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Countertop Trends 2021

The countertop is an essential component of the kitchen and bathroom. Some homeowners are even adding countertop space outside as part of an outdoor kitchen design. Action takes place on countertops which means that a countertop, no matter where it is, must walk a fine line between beauty and functionality. Countertops are often the foundation of home décor choices and there are few trends this year making choosing a countertop even more fun!

Solid surface countertops are here to stay and the debate between granite and quartz goes along with it. While granite is still a leading choice for homeowners and designers, Quartz is equally as popular for its versatility and durability. Created as a more affordable alternative to granite, Quartz has the benefit of being non-porous, thus not requiring sealing, and comes in a variety of colors, styles, and patterns. Lindsay Wiebrand of Vadara Quartz points out how, as a material, Quartz is trending for countertops: “We’ve seen a shift towards quartz, as more homeowners seek a natural stone look,” and Kerry Flowers of EXP Realty says both Quartz and Granite are still doing the job for most homeowners: “Quartz as well as lighter colored granite are still at the top of the list with waterfalls beginning to show up as a popular feature.” The important thing for homeowners to know is regardless if they choose Granite or Quartz, they can’t go wrong with either choice. Both materials are strong, durable and look beautiful.

With the popularity of Granite and Quartz, veining is becoming an important consideration in the design. Veining adds character to the countertop and is unique to every piece. A smooth, silk-like veining in the stone brings out the character of the stone and adds some style to the room. There is a trend with homeowners wanting to add personal character to their home and veining in the stone adds that special touch. With countertops coming in a wide variety of patterns and colors, material like quartz, granite, marble, and natural stone are all excellent choices and add a wow effect to the space. Veining also allows design creativity to show as homeowners match elements such as cabinetry, backsplash, flooring, and lighting with the countertop.

Another trend our experts are seeing is in the finish of the countertop. Both Honed and polished surfaces are popular and offer multiple options for design. A polished surface is traditional and provide shine and reflection enhancing the light in a space. A honed finish provides a matte look with little to no shine. The finished look will vary depending on the material type, but a honed look will have a low sheen and smooth surface. With a design trend in textured and tactile surfaces, a honed and leather surface for the countertop might be the added special twist in a design plan.

Our experts are also getting excited about color trends heading into the bold and dramatic. A charcoal countertop offers a luscious contrast to start white cabinets. Homeowners can go bold with color, veining, or patterns in the countertop material. If making a statement is the goal, a bold colored countertop is the perfect solution and can be a part of any design plan from contemporary to traditional. Our experts agree there is a move away from neutral. Esther Lovingood of Southeastern Salvage says “Warm color palettes” are trending, and Lorrie Harrison of Creative Countertop Solutions adds, “Colors are warming back up…the greys and whites are fading a bit and we’re seeing color coming back into the mix!” Mike Gallagher of Crye-Leike Realtors suggest a unique option with color: “I call it a soapstone look. Dark gray slightly matte look and feel with white veining here and there. It looks very elegant but also organic too.”

As far as materials go, our experts agree that Quartz and Granite remain top of the list, with quartz winning the race in 2021. Lorie Harrison says natural stone is a popular approach to countertops, “We are seeing a steady mix of both natural stone as well as quartz….one is not better than the other, they are both wonderful materials for countertops…and both have their own unique performance qualities and appeal.” Sarah Crawford of Keller Williams says Marble is making an impact with younger buyers, “I am seeing marble being a huge request, especially amongst the 30 something crowd” and Irene Williams of Crossville, Inc says the market is opening up beyond Quartz and Granite, “Both quartz and granite remain staples, but the market is really starting to welcome new materials like porcelain . We’re hearing from pros that they are guiding clients to more innovative materials. With designers leading the way more and more homeowners (including DIYers and those not working with designers) will branch out and try materials other than granite and quartz.”

We surveyed out experts about countertop materials and found out that, while Quartz and Granite are still major players, coming in at 85% and 78% respectively, materials like wood and concret are also making an impact. Survey results found natural stone came it at 50%, natural or recycled wood came in at 35%, and other materials such as acrylic, concrete, porcelain, and soapstone came in at 21%. One respondent voted for glass saying, “I have a client who would love to design a glass counter kitchen since it tends to lend a soft green coloration. She also wants to paint cabinets in a tint of green and do polished nickel hardware everywhere.”

Special countertop features such as the waterfall, square or bull-nose edges, and hidden outlets are gaining ground in 2021. Lorie Harrison says, “Waterfall legs continue to be a popular choice for islands and peninsulas capping off cabinetry for a clean, modern look,” and Jennifer Jones of Jennifer Jones Design, Inc adds, “clients are asking for very squared edging, full-height backsplashes, and hidden electrical outlets.” Linday Wiebrand adds, “The pandemic has brought wellness design to the forefront. Countertops provide the provide wellness benefits, such as nonporous material that prohibits germs from hiding in cavities and can be easily sanitated are in demand.”

Not to be forgotten, there is an emerging trend is seeing the backsplash create interesting contrast with the countertop. Sometimes this feature gets highlighted by running the countertop material on the wall. That said, the backsplash is an excellent place to stretch a design muscle and also stay on budget. The amount of material is smaller which translates to spending a little more on special materials or designs. Although subway tiles are a standard, our experts are seeing a shift toward larger tiles, patterns, along with larger slabs of tiles and tiles with various textures. Color, pattern, ile size, shape, and material are all options to keep in mind especially if the backsplash becomes a special feature in the space. Materials options include marble, quartz, wood, copper, stainless steel, and glass. Also, some of our experts are seeing a trend in running the backsplash to the ceiling because some homeowners are doing away with upper cabinets and have more wall space to work with.

Sustainable materials for a countertop is also seeing a boost in 2021. Choosing sustainable materials not only makes a homeowner feel good about the impact on the environment, but options are also getting easier to find. Most sustainable material countertops are made with a combination of 75% recycled glass and white cement making it free of VOCs and plastic resins. Color options range from neutrals to bold jewel tones and the material is durable and beautiful. Irene Williams sums up this trend: “Millennial homeowners are particularly attuned to making product selections that are sustainable. It’s very appealing to them when a material is responsibly manufactured and will provide the lasting performance and style that ensures it won’t need to be replaced anytime soon. Tile is innately green thanks to its raw materials and technical performance characteristics.”

An outside kitchen or grill area durability should be the priority as it can deteriorate fast. Don’t forget about appearance, but that should come second on the priority list or that investment will vanishing in an instant. Our experts say that while this is becoming a popular addition to a home, the outdoor countertop must be durable, waterproof, easy to clean up, and also gorgeous. Luckily, material options are plentiful such as tile, concrete, and granite, but our experts say stay away from manufactured countertop materials like quartz and Corian since they’re not created to resist fading when subjected to UV rays.

Here are a few special design tips from our experts:

  • We advise choosing countertops with your unique needs and space in mind.
  • Make a statement. Use your countertops to balance the color of your cabinets and floors.
  • Think outside the box…countertops are a custom element and can really add a personal touch to the look and performance of the space…make it unique to capture that wow factor!
  • Do handsome tops and matching backsplash, hide outlets, make a statement with your material and don’t spec ugly colorations, this is usually a permanent install
  • Turn downs! This matter to turn downs can make any countertop unique to any room. It gives the feel of having a massive piece of stone I on any cabinet or fireplace!
  • Elegant, simple, clean lines.
  • Consider countertops that invoke an artisan, handcrafted feel, while also possessing all of the wellness, durability and sustainability benefits that you want.

Overall, while Quartz and Granite are still top of the heap, options for countertops are opening up. Our experts all agree, do some research and make the best choice for your home and you can’t go wrong.

 There are a number of sources for countertop materials and design including:

Bison Countertops Ashland City 615-792-8812

California Closets 615-367-1030

Carriage House Franklin, TN 615-727-2564

Creative Countertop Solutions Nashville, TN 615-915-0718

Crossville, Inc Crossville, TN 931-484-2110

Crye-Leike Realtors Nashville, TN 615-430-5017

Decorating Den Nashville 615-469-7334

Dillard Construction Dayton, TN

Donna Burgess Interiors Murfreesboro, TN 615-394-1272

EXP Realty Collierville, TN 901-581-9381

Focus Builders Nashville, TN 615-517-5685

Grande Style Homes Nashville, TN 615-582-1156

Hermitage Lighting Gallery Nashville 615-843-3310

Jennifer Jones Design, Inc Nashville, TN 615-354-8907

Jonathan Miller Architects Knoxville 615-602-2435

Keller Williams Spring Hill, TN 865-223-3065

Markraft Cabinets Nashville,TN 615-360-2118

Milestone Surfaces Murfreesboro, TN 615-556-0596

Modern Surfaces Raleigh, NC 919-348-6679

Re/MAX Legacy Properties Lebanon, TN 615-804-9088

Southeastern Salvage Nashville, TN 615-244-1001

Vadara Quartz Surfaces Austin, TX 866-433-2229

Willow Branch Partners Franklin 615-306-7520


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