Countertop Considerations

The kitchen in a D.C. condo remodel

The kitchen in a D.C. condo remodel

You don’t have to watch shows like “House Hunters” for long to realize that, as Americans, we are obsessed with our countertops. Aside from wanting a particular material, though, there’s plenty to consider when it comes to your countertops. Unlike your cabinet doors, this surface is the work horse of your kitchen. You don’t want something that’s just pretty — you want it to hold up to heavy use and make your prep time more enjoyable and your clean-up easier and shorter.

An Ideal Countertop Height

If you’ve spent any time at all standing in a kitchen to chop veggies, decorate cakes, or even just throw together a casserole, you know that countertop height matters! Average countertop height is 36 inches. Especially if you’re taller or shorter than average, back, neck and shoulder pain can quickly creep in if the countertop height is not your ideal. If you’re ordering custom cabinets, anyway, why not discover what your optimal countertop height is before going with the status quo? Your back may thank you, and you’ll enjoy your time in your gorgeous new kitchen all the more. From shorter or taller countertops to ones that accommodate wheelchairs, experts agree that resale value shouldn’t be your main motivation for countertop height: Build a kitchen that works for you. Chances are that the home’s next buyer will prefer a different cabinet finish and countertop material or color choice, anyway.

Closeup of countertop & backsplash

Closeup of countertop & backsplash

A Functional and Beautiful Backsplash

If you’ve ever had a painted drywall surface to field stray pasta sauce splashes, you know how functional an easy-to-clean backsplash can be. Unlike yesterday’s backsplashes, which were only four inches high (except for behind the range), today’s backsplashes are major design focal points that extend between countertops and upper cabinetry throughout the kitchen. While the backsplash isn’t technically part of the countertop, it’s a visual extension of it. As such, you want something that either contrasts or blends well with your countertop coloring. Which way to go depends somewhat on how your cabinets visually compare to your countertops. For surfaces, think stainless steel, stone, tile, or even bamboo; you could even use something similar to your kitchen flooring.

Creative Storage Solutions

Under-cabinet storage and lighting can play a major part in helping your countertop to remain the beautiful, clutter-free workspace you desire. Of course, a built-in microwave is a great space-saver, but the possibilities don’t end there. Under-cabinet storage or backsplash accessories can provide a solution for almost anything that clutters up your countertops: dish soap, coffee makers, spices, cooking utensils, knives, and even TVs or other electronics.

As you can see, there’s much more about your new countertops to consider than the material they’re made of. From the comfort that comes with optimal height to the easy-to-clean, attention-getting backsplash and then the kind of storage that helps you keep your countertops free from clutter, you’ll be glad if you explore all your options before settling on a kitchen design.

D.R. Hartman Construction Inc

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