Modern Alternatives To Granite Countertops

In the early aughts, granite was nothing short of hip and trendy. From remodeling older kitchens to new builds, you absolutely had to have it if you wanted an envy-worthy kitchen. There's no doubt that granite has had a great run outlasting most trends. But after 20-plus years — as it continues to descend into the outdated category — this is one natural material interior designers are now chucking in favor of more modern-looking options.

In fact, some pros suggest that if you can only afford to replace one element in your kitchen, make it the granite countertops. "It's a quick indicator of an aged kitchen," as Lathem Gordon and Cate Dunning of GoddonDunning said in an interview on Martha Stewart.

And yes, we all know picking out countertops that will have some longevity is a daunting task. There are, however, some attractive alternatives to consider if you agree that your kitchen is overdue for an update.

Should you make it marble?

Marble is a gorgeous natural material filled with eye-catching graining. It also comes in colors ranging from an abundance of gray shades to various deep reds and even rich greens. It can elevate an ordinary kitchen to lavish status very quickly. Will it work for everyone? Probably not.

Aside from being one of the more expensive types of countertops, with marble, it's harder to avoid damage in comparison to other types of natural stone. Because it is porous, marble can quite readily stain and easily becomes etched. Acidic liquids ranging from foods to cleaners that spill on marble are often the culprits. You must seal marble countertops annually, generally, and sometimes more often if your kitchen gets heavy use. 

Some people don't mind the look of well-worn marble that comes with years of use. But if this material just doesn't sound like it will work for your household in terms of cleaning and wear and tear, quartz countertops also hold their own as a modern selection. Quartz offers graining akin to marble, but being a manmade material that incorporates natural quartz, it is more durable and easier to keep clean. You also don't have to worry about the surface etching that frequently occurs with marble, and it's way more budget-friendly, too.

Darker alternatives

Have light granite now and want to go darker? While it's not as commonly used as some other countertop materials, you might decide to consider soapstone. This type of natural stone offers a rustic, slate-like appearance that contrasts nicely with everything from wood grain finishes to painted cabinetry. It's a durable choice that readily tolerates heat, so you can place a hot pot on soapstone without worry. A drawback, however, is that soapstone countertops need to be oiled regularly, following the manufacturer's recommendations to keep them looking good. Some people don't like the way the oil makes the surface feel, though, and they do tend to scratch fairly easily, according to Caesarstone

If you still don't want to let go of the granite, another alternative is going with a color like absolute black, as Lathem Gordon and Cate Dunning suggest via Martha Stewart. They prefer a finish that hasn't been buffed, called honed granite, which imparts a matte look more like soapstone. If you have polished absolute black granite already installed in your kitchen, you might decide that your original choice will suffice for a bit longer, as honing granite that's already in place is a super dusty proposition and something most people don't want to tackle as a DIY project.