Whether you are a culinary whizz in the kitchen, or more the type to heat up some Heinz and pop some bread in the toaster when in a hurry, the design and layout of your kitchen can either help or hinder your processes (and yes we think beans on toast does include a process!)

However, while many homeowners think long and hard about a kitchen design which will suit their cooking style, it’s often easy to overlook how the worktop you choose will impact on your use of your kitchen space. Or even more importantly, how you use your kitchen may affect the wear and tear of your worktops.

While it’s essential that you choose a worktop that offers a look that’s aesthetically pleasing, choosing the right material to suit your lifestyle will ensure that you have a kitchen that will last you for a long time to come.

With a plethora of materials on offer, wood, stone, concrete, composites or even stainless steel, it can be overwhelming when trying to decide on the right worktop for your needs.

Thinking about how you intend to use your kitchen, and your cooking style will enable you to make a better informed choice when it comes to choosing your worktops, so read on to discover which worktop may be right for you.

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How Do You Use Your Kitchen

Before you get your heart set on a specific material for your kitchen worktop, it’s worth considering exactly how you plan to use your kitchen and your cooking style.

Are you likely to want to put hot pans directly onto your work surfaces? Are you happy to spend time maintaining your kitchen worktops, undertaking tasks such as oiling a wooden worktop or polishing glass. What about staining? Do you tend to splash around with water, wine or food?

Getting a good understanding of how you tend to use the kitchen and what’s important to you will help you to choose the right material which you will love forever.

Kitchen Worktop Materials

While there are a range of sub-categories, the main choices on offer when it comes to work top materials are stone, wood, man-made composites, glass, concrete, stainless steel or laminate.

Natural stone and gives a high quality finish, but can be difficult to maintain, requiring regular sealing and maintenance. Man made materials such as Corian or quartz are easier to look after but still give a great finish.

Laminate worktops are the most popular choice for most households, blending ease of maintenance with of course an more affordable cost, and can mimic most of the other materials.

Of increasing popularity are alternatives such as stainless steel or glass, which while expensive, give a contemporary look.

The Spice Loving Chef

If you love to infuse your recipes with exotic, brightly coloured spices, love to stir fry over a high heat with flames bursting up the sides of the pan and love nothing better than experimenting with colourful ingredients, then it’s probably the case that a white, porous material isn’t ideal for your kitchen worktops!

If you regularly use ingredients such as turmeric, paprika or chilli powder, which are likely to stain more delicate surfaces, then consider choosing a kitchen worktop in materials such as glass, stainless steel or Corian.

Laminate worktops, the most popular choice in the UK, are easy to keep clean, but are easily damaged by heat, so if you like to pop those high heat pans on the side, choose a different material, or invest in a trivet.

The Entertainer

Is your kitchen a place to host dinner parties, entertain guests and generally enjoy socialising? If so, you are probably looking for a worktop which will both “wow” but also be able to withstand those pesky drips and stains that come from a less than careful guest.

Stone materials including quartz, granite and ceramics can seamlessly blend the balance between looking fantastic, but being durable enough to allow for the occasional spill. Avoid materials such as glass or stainless steel which are more likely to suffer watermark damage.

Remember natural stone is porous, so ensure that it is treated regularly to avoid issues with watermarks.

The Family Cook

The chances are, if you are cooking for the family, you need a kitchen worktop which is both easy to keep clean and highly durable. High gloss kitchen units, and easily cracked work surfaces are not the way to go if you want to stay calm in the kitchen with children.

Laminate worktops can offer durability mixed with practicality, while a timeless classic such as granite can also be a great option.

Whatever your style, you can find a worktop that will work well with your needs, both in practical terms and design.