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Tips for Choosing the Right Countertop

There are many more options for countertops than laminate. Here are some tips on how to choose a countertop that's right for you.

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stainless steel is good choice for galley kitchen
Photo 1 of 4The reflective qualities of stainless steel make it a good choice for a small galley kitchen. The countertop extends up the wall and around the window.

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When choosing material for a kitchen countertop we usually think of laminate -- or stone, if the budget allows. Architects Ernesto Santalla and Andreas Charalambous of Forma Design in Washington, D.C., think a bit outside the box in their quest for countertop materials that are functional and durable but also unusual.

When selecting countertop material, the two men first look at the home's overall decorating scheme. This helps them choose a finish appropriate to the rest of the decor. Many of their clients are willing to consider less common countertop materials such as stainless steel, concrete, zinc and copper.

Stainless steel is a hardworking surface that's as easy to maintain as it is beautiful. Its reflective qualities make it an especially good choice for a small kitchen, reflecting both natural and artificial light and making a small space feel larger. A stainless-steel surface reflects the colors of the room as well. It can also extend up the wall and act as a backsplash, and can even be used to cover an entire wall. This functional material gives a space a clean and elegant look.

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