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Kitchen benchtops 101: tips on some of the most popular options

Kitchen Benchtop Ideas Worth Considering…

Having a kitchen that is well laid out and beautiful to look at can be pure bliss! But making family meals in a space that you loathe can detract enormously from our enjoyment of cooking and just make us feel frustrated and generally blah.

The kitchen benchtop is one of THE most important elements to the functionality of the kitchen. It needs to be super durable and of course, look good too. Some benchtop materials are lower maintenance than others for eg natural stone such as marble is super beautiful BUT needs to be sealed regularly to protect it from stains. So, if you can’t commit to this, then perhaps natural stone isn’t for you.

The other thing to think of is that benchtops usually take up a lot of visual real estate so you want to ensure that you’ll love it now and for years to come. So, there are LOTS of fantastic benchtop options available! Let me walk you through a few of my favourites:

Engineered Stone

This is perhaps the most popular choice of benchtop material for kitchen renovations. Made using natural aggregates mixed with resins, it comes in a wide range of colours, from bright whites to dark greys. It’s super durable and low maintenance. Depending on the supplier, the style, the thickness and other variations, this is a mid to upper range price point. But if you’re after longevity, this is good value AND it is good for re-sale too (if that’s on the cards).

There are also some fantastic marble-look ones too if you love the look of marble but not it’s upkeep. While most companies will send you samples (and I definitely recommend requesting these) there are some lovely showrooms to see the pieces in a big format. While a sample helps you see the true colour (because pc monitors aren’t always on the money) seeing a large piece – especially if you’re wanting a natural stone look – is also strongly advised. It will give you a clearer picture of the shape of the veins over a couple of meters. A couple of my favourite showrooms are Caesar Stone, Smart Stone and Dekton.


If your kitchen reno is on a tight budget then laminate is your choice - but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on looks. Laminate has the widest range of colours and designs that imitate more expensive materials such as timber, stone and even concrete. That means you can get the look you’re after without the expensive price tag.

Laminate is resistant to staining and easy to keep clean but is more susceptible to scratching and scorching so always use a cutting board and be careful with hot pots and pans.

Again, you can request samples from the manufacturers and the two that are probably best known are Polytec and Laminex.


Timber is definitely making a comeback because of the warmth and character it brings to a kitchen. The wide variety of available species means you can go light with ash or contrast light-coloured doors with the darker tones of walnut. Timber needs to be coated with either food-safe oil or polyurethane to protect it. Oil needs to be reapplied every year or so to remain effective. Timber is also susceptible to scorching and scratches BUT it can also be sanded back to look like new again, which is definitely a huge advantage!

Solid Surface

Solid surface benchtops are an acrylic resin with a filler of alumina. The joins between each piece of benchtop are invisible after installation, so it seems like one big slab of stone. You can also have the sink moulded into the benchtop so there’s nowhere for dirt to collect, making it easier to keep clean.

Another advantage is that solid surface benchtops can be repaired. Major damage such as heat scorching can be fixed by the manufacturer without the need to replace the whole benchtop. A brand name you might know is Corian. It is a pricey option but if you’re planning to stay in your home for a long time, definitely worth the extra if you can stretch to it.


Porcelain benchtops are having a moment thanks to their durability, versatility and affordability. They can withstand high heats, scratches and stains and their low porosity makes them a very hygienic option.

There are also a number of other benchtop surfaces worth considering. These include stainless steel, polished concrete, marble, bamboo and granite.

I recently created a 9 Step Kitchen Renovation Guide that gives a more detailed overview of these surfaces as well as A LOT of other valuable things to consider when renovating your kitchen. You can get your FREE copy by clicking on the link above.

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