Most worktops have to be templated and fabricated prior to fitting – your retailer, designer or architect will coordinate this for you. You can also buy from timber or stone yards. You may get a good deal from them but you’ll need to find a fitter at an additional cost.
If this is too daunting, choose a company that offers fabrication and fitting as part of the price. If you’re buying stone, remember that you get what you pay for, so avoid poor-quality grades.
Laminate worktops are the easiest to install and can be fitted by competent DIYer. Choose standard designs from DIY warehouses or stores such as Ikea. The latest laminates boast textured, tactile finishes. Choose slimline profiles for an on-trend look; you’ll find laminate worktops of just 16mm thick from manufacturers such as Nolte.
1 Mix contrasting materials to define different areas. Stone worktops have a cool surface that’s perfect for pastry making, composites work well as wet areas or dining tables and stainless steel is ideal around a hob; soften its look with wood.
2 Consider overlay worktops for an easy update (available from companies such as Granite Transformations). They mimic the look of stone but are at least two-thirds lighter and can be installed on top of existing surfaces. Check out the worktops in this kitchen below:
3 Busy family spaces should be low maintenance. Steer clear of reflective materials and opt for smooth, non-porous surfaces (laminates, composites, or solid surfaces) that are quick to clean.