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How New Worktops Can Transform Your Kitchen

May 27, 2008
When your kitchen is looking a little dated and in general tired it is not always necessary to rip out the entire kitchen and start again. A far simpler, a more affordable way to change your kitchen is to replace the worktops. By doing this your kitchen will look fresher at a considerably smaller cost than replacing all of the fixtures and fittings.

Worktops vary greatly in quality as well as the materials used in their manufacture. Popular materials for worktops are granite, hardwood, composite stone and laminate. All have various benefits and downsides and also vary greatly in cost.

Granite, while being the most expensive can be considered timeless and is especially popular at the moment in kitchen design circles. Its strength is its main benefit although the price can put many buyers off. More affordable are the composite stone materials that are becoming increasingly widespread. The greatest benefit of these composites is that it is possible to find fantastic colours, making them a design feature in their own right.

For those looking for the simplistic element to their kitchen worktops wood is the material of choice. The woods used vary from oak, walnut, cherry, beech and iroko. Wood is popular with DIY enthusiasts as it is possible to cut and fit them yourself, greatly reducing labour costs.

Oak is a strong material and has a classically elegant style about it. The rich colouration and quality grain makes it extremely stylish. An added benefit is that over time oak will age adding warmth and a homely feel to your kitchen.

Walnut has long been used for worktops thanks to its beautiful grain patterns; the warmth it can bring to a kitchen is immense. For an ultimately natural style in creating a county kitchen, worktops made from walnut should be a major consideration.

Cherry has a rich colour that will appeal to many people. Currently kitchen designers have increasingly incorporated cherry into their designs thanks to the red colouration and the fact that over time, it darkens and becomes a sublimely attractive material.

If dark woods are not your preference beech should be considered, the light and airy sense created by installing beech worktops can make your kitchen a comfortable place to be in. If you do not like the oppressiveness that some dark woods can cause, beech is an appealing option.

A newcomer to the world of kitchen worktops is iroko. This dark African wood can make a stunning design feature thanks to its rich colours. It is also extremely durable sometimes being labelled the 'African teak'.

Once you have decided on which wood or stone you would like for your worktops it is strongly advisable to find a supplier that has quality materials at their disposal. Remember that the cheapest price does not necessarily relate to the best worktops. You should also remember that your wooden worktop will need to be treated before it is usable. Applying stain and protective coatings is an essential element to prolonging the look of your new kitchen. This process will have to be carried out regularly meaning that a wooden worktop can be considered quite labour intensive. If you feel that you are not up to the task, stone worktops may be more preferable.

Your choice of material for your worktops is essential to the renovation of your kitchen. While cost is always a factor, finding the right material should be your main concern. If you remain realistic about what you can afford you should be able to create a kitchen that will bring you years of pleasure.
About the Author
Interior design expert Thomas Pretty looks into ways to use kitchen worktops to renovate your entire kitchen.
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