Using natural stone – or a natural stone effect – in a kitchen adds a beautiful touch of luxury to any home. With its clean lines, unique patterns/tones, and tactile warmth, stone can enhance a variety of interior design styles, from upscale industrial to modern farmhouses.
There are many different types of natural stone to choose from or take inspiration from, including granite, marble, quartz, slate, soapstone and new materials such as sintered stone. And each brings its own pros and cons in terms of durability, maintenance, heat and stain resistance. There are also plenty of low-cost alternatives to consider, and the Schüller kitchens range offers high-quality laminates that will give the same look as stone at a fraction of the price.
Below we take a closer look at three of the most popular types of stone available and how to achieve the same style with cost-effective laminates.
With its many options in terms of colour, finish and edging, granite can be adapted to suit a variety of styles. You could choose a glossy, mirror-like finish in your favourite shade, perhaps with some flecks of sparkle, to make the countertops the focal point of the room. Alternatively, a honed finish with a matt, non-reflective surface will give a softer, more natural feel to worktops. Granite has great durability, hardness and heat resistance, and it’s usually finished with a sealant so is fairly low maintenance – although more porous types may require resealing. It only requires a little soap and water to clean but be sure to use a board when you’re doing any chopping – granite won’t scratch, but it will blunt your knives.
With its wide variety of colours, unique veining, and tactile feel, marble’s timeless quality will give any room a luxurious, one-of-a-kind look. It’s a strong choice if aesthetics is your key consideration, but it does have downsides. You may not need it to last as long as Michelangelo’s David, but marble is softer than other stones, so always use a chopping board to avoid scratches. It is also porous and stains easily, so regular cleaning and maintenance is important – even the oils on your skin can have an effect. It can be sealed, but depending on the stone, this will need to be redone regularly. These downsides often lead marble lovers to achieve the look with quartz or high-quality laminates instead.
A composite material made up of 90%-95% of ground-up quartz and 5%-10% of resins, polymers and pigments, quartz is durable and non-porous. It doesn’t require sealing and is resistant to bacteria, scratches, impacts and staining – cleaning just requires mild soap and warm water. It isn’t heat resistant though, so using trivets is essential, and dark colours can fade in bright light, so it’s important to consider where it will be placed. As the pigments are added during manufacture, quartz gives unlimited colour options, as well as multiple options of finish, and it can be made to resemble natural materials such as granite and marble. Quartz is a popular choice here at KDCUK – just take a look at recent projects completed in Hertford and South Herts for inspiration.
If you’d love the style and impact of high-end natural stone but need a low-maintenance, affordable alternative, laminate could be the perfect choice. The latest high-pressure laminates are a far cry from those introduced in the 1950s, and in addition to being cost-effective, they don’t need resealing and are non-porous, moisture-resistant, hygienic and easy to care for. Trivets and chopping boards will be needed though to protect laminate from heat and scratches. Laminate can also be used on cupboard doors, so you can expand the natural stone look to more of your kitchen, and even create a seamless design with matching worktops and doors.
Schüller kitchens offer a multitude of laminate options that mimic natural stone surfaces, including modern, sleek worktops in a range of thicknesses and uniquely stylish cupboard fronts. Take a look at the incredible looks you can achieve with the marble effect of Marble scuro or the lightly textured concrete/slate effect of the Alvaro slate range (new for 2022).
There are many more options available when it comes to bringing the look of natural stone into your kitchen, such as slate and soapstone. Advances in technology have also seen the emergence of sintered stone, an ultra-compact material formed by processes that mimic the formation of natural stone. Minerals and stone particles are subjected to extreme heat and pressure to create a tough, hygienic surface that’s non-porous and resistant to high temperatures, scratching and staining.
As one of the UK’s leading Schüller kitchen stockists, we know just what’s possible when it comes to materials, so why not contact us to discuss your options with our experts.