Kitchen worktops can look beautiful whatever your budget

Selecting a worktop has become a key part of the kitchen design process and there are numerous choices to fit every taste and pocket.

Budget is one of the most important things to consider when selecting your kitchen worktop, as prices can vary hugely according to material. Granite, composite stone and ceramic typically weigh in at the most expensive, whilst cheaper options available are wood and laminate. Laminate worktops are a great choice if you’re on a budget, as they can mimic popular finishes at a fraction of the price, however they won’t last quite as long as a hardy stone surface. A popular and trendy money saving strategy is to mix and match your worktop materials. Try combining more expensive and hard-wearing materials like stone in the more used surface areas, with laminate or wood everywhere else.

As a natural focal point in the kitchen, the worktops you choose will have a big impact on the overall scheme. When selecting style and colour it is important to decide whether your worktops will compliment cabinetry and flooring; choosing a contrasting colour for your surfaces is an opportunity to create drama while a neutral styling can create a modern, minimalist look.

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Above all, worktops need to be highly functional as they are in constant use. They need to be able to withstand as a surface for prepping, cleaning and often eating and doing homework so you must consider which material is right for you and your everyday demands. Be aware that wood and stone can scratch and stain easily, and while most surfaces are fairly heat resistant, wood worktops will require trivets. Ceramic is a viable alternative to granite and quartz, as it is harder to scratch and is completely stain and heat proof. The plastic overlay on laminate enables its easy cleaning, whereas glass requires much more frequent and careful cleaning.

Along with everyday maintenance, you should also consider the long-term maintenance required for worktops. Penetrable materials require more care, for example timber surfaces will need oiling annually. Man-made composites like quartz and granite are the most resilient, and along with laminates, they need the least maintenance.