Material Matters When It Comes to Kitchen Design - Carolina Country

Material Matters When It Comes to Kitchen Design

Know your options


Material Matters When It Comes to Kitchen Design

For many homeowners, aesthetics and function are the primary considerations of a kitchen renovation. However, before you select colors and lay out your space, consider the durability of materials you will use.

Giving special attention to the material composition of your kitchen, particularly when it comes to the aspects that take the heaviest use — the floors, sink and countertops — can help ensure your renovation stands the test of time.


Though often taken for granted, the floor is generally the kitchen feature that sustains the heaviest use in the long run. Tile is an excellent choice for the kitchen because it stands up well to heavy traffic and spills. However, tile can also be slippery and can be uncomfortable if you spend long amounts of time on your feet in the kitchen. Ceramic tile is the easiest to install but not as resistant to damage as porcelain or stone tile. The latter options require more skilled installation, and stone especially tends to be more expensive.

When it comes to wood, one of the first decisions is whether you prefer engineered or solid hardwood. Engineered versions tend to offer greater durability and flexibility in installation while the texture and appearance of solid hardwood are its strongest appeals. Other variables include the wood type, which further affects the look and strength. Oak is most common, but other traditional selections include maple and cherry and specialty woods like teak and bamboo. Plank width influences overall aesthetic, with slimmer boards lending a more modern look.

If you want something a little less traditional, an option like foot-friendly cork or a modern take on vinyl may be more to your liking.


Identifying the shape and size of the sink you need can help narrow down choices. Classic stainless steel is practical and versatile. While stainless steel’s neutral color and sleek looks work with most kitchen styles, it’s most often found in contemporary kitchens. Hot pans won’t hurt it, and it’s less likely than harder materials to damage delicate dishware that may slip from your grip.

If you’re looking to make a statement, an enameled cast iron sink may be the answer. These sinks can withstand whatever your family dishes out. With a range of colors to choose from, you can go bold with deep hues or be subtle with pale tones.


Natural stone like granite or quartz is hardy, but engineered options offer even greater resilience. Options like marble or limestone deliver beauty similar to natural stone but these softer materials require more care and caution.

Concrete and wood are popular, stylish alternatives, but their susceptibility to stains and other imperfections may make them impractical for a busy family. For the budget conscious, there are ample, eye-catching options in laminate, which falls in the mid-range for durability.


Looking for more design ideas? Websites that provide photo galleries for kitchens and baths include, and

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