The kitchen worktop is the continuous work countertop placed above the modular elements of the kitchen cabinet and connecting them to form a single surface. The functional side of the countertop is unquestionable: it gives a sense of continuity and homogeneity to the whole, allows to eliminate the spaces between one component and another, minimizing the accumulation of dirt and simplifies the cleaning of the entire kitchen environment, where hygiene is an essential element. In addition, a single countertop allows you to work more efficiently and safely position tools, raw materials and cooking tools. Finally, it provides a support surface for some small household appliances in common use, such as espresso machines, microwaves and any object you want to have on hand at all times. But the kitchen countertop also plays a significant aesthetic role: both the material used and the shade can change the look of a kitchen; the ideal thing is that the combination of furniture and top is such as to create a pleasant and harmonious combination that does not tire over time and makes the kitchen a beautiful place to live, both during the preparation of meals and at other times of the day. The contemporary design of the kitchens foresees, where the size allows it, large equipped islands, equipped with fires, capacious shelves and possibly a space to have breakfast or a quick lunch: in these solutions, the countertop has a prominent function, because it will also cover the central island.
Kitchen worktop materials
Over the last few years the choice of materials used to make worktops has increased: marble and granite, which have almost always been present in the panorama of excellent furniture, are flanked by natural stone, stainless steel, until recently exclusive to professional kitchens, laminate, Corian®, a component derived from high performance, pleasant to the touch, versatile, not too expensive and very easy to clean. There are many materials to make a kitchen worktop; in the choice you should rely on your own aesthetic taste, especially in relation to the combination with the rest of the furniture, and compatibility with your needs. Marble and granite have always been associated with resistance and elegance; choosing a kitchen worktop in marble, such as the white Carrara or red Sicilian one, is part of an important and long term project, which also implies a rather high budget, especially for large rooms. In interior design, it is possible to consider the top as a strategic element to illuminate a kitchen that is a little too dark: in this case, a kitchen countertop in Corian®, finished in light shades, could be a valid solution. Acrylic stone is another versatile and aesthetically pleasing material, perfect for a design kitchen worktop. It can be moulded in different shapes and solutions, to give rise to infinite combinations of remarkable elegance and aesthetic functionality; it is very malleable and allows you to create countertop without joints, easy to clean and repellent against dirt and stains, given the very low level of porosity. Resistant and durable, the acrylic stone worktop is still suitable for any style of furniture and habits in the kitchen, for more precise people as well as for those a little more clumsy. Stainless steel is one of the most valid components for the realization of a modern kitchen worktop, of great aesthetic impact and very functional. Until a few years ago,stainless steel was mainly used in the production of professional kitchens, where the entire structure often consists of this material alone. The reason lies in the characteristics of the steel: it is practically eternal, refractory to the formation of mould and rust, highly hygienic and easy to clean; resistant to impact, heat and the passage of time, even if subjected to intensive and prolonged use. To date, the stainless steel kitchen countertop is considered a must have in minimal and modern models, and in general in combinations with brightly coloured doors, with a glossy or satin finish. The production of integrated stainless steel tops for domestic kitchens, by expert craftsmen, involves the union of the top with free appliances, which are distinguished by their excellent quality.
How to choose the ideal kitchen countertop
To choose the kitchen countertop best suited to the environment you must first of all take into account your habits: do you enter the kitchen only to prepare coffee or are you used to living this part of the house as a realm in which to make every kind of preparation? This is because the materials used to make the countertop are different and each one has different degrees of strength; it is important to know them all in order to assess which one is the most suitable, also in light of the latest generation components, which ensure excellent performance, high aesthetic quality and durability over time. Generally speaking, the ideal kitchen worktop should recall the style of the furniture, so as not to create too daring contrasts that one might soon regret or tire of. A decisive factor is also the budget available, as materials such as natural stone or marble are usually very expensive due to the cost of extracting the natural components; therefore, especially for spacious kitchens, this should be calculated carefully. The solutions available today for kitchen worktops, in particular those using acrylic components, allow you to give space to your creativity and imagination, because the available finishes include a wide range of colours, materials and gloss. In fact, it is possible to lay a stone-effect kitchen countertop, or a wood-effect worktop, in solid colour or reproducing the grain of marble, just to list some of the variations available on the market. The variety of proposals also presupposes the designer's ability to combine the worktop with the kitchen furniture in the best way; at the same time, this operation requires an open and rational mental predisposition on the part of the client. It is now a vague memory of the times when choosing a kitchen top was reduced to the selection of a shade from a small sample of available colours. If, in fact, laminate is still an excellent solution for a worktop with an excellent quality/price ratio, it is also true that the available finishes are much more rewarding at the moment: those who love living the kitchen environment to the full and also care about its hygienic and functional aspect, find in the latest generation materials the ideal combination of beauty, practicality and respect for the budget.
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