BENCH BLOG - A STARTING POINT TO SELECTING A NEW KITCHEN BENCH TOP
When renovating or building a new kitchen, you will need to select a bench top and the choices are many.
A process of elimination is helpful and to get you started, I have listed some questions to ask yourself as well as some available options.
WILL I STAY OR WILL I GO
Set an intention for the space.
Is this your forever home or will you likely sell in 3 - 5 years?
This question can drive your budget and although a new kitchen will help sell anyway, you might not invest as much into your bench top as you would if you intended to live there indefinitely.
The first step to a new kitchen is the design.
Most standard layouts are an L shape, U shape, Single wall or parallel.
The shape of your kitchen matters because L and U shapes have joins and this will disrupt a bench top that has a bold vein for example.
What is your new kitchen designs layout?
Take some time to research kitchens and pay attention to which styles stand out to you. Do you find yourself drawn to airy simple spaces or kitchens with a stronger character?
Getting an idea of the kind of space you want will help fish out some choices and refine your search.
What do you like?
Here are some options of different brands/materials out there and some pros and cons of each choice.
Granite is amazing because it is completely natural, literally cut out of the Earth. To me having that energy in your home is just beautiful. There are different grades of granite and the more you pay the better quality it is.
Generally granite is hardy with scratching and heat, chopping boards always recommended and harsh spills like red wine should be cleaned up quickly.
Something a client actually pointed out to me is granite can be quite loud when placing down glass and plates, so if jarring sounds bother you or your space is quite echoey this might be an issue.
Granite bench - Pinterest
There are many different brands of quartz composite on the market, some of the more known names are Caesarstone, Silestone and Archant.
Quartz composite is hardy with scratches but always recommended to use a chopping board. Some people say you can put heat directly on to a quartz composite but they can go into thermal shock and crack so it is best to use a hotplate. It is non porous but harsh spills should be cleaned up quickly and be careful with banging corners to avoid chipping. Quartz composite feels beautiful and you know what you are getting without needing to select the slab as they are manufactured.
Image showing Caesarstone, Excava - Caesarstone website
Concrete is cool because its so versatile, you can tailor it to add shells, stones etc, you can have it dyed just about any colour you want and because it's poured there are no joins.
Concrete is a little more high maintenance, because its naturally porous it needs a quality sealant which will need redoing every 3 or so years and needs to be taken care of in regards to chipping and scratching - however some enjoy the character those imperfections can bring much like an old loved dining table.
Aggregate concrete benchtop - architectureanddesign.com.au
Laminam is a porcelain slab, pretty much a giant tile.
Because it's porcelain it is incredibly strong, so it is scratch and heat resistant. It is the only thing on the market that I know of at the moment that can surely take a hot pan straight off the hob without a hotplate.
Its strength also means that it comes in very slim thicknesses, for a very sleek and minimal look.
Laminam - Thank you to my client for the photograph
Of course there are many more options out there, Bamboo, stainless steel, marble to name a few.
As you can see the bench holds some beautiful opportunity to create a soft serene look or punch of character, so it's a wonderful chance to express the life you want in how your new kitchen will look and feel.
While building and renovations can be stressful, do remember to breathe and enjoy the process of creating a space that you will love.
Have a fabulous day, designing your life x
Lauren Shiels - The Healing Spaces Project.