Published on June 7, 2019

So you want to renovate your kitchen. You’ve considered colorful sinks, toyed with the idea of a vibrantly hued faucet, and picked out paint swatches for your cabinets—but if you’re overlooking your kitchen countertops, you’re missing out. Between unexpected colors and cool materials, there’s no reason to settle for the standard affair.

Maybe your dream kitchen has the best terrazzo this side of the ’80s, making it resplendent in the retro style. Or maybe you’re craving an elegant deep green marble, crafting a sophisticated backdrop for your culinary adventures. Either way, there’s a world of possibility beyond plain old counters—and if you’re willing to splurge on one part of your new kitchen, it should be there. After all, your countertops are going to be bearing the brunt of everyday usage, so you need to ensure they’re high quality.

Ahead, our favorite ideas for unique kitchen countertops—from the bold to the colorful and everything in between.

If you’re after an industrial look

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Photo by Nicole Ramsay for Kip & Co

Pink colors and concrete materials are not typically paired together, which is precisely what makes this kitchen island combo so eye-catching. The rosy cement is wholly unexpected yet fits perfectly with a more luxe backdrop.

Tip to steal: Play up the juxtaposition of an industrial material like concrete. Be it through a softer hue, such as pink, or through contrast with a more traditional marble backdrop, it’s all about balance.

If you love a bit of monochrome

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Photo by Asier Rua for Plutarco

Laminate feels fresh in this modern, vibrant space. It all comes down to the clean lines and uncomplicated design of the tiny kitchen; it’s proof that bold color and a small area can coexist and look great while doing so.

Tip to steal: For a monochromatic look, extend the color from your counters to your backsplash and cabinet paint. This creates cohesion, which in turn will make a smaller kitchen feel uncluttered and, therefore, more spacious.

If you’re the dramatic friend in the group chat

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Photo by Tessa Neustadt for Bobby Berk

Few things are as effortlessly cool as matte black. It’s definitely a daring choice, especially when you take a page from Bobby Berk and continue the dramatic hue all over the kitchen…but the graphic Silestone counters are undoubtedly the shining star of this space. Worth it? We think so.

Tip to steal: If you do opt for black counters, try a material or pattern that introduces a secondary hue to break it up. Here, the white streaks make for a high-contrast space that feels super-contemporary and chic.

If you crave opulence

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Photo by Joakim Johansson for Funkiskok

White marble may be expected, but green marble is a whole different ball game. It adds another layer of luxury (though to be fair, any form of marble would likely accomplish this), as well as a cool juxtaposition against the more modern pink cabinets. Choose this style for a timeless investment in your kitchen.

Tip to steal: Go for color contrast here with a secondary punchy hue. The pink brightens up what could otherwise be a very dark space; however, the lighter color breathes some life into the kitchen and adds another dimension. A lemon yellow would look equally cheery if you’re over millennial pink.

If you’re a frequent entertainer

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Photo by Prue Ruscoe for Madeleine Blanchfield Architects

If you’re renovating and have flexibility with your kitchen layout, consider making an island the focal point of the room. It will add tons of extra space for entertaining and dining in; plus, it creates a visual centerpiece, allowing you to keep the rest of the kitchen fairly laid-back if needed.

Tip to steal: If the rest of your kitchen follows a simpler aesthetic, opt for a bolder color or more unexpected material for your island. Here, a rich blue-gray marble anchors the space and provides a nice counterpoint to the more classic white backdrop.

If your personal style errs on the eclectic side

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Photo Courtesy of Hejm

There’s a certain kind of person who can pull off a vibrant, monochrome red kitchen—and if you’re down for something super-unexpected, there’s no reason why that person can’t be you. Here, a slightly abstract paint job complements the bold counters and cabinets. Red accents expertly continue the theme.

Tip to steal: The key to pulling off a look like this is consistency. This doesn’t mean you have to follow suit and paint the rest of your kitchen a bright red, but it does mean incorporating small touches of the same color here and there. Try a red faucet or some red kitchen accessories to bring continuity to your space.

If you’re a die-hard terrazzo fan

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Photo by Robert Sanderson for Play Associates

The still-trending material is perfect for kitchen countertops (see also: Caitlin Mociun’s stunning space), as it incorporates several colors at once and provides a surprisingly versatile base. Dress it down, with white cabinets and paint that emphasize the counters, or pull out some of those colors for complementary cupboards. Here, emerald green ties in nicely with the hues in the countertop stone.

Tip to steal: Terrazzo is a retro style, so aim to make it feel more contemporary if you want something unexpected. Pair the counters with sleek brass accents and streamlined silhouettes for a look that blends old and new.

If you’re all about tile

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Photo by Shannon McGrath for Hecker Guthrie

Full disclosure: This happens to be a commercial gelateria, not a residential kitchen. That said, this trending tile style is hard to resist. We first noticed it on these Instagram-famous Danish tables, and then on a public bench art installation in London. It seems the material is enjoying some serious momentum, and we think it would look rather fetching on kitchen counters for a graphic touch.

Tip to steal: Keep the tile going, either down the sides of your kitchen island or up the sides of your backsplash. This makes an already striking moment all the more impactful.

See more ways to bring color to your kitchen:
Maybe You Should Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets Many, Many Different Colors
Hands Down: The Best Blue Paints for Kitchen Cabinets
13 Really Cool Tiles We Found at Home Depot

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