Our Interior Designer Says This Countertop Material Is Secretly Dating Your Bathroom

Trends in interior design are always changing, some faster than others. Some trends may be the hottest detail but later become heavily associated with a certain era as time goes on — looking at you, popcorn ceiling. The materials in your home are one of the biggest items secretly dating your space, particularly because they stay in a room for years or even decades. So, if you're looking around your bathroom and can't put your finger on exactly what's preventing it from looking fresh, look no further than your countertops. "In my experience, heavily patterned or dark granite countertops tend to date a bathroom's aesthetic," Brad Smith, Interior Designer and Creative Director for Omni Home Ideas, says in an exclusive interview with House Digest. "These were very popular in the early 2000s but now can make a bathroom feel outdated due to their often overwhelming and specific style."

Granite rose to popularity in the 1970s and maintained that popularity for decades after. While granite is loved for its durability, an ideal trait in heavily trafficked spaces such as the bathroom, the trend cycle has moved away from the busy granite and darker shades of the stone. Other stones have grown in popularity, overtaking the once-popular granite. Similarly, color trends overall have moved from darker shades to light, and that affects countertops, as well.

Granite countertop replacements

If you aren't in favor of your current granite counters, you have options for replacing and upgrading them. "For readers looking to update their countertops on a budget, options like peel-and-stick vinyl or refinishing with countertop paint kits can be effective," Brad Smith suggests in an exclusive interview with House Digest. "These are DIY-friendly solutions that require minimal experience. However, it's important to follow product instructions closely for the best results."

Peel-and-stick vinyl is great for beginner DIYers and can instantly give your counter a new look with options that look like marble and terrazzo. This is also a great option for renters looking to update their space in a non-permanent way. However, be cautious about applying this material in heavily used bathrooms since the moisture can lead to bubbles or the vinyl lifting off the surface. In main bathrooms that get used often, countertop paint kits may be the better and more durable option. However, these kits tend to require a little more skill to use and require prepping and priming before using the kit, so it's a more involved project.

However, replacing the counters is still an option. "For those considering a full countertop replacement, I recommend quartz," says Smith. "It's durable, low maintenance, and comes in a variety of styles that can mimic the look of natural stone or concrete, ensuring a timeless appeal." Quartz is durable, water-resistant, and scratch-resistant, which has made it a popular material choice for bathrooms.

Bathroom renovation tips

While options like peel-and-stick vinyl and painting kits are a good project for people who want to DIY update their bathroom counters, there are some instances where you'll want to hire a professional. "I advise calling a professional when you're looking to replace the countertop entirely," explains Brad Smith, exclusively to House Digest, "especially if it involves plumbing or if the material you've chosen is heavy and requires precise installation, like stone or concrete." The cost of installing new countertops can vary. The size and style of the slab used can affect the price, as will any custom fabrication, such as countertop edges and cutting holes for sinks. Hiring a professional also comes with the cost of labor, which, on average, is $100 to $150 per hour. And if there is plumbing involved, hiring a professional can be between $45 and $200 per hour on average.

Updating your countertop is simply changing one detail of the bathroom. Smith suggests not thinking solely about the counters but how they fit in the bathroom as a whole."When upgrading bathroom countertops, consider the overall aesthetic and how the new countertop will complement existing elements like cabinetry and fixtures. It's not just about trends, but creating a cohesive, functional space that reflects your personal style." Consider how the veining and main color of the countertop material work with the cabinet color, floor and shower tile, and other decorative accents of the bathroom.