The Once-Risky Countertop Choice That's Trending For 2024

When it comes to choosing a countertop, it's often about more than just looks. Choosing a durable material that will stand up to a busy kitchen is often a priority. Many homeowners want to install a countertop without worrying about staining, scratches, and chips. These qualities have made people shy away from certain materials, particularly marble. Though marble has a reputation for being luxurious and beautiful, it traditionally hasn't been the best choice for kitchen countertops. And white marble, which often shows most imperfections, was one of the riskiest choices of all.

Marble is highly porous, which means it will absorb any liquid that splashes or spills on it. Common kitchen items like juice, wine, sauce, and water can seep into the stone and cause discoloration that can be hard to remove. Marble is also a soft stone, so it's at risk of being scratched or chipped, as well. Though beautiful, the high maintenance of marble has made many homeowners rethink the material until recently.

Dramatic colors and veined marble are growing and are expected to be a major trend in 2024. While the aesthetic of a room is important, it seems like people want to enjoy their spaces and embrace living without the pressure of keeping a space pristine. Embracing the way a material changes over time now seems like it's becoming part of the home's charm.

Perfectly imperfect

The kitchen is one of the busiest rooms of the house and is very susceptible to spills. Because of that, homeowners want materials that will stand up to the traffic and work of the room, so marble counters have fallen slightly out of favor. However, it seems like new homeowners are embracing the future potential imperfections of marble kitchen counters. "[H]omeowners are taking the risk for the sake of its natural stunning veining and movement," interior designer Laura Williams says in an interview with Elle Decor. She continues, "They're more accepting of 'imperfections' that arise over day-to-day use, allowing the surface to show its 'life stories.'"

Embracing some of marble's imperfections over time can be easier with the right kind of marble. White will show stains, nicks, and scratches with ease, but darker colors conceal them a little more. If you plan to use your kitchen a lot, darker grays, blacks, browns, reds, and greens can help you feel comfortable using your kitchen without feeling like you have to worry about every scratch and stain. More dramatic veining can help hide scratches and stains as well. These darker colors also offer a bolder look than the traditional white counterpart, which is right in line with the dramatic countertop trend expected to rise in 2024.

Balancing the lived-in look

Striking a balance between embracing a lived-in marble look and maintaining the integrity of the stone is essential. You don't want to abuse the laid-back mindset and end up putting the stone or your health at risk. The lived-in look and embracing flaws should still have a level of maintenance. You may not mind if a knife slip causes a scratch, if something falls to create a dent, or if the water ring doesn't go away completely. While you may not mind a few stains on your counters, there are some spills you'll want to clean up.

Raw meat, raw poultry, eggs, and dairy should be addressed immediately. You'll still want to clean the marble with gentle soap and water before absorbing it with a towel as soon as possible to prevent any germs from seeping into the layers of stone. This will maintain a clean and healthy cooking environment. For this reason, you may also want to routinely seal the marble countertop to create a protective barrier to keep harmful materials out of your countertop.