helen Parker, Creative Director of deVOL Kitchens. ‘Wood is a little underrated and often seen as a difficult choice. But I have never understood the worry with wood – for me, it is warm and tactile, it is easy to keep supple and nourished with a little regular care, and in return it gives you an ever changing patina that gets better and better over time.’

Jen warns, however, that it will need protection from damage. ‘Wood countertops require regular sealing to protect against moisture and staining,’ she says. ‘Without proper maintenance, wood can be susceptible to water damage, scratches and strains, so it is essential to clean up spills promptly and reapply sealant as needed, to maintain their appearance and durability.’

Marble Worktop

Marble is highly desirable as a kitchen worktop material, thanks to its elegant, high-end look that will provide a serious statement to any space. It’s a luxury natural stone, so it’s definitely one of the most expensive countertop options around – but for many, the expense is well worth it for a work surface that looks unique, polished, and works in either a modern home or a more traditional country space.

However, it’s worth remembering that as luxurious a material as marble is, it’s still one of the least durable kitchen work surfaces, and can be prone to damage. ‘Marble is prone to staining, as it is a natural stone that is relatively soft and porous,’ Jen explains. ‘Its porous nature makes it more susceptible to absorbing liquids and stains, particularly acidic substances like citrus juices, vinegar, or wine. 

‘Regular maintenance and care will prevent and minimise staining, but even with sealing, marble countertops can still be prone to staining if spills are not cleaned up promptly.’

Quartz Worktop

Modern kitchen with dark wooden cabinets and white stone worktops.

Magnet

Quartz is considered to be a fantastic all-rounder: not only does it emulate marble with its luxurious and unique surface, but it’s also easy to maintain, more affordable than marble (though it’s not inexpensive), and will suit almost any kitchen, from the more rustic to the ultra-modern.

‘I personally think quartz stands out as a stylish choice for kitchen worktops due to its exceptional combination of beauty, durability, and versatility,’ says Molly Chandler, Designer at Willis & Stone. Highlighting its distinctive look, she explains: ‘Composed of natural quartz crystals blended with resins and pigments, quartz offers an extensive range of colours and patterns, mimicking the appearance of luxurious natural stones like marble and granite.’

It’s also a great choice for those who don’t want to have to tend to their kitchen work surfaces regularly, as it is naturally more hygienic, and tough to boot. Plus, it will be able to cope with knocks, dents and even hot pans, as it is heat-resistant.

‘Quartz is one of the most hygienic worktop choices available,’ Molly explains. ‘Its non-porous surface prevents the absorption of liquids and the harbouring of bacteria, making it highly resistant to stains and microbial growth. 

‘Unlike natural stones such as granite or marble, quartz also does not require sealing, eliminating potential breeding grounds for germs. Its smooth texture also facilitates easy cleaning with mild soap and water, ensuring a sanitary environment for food preparation,’ she says.

Laminate Worktop

For a more budget-friendly option, laminate work surfaces may be the way to go. ‘Laminate worktops are often the most affordable option,’ Jen explains. ‘They are made by layering plastic laminate sheets over a composite wood substrate.’

As a result, Jen says, laminate can look almost any way you want – whether you’re after a wood effect or marble effect countertop. ‘Laminate countertops come in a wide range of colours and designs, offering versatility at a lower cost compared to natural stone or solid surface options.’

Despite this, laminate may not bear up as well as other materials over the years, and requires a fair bit of maintenance to keep it in tip-top condition. Molly says, ‘Laminates are often considered the kitchen worktop material that is least durable and most prone to damage. 

‘Laminates are susceptible to scratches, chips, and heat damage compared to other materials like quartz, granite, or stainless steel. The thin layer of plastic laminate covering a substrate material can wear down over time, especially in high-traffic areas or with heavy use.’ And that’s not all: the high temperatures in a kitchen can affect its quality. ‘Additionally, exposure to moisture can cause swelling and delamination, leading to further deterioration,’ Molly tells us.

But if you’re willing to take care of it regularly and maintain it as best as possible, it can be a fantastic choice for those who want to pay less for their worktops. ‘With proper care and maintenance, laminate worktops can offer years of functional and visually appealing service at a fraction of the cost of other materials,’ says Molly.

Stainless Steel Worktop

Stainless steel has grown in popularity in recent years, with homeowners inspired by the industrial look of professional kitchens. (After all, there’s a reason the Beckhams chose it for their home!)

The truth is that stainless steel worktops – while unique in design and arguably not for everyone – are incredibly effective for use in a busy kitchen. ‘When it comes to durability, few materials rival the strength and resilience of stainless steel for kitchen worktops,’ Molly says. ‘Renowned for its robustness and longevity, stainless steel offers exceptional resistance to heat, stains, and corrosion, making it an ideal choice for high-traffic kitchen environments.’ Not only that, but they’re incredibly easy to maintain, and need very little effort to clean. 

The downsides however, are that stainless steel counters can be pricey to install, and can leave a room feeling a little cold, and, dare we say it, clinical. Put it this way: if you’re after a warm, welcoming environment in your kitchen, it may not be the right choice for you.

But for those who are willing to be bold with their kitchen design, stainless steel worktops could bring a whole heap of benefits.

Copper Worktop

Like stainless steel, copper worktops may be a more unusual choice, but for those who want something more unique, it functions brilliantly in the kitchen, Helen explains, despite what your preconceptions might be.

She shares that its appeal is in its weathered, yet sleek look, as well as its beneficial properties when it comes to cooking and cleaning. ‘Copper is shiny and has an incredibly fluid, ever changing patina – it just looks rare and precious’ she says. ‘And it also has amazing antibacterial properties, which now makes it even more desirable.’

Helen continues, ‘It’s a really special product; so glamorously chic (and a little bohemian), with the power to kill pathogens in minutes.’

What Is The Most Expensive Type Of Worktop?

Modern kitchen with black cabinets and white stone worktops

Magnet

There’s a clear winner when it comes to the priciest kitchen worktop option, Molly explains. ‘The most expensive type of kitchen worktops often fall within the category of natural stone surfaces, such as marble, granite, and quartzite. While marble tends to be the most costly due to its elegance and rarity, quartzite and granite follow closely behind in terms of price.’

Why are they more expensive options? The main reason is that these types of natural stones can be trickier to source and less widely available. They can also be slightly more technical to install. This, combined with their stunning look and finish, means that they are often very in-demand, hence the higher price point. ‘These materials boast a luxurious look, durability, and unique patterns, making them highly sought after in upscale kitchen designs,’ Molly says.

But if you can handle the investment, you’re unlikely to regret it. ‘These premium options not only elevate the visual appeal of a kitchen, but also add significant value to the overall home, making them a great choice for the long-term, too,’ Molly explains.