KitchenHome Improvement

Should I Choose a Dark or Light Counter Top?

I am needing to choose a counter top for my kitchen. I have light maple cabinets and the kitchen is not very big but it has a lot of windows and a big sliding glass door. I have looked at so many colors and I am stuck on whether to pick a dark or light counter top. What is the rule of thumb on this subject, or is their one?


Erica from KS

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By Diana (Guest Post)
March 11, 20080 found this helpful

I have pickled oak (very light wood) cabinets and I selected a granite look formica. I am VERY pleased with it. These colors seem to be the HOT new look. I searched on line and found photos of kitchens with my cabinets and then selected a countertop similar to the pictures I liked the best. Type in kitchen makeovers or type in Lowes or Better Homes and Gardens, SOuthern Living for ideas.
I have dark brown tiled floors and just love the look (of course anything looked better than the mauve counters I replaced LOL)

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March 11, 20080 found this helpful

I am not a designer and have no "taste." However, my last kitchen had light blue counter tops and I loved them. When we built this house, I painted the kitchen and adjoining dining room a sunny yellow. I chose a "mottled" blue counter top that is mostly darker blues with larger specks of a light blue.


The one I had in the old house would not look good in here, I think, but I liked it best. I could see spots on it and clean them more quickly. Good luck. Someone will come along with better thoughts . . .

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March 11, 20080 found this helpful

Sounds like you're already on the right track. For a small kitchen, it's usually a good idea to go lighter. But, if you have lots of light you can break the rule. Here's something to think about. Don't go with anything "trendy". That means, most things go "in" then "out" every 10 years or less. (especially colors) Right now the "IN" thing is dark brown. Next decade, everyone will be tired of the "dark" look & the manufactures will market "light" or "white" as the new "IN" thing.


You need to consider 6 things when you make your decision:
1) the size of your room
2) how much light you get
3) can you see THAT room from an adjoining room
4) what climate you live in
5) resale? are you thinking of selling or renting
6) what colors do you LOVE

We already talked about the first 2. As far as the third on goes. I's super important that if you can see from one room to another that you incorporate at least one of the colors into the room's colors that adjoin it. Number (4). If you live somewhere hot like Texas, Arizona, Fla or S. Cal. then you should use "Cool" colors. But, if you live somewhere like Seattle, Canada, or in a very wooded place that gets little sun, then choose a color that has a bit of "warmth" or "sunshine" in it. That means in Seattle (or a place like it), you'd want a "sunny beige" while in Arizona or Florida you'd want a "grayish beige". Get it? Number (5) if you're reselling your home, or renting it out in the future, then choose neutral colors. Number (6) You can't go wrong with a color that makes you FEEL good or that you absolutely LOVE!


* If it were me? I wouldn't go with EITHER a dark OR a light color (to trendy!), I'd instead pick an in-between color (that never goes out of style) Like a Tan, or Beige, (Tan & beige or golden beige also never go out of style!). Also, you didn't say whether you were using Formica, synthetic stone, a real stone, tile or wood on your counter tops. But either way, say in the mid-range when it comes to color. If it's Formica you're using, then choose one of their new "stone-look" colors, these have a wonderful "mottled" appearance & will hide a multitude of blemishes as the counter tops age. PLUS, they really do look like REAL stone (or real wood), at least from a distance. In fact we were strapped for cash before we fixed-up, then sold the family home, so we put in a "Wood-look" vinyl flooring & everyone that looked at the house (when we had it on the market) at first thought the vinyl flooring was REAL wood!


I'd go with something just a bit darker than your cabinets, but still in the neutral range if it were me. This way you can change your accent colors every once in a while & your neutral counter tops will still match. When it comes right down to it, you can never go wrong by using something "natural" or at least LOOKS natural like wood, or stone, or bamboo. Nature is most soothing, comforting & never trendy.

* Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for an "All White" kitchen too. All white also never goes out of style, always looks clean & fresh & an all white kitchen would also look nice with your cabinets. It's really all about YOUR taste! Flip through some magazines next time your in line at the store. See what grabs your eye, or spend an hour at the library looking through their stack of home magazines.


---> If you still aren't sure what color you want on your counter top, then go to an art store or a paper store & buy some construction paper or package wrapping paper in a color that's close to what you think you may want (or even a roll of wood-look or stone-look contact paper) Then, just lay the color you THINK you may like out on your counter top. Then walk out of the room for a few minutes & back in to the room & see what your first impression is. You can even leave it there all day to "get a feel" for the color. I think it would be a good idea to lay out 2 different colors & pick the one that you like best. This way, you'll KNOW you're happy with your color choice BEFORE you shell out the bucks!

Hope this helps! Feel free to write me here on ThriftyFun for more info.

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March 13, 20080 found this helpful

If your cabinets are light, go with dark counters. You need the contrast. Just go to any Home Depot, Lowes, or kitchen display store near you and see what they do with the light colored cabinets on display.

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November 27, 20100 found this helpful

Maple and sunshine make for a light kitchen. It's great to have good light.However, as written above a tan color with darker spots in the granite. If your not using a granite or stone surface make sure you pick a color that will blend with everything b/c trends change and your cost will increase everytime you redecorate. Good luck and have fun with it all.

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