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The Importance Of Materials In Kitchen Design

Jul 11, 2008
Many consider the kitchen to be the most important room in the house, the family hub where day to day life is spent. When designing a new kitchen it is vital to produce a space that is practical, aesthetically pleasing and comfortable. Part of this design process is to find worktops that are sympathetic to the decoration and provide a feeling of luxury. The sheer variety of worktops out there means that the choice can be extremely complex; hopefully this article will help make this decision easier.

The material used for kitchen worktops is the first concern. Popular choices include granite, composite stone, hard and soft woods and the cheaper laminate. Naturally all have pros and cons whilst varying immensely in cost as well as quality.

The most expensive of the materials used for worktops is solid granite. The look created however can be considered timeless and ultimately elegant. The main benefits of this material are its strength and beauty although as it is somewhat expensive, many redesigning their kitchen are put off. If price is a large issue but you are hankering for the stone look, composites can provide the perfect solution. Modern manufacturing means that all manner of colours and designs are now available in composite, including luxurious black and even worktops that sparkle in the sunlight.

Wood should always be considered as the material for worktops for it natural beauty and homely appeal. The types of wood used are wide and diverse including cherry, walnut, beech, iroko and of course, oak. If designing a new kitchen yourself, wood can also be installed without professional services; further reducing the cost of the makeover.

Walnut is one of the most sumptuous woods used for worktops. The grain of walnut is so distinctive that many would consider it a design feature in its own right. Along with the warm colouration, walnut should definitely be a major consideration.

Cherry is such a dark and richly coloured wood that some designers are put off. As an original choice however it is unrivalled, while the deep red may result in a somewhat dark kitchen, as the wood ages its elegance and beauty truly shine through.

Oak has been used in kitchen design for centuries for its classical style and strength. Like cherry it will age gracefully and create a kitchen that oozes country charm and warmth. While it may be commonly used, the disparate grain patterns can make oak an original choice for worktops.

Iroko is a relatively new material in the world of kitchen design, it is a dark would that offers much. Sometimes labelled the African teak, it is both strong and stylish. Dark woods however are not to everyone's taste, if a lighter wood is preferable, beech can be considered a great solution. With light grain and an even lighter colour, beech can help those who do not like the oppressiveness of dark woods create a kitchen that is light and airy.

Laminate worktops, while not as high quality as either the wood or stone variants previously discussed are a far more affordable option. Modern laminates are wonderfully styled with a variety of patterns that can create an original kitchen. Requiring less maintenance than stone or wood, they are also the choice for those who want worktops without the hassles of staining or sanding.

The choice of material for your worktops is ultimately your decision. While cost is always a vital constituent of the choice it is vital to remember the importance of the kitchen space in family life at all stages of the decision making process. A happy kitchen means a happy home and the choice of materials can be fundamental in creating a space that is practical and above all comfortable.
About the Author
Interior design expert Thomas Pretty looks into the different materials used in the manufacture of kitchen worktops.
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