Home Remodeling

Creative Spice Rack Ideas

A newly renovated kitchen with a drawer open, filled with spices. A mortar and pestle and cookbooks sit on the counter.
Nat Rea

Got an impressive collection of spices? Show them off with an equally impressive spice rack.

Part of the fun of having colorful jars of seasonings around is in organizing and exhibiting them in a creative way. And if you’re planning to use these containers as an integral part of your kitchen decor, we’ve got all sorts of clever and crafty DIY spice rack ideas for displaying your collection.

Wall-mounted Spice Rack

a kitchen with open shelving and a color coordinated spice rack.
Nicolette Lovell/Courtesy Studio PlumbEye-catching spices can do double duty as works of art on your kitchen walls. Display them in a decorative frame or repurposed pallet, or install floating wall shelves for a neat, minimalist look. Just make sure the shelves have a lip or rail for keeping the jars in place.

Magnetic Spice Rack

A magnetic spice rack inside a kitchen cabinet.
Nathan KirkmanA magnetic fridge or surface in your kitchen is the perfect canvas for a spice jar collage. You can always purchase ready-made magnetic containers, but for the DIY version, simply use hot glue to attach strong magnets to decorative containers.

Keep in mind that the jars should be relatively light and flat, so they’ll adhere well and won’t protrude so much that they’ll get knocked off by accident. It might also be a good idea to use a material that won’t break, such as metal or acrylic, just in case a canister does get bumped off the fridge—the kitchen can be a hectic place.

Countertop Spice Rack

A modern spice rack in amber bottles sits on a modern kitchen counter.
Dylan Bartolini-Volk/Courtesy EvermillGone are the days when keeping your spices on the countertop simply meant lining them up against the wall. There are so many beautiful ways to exhibit your jars now, such as in an elegant criss-cross rack, on a tiered bamboo shelf (that expands!), or even in a vintage-look rotating caddy. These countertop options are as attractive as they are useful.

Spice Rack Cabinet

Spices stored inside a blue kitchen cabinet.
Nick Smith/GAP PhotosIf you’re not so into displaying your spices for everyone to see, there are some clever options for neatly hiding them away. For example, you can turn a regular kitchen cabinet into a spice rack cabinet with a slide-out organizer or a tiered lazy Susan.

Spice Rack Drawer

A newly renovated kitchen with a drawer open, filled with spices. A mortar and pestle and cookbooks sit on the counter.
Nat ReaDon’t have a cabinet to spare, but do have a drawer? Organize your spices neatly using a spice drawer insert, which keeps the bottles from rolling out of place when you open the drawer.

Pantry Door Spice Rack

Spices stored on the inside of a pantry door.
James French/GAP PhotosLike a shoe rack that hangs on the inside of the closet door, a spice rack that’s mounted to the inside of your pantry door can keep your spices organized while saving shelf space in the pantry. To avoid the mounting hardware, try these functional spice gripper clips instead.

These are just some ideas to get you started! With a pinch of creativity and a dash of imagination, your spices can enhance not just the flavor of your foods, but the aesthetic of your kitchen as well.

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Home Improvement

Screened-In Porch Ideas

Screened in porch with a coastal design scheme.
Tom Jenkins/Courtesy Coastal Signature Homes

Extend your outdoor living space in your own unique style with these DIY construction tips and décor suggestions.

One way to literally live large is to increase your outdoor space in a way that lets you enjoy it more—and a screened-in porch can be just the ticket. Unlike an open-to-the-elements deck or patio, or a sunroom, which typically has solid glass exterior walls, a screened porch has a ceiling and, as the name implies, encloses much of the area with mesh. Such a structure protects you from pesky insects and sudden showers while welcoming light and breezes. If you’re ready to bring this best-of-both-worlds addition to your home or to decorate an existing porch in a stylish new way, you’re in the right place for ideas and helpful how-tos to create screened porch perfection.

Plan a Porch Project

Screening in an open porch involves installing framing around it and then attaching mesh to the frame. Measure porch height by width plus 10 percent to determine material needs, then put up the enclosure using basic tools. Though a fairly simple DIY project, kits and framing systems available at home centers make it even easier.

Rely on the Right Wood

Screened in porch with wood floors and accent walls
Andrew Hyslop/Courtesy Rock Paper HammerIf you aim to frame up a screened porch from scratch, purchase rugged redwood, cedar, or ACQ (alkaline copper quaternary) lumber to resist insect and weather-related damage. Be sure to use the appropriate screws, too: galvanized for redwood or cedar, and ACQ-compatible for treated lumber.

Screen Your Screen Type

There are several types of mesh on the market, suited to different environments and situations.

Fiberglass is soft, easy to work with (it’s typically found in kits), and rust- and corrosion-resistant.Extra-fine fiberglass offers enhanced visibility.Metal is sturdy but can rust or corrode in humid climates; aluminum will perform best.Vinyl-coated polyester screens can withstand scratching by furry friends, so it’s the best choice for a pet-proof porch. This thicker material may somewhat obscure the view.Synthetic solar screen fabric limits the amount of sunlight entering the porch, reducing heat and protecting furniture upholstery from fading.Motorized, retractable screens lift and lower with button-touch control.

Figure Out Flooring

As an outdoor space bound to get plenty of foot traffic, a screened porch calls for tough flooring. Soft yet durable pine is perhaps the most popular natural wood for a porch, but redwood and cedar will likely last longer. Ultra-low-maintenance composite decking boasts the good looks of wood. yet won’t crack, splinter, or require re-staining. Concrete, brick, stone, and certain types of tile are all hardwearing options, too, though somewhat susceptible to chips. And don’t discount rubber—typically used in playgrounds, it’s a good choice if kids will be romping on the porch.

Sport a Special Ceiling

If your situation allows for it, a vaulted or angled ceiling will add visual appeal. If you’ve got to go straight, consider installing a skylight for added illumination by day and stargazing at night. How you finish the ceiling counts, too. Beadboard will evoke tradition, while shiplap lends a more casual cabin vibe.

Select a Design Scheme

The architecture of your home and your personal taste will both influence your porch décor. Do you fancy the Southern charm of an old-fashioned veranda (rocking chairs, comfy cushions, perhaps a few vintage items like an old milk can)? How about the laid-back vibe of a Hawaiian lanai (tropical woods like ipe, tigerwood, and cambara, rattan furniture, lush plants, beach-y accents)? Or perhaps you prefer desert colors, Native American patterns, and touches of turquoise for an Arizona room.

rrange Accordingly

Let the primary purpose of your porch determine furniture arrangement. For socializing and conversation, seats should face each other, perhaps around a coffee table, just like in a living room. For more of a nature observatory, seating might be best set up along the wall of the house and facing out to the view. No matter how you arrange seating, include enough clearance from the door so that traffic can flow in and out.

Delight in Outdoor Dining

Costa Picadas/Courtesy Douglas Wright ArchitectsA screened porch is the ideal setting for al fresco meals—especially if it extends off the kitchen. If not, consider locating a vented grill on the porch, choosing a model with counter space on either side for food prep. In addition to a table and chairs, include a hutch to hold the dishes, glasses, and silverware you’ll use regularly in the space.

Default to Wicker

For durability, affordability, easy care, and casual appeal, it’s hard to go wrong with wicker furniture. Natural wicker won’t wear as well as its synthetic counterpart, notably pieces made of high density polyethylene (HDPE). Before purchasing, carefully check the weaving for loose ends that could unravel. While wicker tends to come in basic white or shades of tan, you can easily brighten it up with spray paint for a unique look; just be sure to pick paint designed to adhere to plastic if you’ve got synthetic pieces.

Boost the Breeze

A ceiling fan will let you control air circulation. Choose one that’s large enough (it will be most effective at cooling the area directly beneath it), made of weather-resistant material, and UL-listed for damp locations. Ensure at least eight feet of clearance beneath it for safety.

Go Natural

A screened porch allows you to immerse yourself in the natural environment. So if yours has a view of the woods, décor featuring earth tones, natural fibers, rustic wood, and plenty of plants will blur the lines between outdoors and in.

Provide Privacy

A farmhouse style screened in porch with wood ceilings, green trim and white curtains for privacy.
Tony Soluri/ Courtesy Stuart Cohen & Julie Hacker Architects LLCSheer, fluttery drapery panels lend softness and gentility while still allowing in some light. Let curtains hang loose for privacy or use tie-backs for an unobstructed view.

Turn It On

Lamps and ceiling fixtures UL-rated for outdoor use will let you enjoy your screened-in space once the sun goes down. But why let a lack of wiring put a damper on your nighttime porch party when you can hang plug-free solar-powered string lights.

Pump Up a Small Porch

Outfit a small, narrow screened porch with a space-saving bench or banquette against the house wall. Place a pair of chairs, perhaps at a round café table, on one end. A slender space may also be ideal as a coffee or cocktail bar. Pale colors will make it seem larger; and avoid accessory overload, which will just read as clutter.

Dream Up a Z-Z-Z- Zone

A lounge chair, sofa, daybed, or hammock will take relaxation to the next level. To further make your screened porch catnap central, lay in extra pillows and a soft, cozy throw.

Set Up a Swing

Feeling lazy yet playful? Indulge both moods with a porch swing! Select a two-seater to share with a loved one or consider individual swing chairs for a fun boho vibe.

Fire Up a Focal Point

Screened in porch with a coastal design scheme.
Tom Jenkins/Courtesy Coastal Signature HomesA fireplace serves as a striking focal point that can let you enjoy your screened porch once the weather turns chilly. Natural stone is ideal for an outdoor environment, and it can impart a modern, traditional, or rustic vibe to suit your taste.

Explore Pillow Possibilities

Stylish, comfy pillows and cushions will tempt you to linger longer, but certain fabrics and fillings are bound to get musty when used in a screened porch. So choose inserts made of water-resistant polyfill and outdoor-rated fabric covers. Other smart accessories to stave off mildew include polypropylene area rugs you can hose clean and a large fast-drying Turkish towel instead of a throw.

Let It Grow!

Plenty of potted plants—including fern, elephant ear, and even certain orchids—can thrive on your porch. Just keep them well watered (circulating air can be drying), and bring them in after sundown should temperatures in your area dip below 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

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Home Remodeling

My Sweeten Story: A Bronx Rowhouse Steps Up to Live/Work Duty

This pre-war Bronx remodel gives a work-downstairs space for its artist owner

Image of an entryway seating area with furniture and staircase

“After” photos by Kate Glicksberg for Sweeten

Homeowners: Steve and Lewis posted their gut renovation project on Sweeten.Where: South Bronx, New YorkPrimary renovation: A whole-house remodel in the Bronx reveals an in-home art studio and a vibe of “warm minimalism”Sweeten general contractor and architect, Shannon Reid of Reid Wilson ArchitectsSweeten’s role: Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and up to $50,000 in renovation financial protection—for free.

Written in partnership with Sweeten homeowners Steve and Lewis

Setting goals for a new home

We bought this house with dreams of a live/workspace that would reflect our style and offer plenty of room for our art collection. Steve is a painter, so having his studio at home was a life-long dream. We also wanted a place where our friends and large extended family could get together.

Image of two Sweeten renovators

Image of the exterior of a red brick rowhouse with black windows in the South Brox

We are Steve DeFrank and Lewis Holman. Steve teaches at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. Lewis is self-employed as a tax accountant. We sold our loft condo in Williamsburg after living in it for nearly 15 years to purchase a small townhouse in the South Bronx.


From a two-family to a single-family rowhouse

The engineer’s report on our 1882 rowhouse in Mott Haven, the Bronx, came back good, but we still planned on a gut renovation. The structure has three stories comprising roughly 1,500 square feet. The home had been divided into two apartments and had eight rooms on just two of the floors. We wanted to renovate and convert to a live/work single-family home.

Image of a living room with wooden floors, couches and floor-to-ceiling windows

Image of a dining area with wooden dining table, chairs and wall shelves

Image of a dining area with wooden table, hanging pendant lamp and shelving unit

We listed our project on Sweeten and began our search for design-build services. Sweeten’s introduction to our contractor and architect was a valuable service. As first-time renovators, our biggest questions before starting the project were about cost. In addition to an in-home studio, we wanted to open up every floor of the building with fewer walls and more windows. We understood that altering the building in this way would be an investment.

The plan we made with the architect was for the ground floor to be Steve’s studio and a water closet—a bathroom with the sink outside. The middle floor would be the living and dining rooms, plus a kitchen and a half bath. On the top floor would be our bedroom and a home office/guest bedroom, a full bath, and a laundry closet.

Image of a blue storage unit and pink staircase

Image of a Sweeten renovator sitting in his at-home art studio working at a crafts table

Image of an at-home basement art studio with hanging art on the walls

We did a true gut renovation—nothing was in good enough shape to retain. Our Sweeten contractors demolished down to the bricks and joists, all of which had to be replaced or sistered; this was necessary to allow removal of the central beam, needed to open up the ground- and middle-floor spaces.

Radiant heat and functional stairs

Throughout the home, we aimed for low-maintenance, design-worthy materials to evoke an aesthetic of warm minimalism. We wanted expansive wall space for hanging works of art. The ground-level studio interior is an open workspace with recessed LED lighting, a lot of artist’s storage, and radiant-heat flooring—which we installed on all levels. To bring as much light as possible to the studio, we opened the rear wall with an 8’ x 9’ three-panel glass sliding door.

We decided to remove the original front stoop and relocate the house’s entrance to the ground floor, which created some challenges. Our architect Shannon envisioned and our Sweeten contractor produced, a storage unit that divides the entry area from the studio space. We had hoped to save the original interior staircase and railing, but our Sweeten contractor showed us options that made more sense.

Ultimately, we closed the stairs from the ground floor to the first to create more wall space in the studio; we chose a vivid pink hue for the risers, which brightens the whole entrance. On the parlor and top floors, we went with a wood stair-rail that looks simultaneously classic and modern. In the end, we were very happy that we took our contractor’s advice.

Connecting all of the floors

The kitchen cabinets are custom millwork, the front panels are painted a green that evokes the palest verdigris. Our island, which has an angled front, is an homage to artist Donald Judd. We rented nearby during renovations and observed this living area coming together. Visiting the site at least twice a week, we loved seeing the gradual progress, sometimes glacial and sometimes lightning quick.

We understood that altering the building in this way would be an investment.

A dining-area drawer and shelving system provides storage and connects these rooms to the top floor, where the main bedroom and home office also employ coordinating storage units. We had fun with tile in the upstairs full bath, where we mixed matte and glossy tile in a range of sizes and colors, including chartreuse, dark green, and gray-green.

building exterior refresh

The elimination of the parlor-floor entrance led to an anomaly on the front of the house, with regards to the living-room windows. Because we replaced what had been the front door with a window, there was a size disparity between that and the window next to it. The architect’s solution—a modular window design, a component of which sort of flip-mirrors the smaller window to create a visual connection despite the size difference.

Image of a modern bathroom vanity and wall with green tile

Image of a bathroom vanity with black fixtures and modern oval mirror

Image of a shower with light green tiles, black fixtures and shelf for bathroom supplies

Steve and Lewis’ renovation advice

Throughout the job, we enjoyed a collaborative exchange with the architect and contractor. As first-time (and last!) renovators, we’d embarked on possibly the most stressful project of our lives. Luckily, we had chosen our team carefully. Our contractor and crew kept a sense of humor during a long, arduous process.

Our advice to other homeowners ready for a renovation: Anticipate bad news and delays, and roll with the punches. Be grateful for the opportunity you have, even when you wonder why you ever thought it was a good idea! And remember, issues that arise and seem monumental during the process get solved, and are forgotten once you move in. Now when we enter our home, we feel serene.

Image of a bedroom with storage cabinets and at-home desk workspace

Image of an at-home workspace with metal desk and white hanging shelves

Image of a laundry closet with washer, dryer and shelves of cleaning products

Image of a multi-story staircase with black railing and white brick walls

Thank you for sharing your Bronx remodel story with us, Steve and Lewis!

Renovation Materials

WHOLE HOME RESOURCES: Wall and ceiling in Super Matte paint; interior doors, trip/castings, window sills, stair risers, and stringers in Cliffside Gray pearl paint: Benjamin Moore. Radiant heat flooring: Warmboard, Inc. Engineered Hickory Heirloom, ¾” thick, tongue and groove softened edge, 5” face widths, Veiled White satin prefinished wood flooringCarlisleMini Orb stairwell lights: Allied Maker. Light switches: Lutron

ARTIST STUDIO RESOURCES: Interior doors and door trim in Super White pearl; studio floor and cellar stairs in Platinum Gray glossy floor/porch paint; storage cabinet in Pacific Ocean; stair risers in Hot Lips pearl; stair stringers in Cliffside Gray pearl: Benjamin Moore. Continuum 23 series architectural LED linear fixture: Alcon Lighting. No. 8 LED, flush mount recessed lighting: Dulanski

KITCHEN RESOURCES: Custom millwork cabinets: Custom by contractor. Cabinets in Antique Jade paint: Benjamin Moore. Dekton countertops and backsplash in Zenith: TK Quartz and Granite. Refrigerator, dishwasher, and cooktop: Bosch. Electric oven: Samsung. Discus Pendant 2 light over kitchen island: Mattermade

DINING AREA RESOURCES: Tolomeo variations light over dining table: ArtemideDining area drawer and shelving system: Vitsoe

FULL BATHROOM RESOURCESField tile, 6×6 in color P210 (dark green), 6×3 in color R203 (chartreuse), 3×3 tile in color P94 (gray-green), 3×3 in color S1 (off-white, behind sink): Pratt & Larson. Blu Bathworks series 1200 wall-mount vanity and matte white #SA1200-01m sink top; Duravit Darling New wall-mounted toilet; matte black single-function shower head; black Del Rp71751.Bl shower arm; black wall-mounted hand shower set: AF New YorkGravity mirror: Ex.T. Mini Dome light: Allied Maker

HALF BATH RESOURCESAdriatic 3×12 lava stone subway tile: Tilebar. Jason Wu sink faucets: Brizo. Nivis wall-mounted sink: Agape Design. Gravity mirror: Ex.T. White Darling New wall-mounted toilet: AF New YorkEndless Dome light: Allied MakerContempo II black matte towel bar: Manhattan Center for Kitchen and Bath.

BEDROOM RESOURCES:Drawer and shelving systems: VitsoeTolomeo variations wall-mounted bedside lamps: Artemide

ADUs or accessory dwelling units can transform into home offices, living space for family or as a rental, or a retreat.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten

The post My Sweeten Story: A Bronx Rowhouse Steps Up to Live/Work Duty appeared first on Sweeten.

Home Improvement

Popular Types of Kitchen Countertops

From granite to quartz, different types of kitchen countertops can deliver on both looks and performance

Image of granite countertops

After kitchen cabinets, kitchen countertops have the most style impact in the kitchen. There are many types of kitchen countertops to choose from—stone, quartz, solid surfacing, wood, to identify the most popular—so you’ll want to take a few factors into consideration before pulling out your wallet.

Where will it go? Will it be attractive if it’s visible from adjoining living areas as well as the cooking space?How will you use it and how often? Can it stand up to common spills and daily impact with cooking tools?What other features will it connect to? Will it look good and stand up to adjoining elements, like a sink or a stovetop?How often do you clean? Besides the after-meal swipe with a sponge, are you up for taking the time for regular maintenance?

Happily, whatever your answers are to the questions above, there is a countertop for you. Today’s eclectic kitchen styles also welcome a mix of materials, so don’t worry about everything matching. You can have one material for the island and another for the countertop, or treat yourself to a small slab of marble for a bar space, for instance. For best results, always hire a professional certified to fabricate and install the particular material you choose.

Below are popular types of countertops that Sweeten homeowners have installed along with the pros and cons of each material.

Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and up to $50,000 in renovation financial protection—for free.

Marble counters

Image of marble kitchen countertops

(Above)  Sweeten homeowners Lia and Chris’ kitchen remodel

Sought for its classic beauty and variety, marble still draws its fans among homeowners who want stone in the kitchen. However, it is more porous than granite, and this factor, combined with a high price tag—more than $100 per square foot, not including fabrication—limits its application to a few areas of the kitchen, like entertaining or baking areas. Remember that this particular material enjoyed pride-of-place in grand homes in the last two centuries, so if you are up for classic elegance that yields a timeworn patina, this could be the stone for you.


Withstands high heat Adds a high-quality, luxury look suitable for traditional or contemporary kitchensStays cool, so good for rolling out doughPairs beautifully with many other surfaces, especially wood and metal


The most expensive of stonesLimited in color choices—whites, grays, blacksStains, scratches, cracks, and chips more easily than other stonesRequires monthly sealing and may still discolor

How Sweeten Works

Soapstone counters

Image of soapstone countertop and backsplash
Above) Sweeten homeowners Janet and Jerry’s kitchen remodel

Soapstone’s resistance to heat and water, along with a muted color palette marked by subtle veining, makes it an appealing alternative to granite and marble. It also comes with a slightly lower price tag, in the $70 to $100 per-square-foot range. Soapstone does require care, like all stones.


Resists heat and waterColor tends to be uniform throughout the slabSuitable for sinks, too, if you want a blended lookComes in at the lower price spectrum of natural stone


Scratches easily and will show stains, which can be sanded outMay crack or chip if you aren’t careful when working on itRequires regular sealing and will show stains if not wiped up immediatelyDevelops a patina over time, which you may or may not like

Engineered stone counters

Image of townhouse kitchen with engineered stone counters
(Above) Sweeten homeowners Bellamy and Zak’s kitchen remodel

Of all the types of kitchen countertops, engineered stone is probably the toughest surface on the market. this material is typically 90 percent quartz mixed with pigments and polyester resin, then manufactured under pressure into highly dense slabs. Manufacturers such as Caesarstone offer a vast array of looks, including many faux granites as well as the whitest whites, blackest blacks, and some brilliant colors like red and blue. Claims that it won’t stain or fade or succumb to high heat make engineered stone the most popular choice for kitchen countertops, edging out granite, despite the fact that the cost starts around $100 per square foot, the same or higher than natural stone.


Most impervious of all surfaces; resists heat, stains, scratches, bacteria, fadingHuge selection of patterns and colors, including faux stones and custom colorsCan be manufactured into nearly any shape you wantRequires no sealing or special maintenance


Faux stone doesn’t appear to look like real stoneMay crack on sudden impact with a heavy objectCosts as much as real stoneSolid-colored slabs will show seams

Granite counters

Image of granite countertops in kitchen
Above) Sweeten homeowner Ann’s kitchen remodel

Granite landed on the kitchen scene a little over two decades ago and remains popular. It’s a close second behind the number one choice, engineered stone, according to a survey from the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Why does granite endure? It combines unique beauty with durability and low maintenance. The natural grain means no two slabs will be identical. While very hard and impervious to heat, granite is porous, so it needs to be sealed at least annually—easy enough with hand application by sponge.


Resists high heatComes in a range of colors and grainsEach slab has a unique appearanceMaintains its value if well cared for, including sealing annually


Expensive, from $60 to $100 per foot, but popular colors come in lowerShows wear from knives and spills like vinegar, citrus juice, and oils, so use a cutting board on topRequires regular maintenance, which a DIY project with a sealant and a sponge can accomplishWill crack if improperly installed or a heavy object makes impact

Solid surfacing counters

Image of a kitchen with black and white floor
(Above) Architects Can Vu Bui, Lane Rick, and Matthew Storrie’s kitchen remodel 

Twenty years ago, solid surfacing was the darling in the world of kitchen countertops. It still deserves consideration, as many qualities have been improved over time by brands like Corian. It is heat- and stain-resistant and comes in a range of looks, including faux stone, and lots of fashion colors. Because it has a little give, due to it being made of acrylic or polyester or a blend of the two, objects dropped on solid surfacing are less likely to break. It also can be molded into many shapes, including intricate inlays, edge and backsplash treatments, as well as furniture. Plan to spend around $80 to $100 per square foot, depending on the pattern and color.


Heat- moisture-, and fade-resistantEnormous choice of colors and patterns, including customSeams fuse together so joints don’t showMolds into just about any shape including integrated backsplash or sinkDoes not require sealing; clean with mild detergent


Can’t take high heat; will lose shapeVulnerable to scratches, cuts, and prolonged exposure to stains like wine or catsup; requires a cutting boardFaux stone looks don’t exactly resemble stoneNot recyclable

Wood counters

Image of kitchen with wooden butcher block countertop
(Above) Sweeten homeowners Lavanya and Regis’ kitchen remodel

Probably America’s earliest type of kitchen countertop, wood is still desired for its natural beauty and warmth. Wood can take moderate heat, but it will show burns, dings, and knife cuts. Fans consider the patina part of the appeal. Most damage can be sanded out; be sure to reapply food-safe mineral oil after any repair. Avoid installation in areas like the sink with prolonged exposure to moisture, which will cause it to swell. Clean with a damp sponge and a mild detergent. Hardwoods such as maple and oak are most commonly used as kitchen countertops, in a butcher-block pattern, which provides additional strength. Wood is a thriftier choice than many of the surfaces described above, starting at about $35 per square foot and climbing upward.


Easy to clean and repairGood for cutting and chopping; knives won’t dull with contactWon’t chip and objects dropped on it are less likely to breakProvides a rich look for a price lower than many other kitchen surfaces


Vulnerable to moisture, chemicals, and high heat, which cause permanent damageImmediately shows signs of useExpands or contracts with extreme swings in moist environmentRequires food-safe sealant and regular care to preserve surface

Laminate counters

Image of laminate kitchen countertops

(Above) Sweeten homeowners Dan and Mike’s kitchen remodel

While not so rugged as most other surface options today, laminate still has plenty of upsides, like loads of patterns and colors, and a thrifty price tag starting at $10 to $20 per square foot. Made of resin-covered paper backed by plywood or particleboard, laminate does come with its share of synthetics. To ensure your indoor air quality, look for laminates certified by Greenguard, like Wilsonart, which indicates they are made from low-emitting materials that use formaldehyde-free paper and low- or non-toxic glues. This fashion-friendly surface can mimic the look of stone, wood, or fabric, or any graphic the manufacturer can think of. It will last for a few decades with proper care, which includes no direct cutting on the surface or exposure to acid or chemicals.


Requires minimal care and no sealingAvailable in a vast selection of patterns and colorsEasy to cut and install in tight spacesWell-priced, particularly for a product with so many style options


Scratches and burns easily; sometimes impossible to repairSeams show, particularly on solid colorsAllows only drop-in sinks, due to their constructionAnything other than the simplest edge treatment will drive up the price

Stainless steel counters

Image of stainless steel countertops in kitchen

(Above) Sweeten homeowners Beth and Bob’s kitchen remodel

Of all the types of kitchen countertops, stainless steel counters are commonly used in commercial kitchens. This is because stainless steel can take a beating: from knives, high heat, most spills, and it’s completely anti-bacterial. You must avoid caustic chemicals, but since it’s water- and stain-proof, that’s not an issue unless you use it for something other than food prep. It comes in a number of finishes, including polished and brushed, which help hide scratches. Cost begins at the high-middle, about $70 per square foot. Dings and dents will show up and are impossible to remove without displacing the countertop. But if you want a pro-style countertop, those battle scars can be shown with pride.


Super-resilient material is water-, stain-, fade-proof and resists bacteriaNo need for sealing; cleans with simple detergent and waterIntegrates seamlessly with features like drainboards, sinks, and backsplashesManufactured to exact specifications, so potentially seamless


Not suitable for cutting; must use a board to protect from knivesShows the smallest scratches and dents, which are very hard to removeNoisy when kitchen tools come in contactFabrication will drive up the price unless you buy a ready-made sink and drainboard unit

Depending on how you use your kitchen, there is a myriad of options for those who always order take-out to the avid home chef.  Style and function combine for the level of care you choose to take on.

Ready to find an experienced general contractor to help with your kitchen remodel?

Post a Renovation Project

A well-designed kitchen pantry is crucial in keeping your kitchen organized and neat.

Kitchen countertops make up the bulk of your prep space—but it’s not just what’s on top that matters. Explore a variety of islands and peninsulas in Sweeten homes to make the most of your dual workspace and storage.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten

The post Popular Types of Kitchen Countertops appeared first on Sweeten.

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