Given the numerous shapes, sizes and colors available, ceramic tile is probably the most versatile option (it’s also proven to be timeless). There’s plenty of room to play with patterns while still maintaining clean lines: stack tiles in columns, stagger them, or lay them at an angle. Most tile requires minimal maintenance, just be sure to seal the grout so it doesn’t get stained or absorb water.
Take advantage of being able to use the space above the island by adding suspended storage, where you can display a matching pan collection or your best stemware. You can also experiment with lighting elements, or if you’ve decided to install a stovetop with overhead venting you can use the space for the range hood.
Most people are after matching stainless steel appliances in their kitchen. Why? Because they look sharp and are central to a modern, updated design. Using stainless steel as the backsplash–either with tiles or a solid sheet–is a continuation of that same feel and creates a sleek, uniform look. The material is easy to wipe clean, doesn’t require grout and will last forever.
If you’re looking for a countertop that develops a rich, blue-toned patina, zinc is a good option. Zinc reacts over time with water, oils and citrus. The reactions are what create the beautiful, rich patina that is the metal’s signature. Zinc countertops are best left in their natural, matte-finish state.
For a custom, high-design look, choose two different countertop surfaces for your kitchen. This look was once exclusively used by chefs and bakers who preferred a designated, cold marble countertop in one section for rolling dough and stainless steel for the rest of the kitchen counters for clean up ease.
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