Tips and Ideas for Installing a Natural Stone Kitchen Benchtop

If you're planning a new kitchen, you'll have plenty of possible benchtop materials to consider. One option, natural stone, incorporates a beautiful organic piece of nature in your kitchen. Here are some tips and ideas when picking out a stone benchtop.

1. Keep an Open Mind on Colours and Patterns

The colours and pattern on a piece of stone vary wildly. Not only will you have a wide spectrum of hues to consider such as grey, green, pink, fawn, white and black, but the patterns fluctuate also. Two slabs of stone may be mainly grey, but one could have striking green and black streaks while another is quite uniform with subtle bands of charcoal and grey. The intermixing of hues within a slab can produce a stunning or a muted feel. 

Thus, keep an open mind when choosing the stone and consider the full range of possibilities. You'll have no trouble matching a countertop to virtually any kitchen style and colour palette. You'll be able to create a focal point or to merge the rock with surrounding cabinetry and splashback. Or you could look for unusually patterned stone benchtops to create a unique look in your kitchen.

2. Follow Care and Maintenance Recommendations

Most stone is porous to some degree and will thus need regular sealing unless it has a lifetime sealant—check with the manufacturer and follow their recommendations. However, some rock is harder than others. Marble and travertine are sensitive to acidic foods and drinks like tomatoes and wine; thus, take care with these counters to wipe up such spills promptly. Also, place hot plates and saucepans on trivets where they can't damage the surface. If you'd like a tougher option, consider granite which is particularly hard, highly resistant to scratches and heat. However, it's always good practice to protect the benchtop with cutting boards and so on in any case. 

3. Use Stone as Design Inspiration

If you're designing the entire kitchen and are stuck with what colours to spread over the cabinets, walls and floors, you could use a beautiful piece of natural stone as an inspirational starting point. For instance, a creamy white marble might display veins of grey, and black—the basis for a monotone design. Pick out the grey for the cupboards, and repeat the cream for the splashback. In a granite slab full of beige, white, yellow, orange and black specks, you could pick out a pale mustard yellow for the cupboard doors, and install black metal in light fittings or other elements. The subtle and muted variations in a piece of stone can provoke plenty of ideas.