There are all kinds of materials that you can use in your kitchen to achieve all kinds of effects. When improving and decorating your kitchen, it can often be worth weighing up the different qualities of different materials to choose the right one. Below are just 10 popular material options in the kitchen.
Natural wood can provide an earthy and rustic look to a kitchen. An advantage of wood is that you can easily sand it and refinish it to remove stains and scratches. It can however be prone to warping if exposed to too much humidity.
When it comes to kitchen applications, wood is incredibly versatile. You can use it for countertops, cabinets, flooring, chopping boards and spoons. Choose light wood tones for a brighter look. Alternatively, contrast dark tones with white.
Most wood used in kitchens nowadays is semi-artificial. Laminate wood features a layer of melamine which protects it from water damage and makes it easy to clean, while composite woods often have layers of plastic inside for strengthening. These woods don’t have the rustic appearance of natural wood, but can still have an earthy look compared to fully synthetic materials.
As with natural wood, these woods can be used for everything from flooring to countertops. The same applies when it comes to choosing wood tones.
Vinyl is a fully synthetic material. It can be manufactured to mimic various textures and materials including wood. It’s very easy to clean and relatively affordable compared to other materials. However, it does not age well, and once damaged it cannot be refinished.
Vinyl is most commonly used as a cheaper flooring substitute for laminate wood. It is also softer and less noisy than laminate wood, which can make it more suitable in apartments and homes with kids.
When it comes to metals, steel is often the material of choice in kitchens. There are different types of steel that you can use – the most common being chrome steel and stainless steel. Chrome steel is cheaper, shinier and won’t rust. Stainless steel is more durable, easier to clean and doesn’t show fingerprints.
Steel is most commonly used for faucets and sink basins. It’s also commonly used in many kitchen utensils including pots and spatulas. You can also use steel for countertops, however, this can sometimes give a kitchen a canteen feel.
Copper can be a stylish alternative to steel. Its brownish-gold hue has a more rustic feel than steel. It’s very durable and has antibacterial properties, however, it does require more careful maintenance – you’ll need to use special cleaning solutions on it to prevent it from going green!
You can use copper in sinks and taps. It can also be used as a statement countertop material. Just be wary that copper is often more expensive than steel. Check out this Homedit post for more inspiration on how to use copper in your kitchen.
Natural stone is favoured for its luxury look. The unique veins in natural stone can give any room a distinct character. It’s also good at staying cool, very durable and easy to clean. There are many different types of natural stone that you can choose from including marble, granite and slate – each with its own distinct qualities and appearance. In all cases, natural stone is very expensive. That said, some types of stone are relatively more affordable than others (slate, for example, is a lot less pricey than marble).
You’ll often see natural stone being used in countertops in expensive homes. Natural stone can also be used as tile flooring. Larger tiles will typically make a kitchen look bigger and are easier to maintain, but are more expensive than smaller tiles.
Ceramic and porcelain are two materials made from heated clay. While man-made, they are still made from natural materials (opposed to synthetic engineered stone) and typically can bring a rustic feel to a kitchen. These materials are also not as expensive as natural stone.
You can use ceramic and porcelain for decorative kitchen utensils like bowls and plates, as is the case with these Verano ceramics. Such materials are also the most common material used in tiles – either on the floor or the wall.
Concrete has a more industrial look than natural stone or ceramic/porcelain. However, it can still be a stylish material in a modern kitchen (particularly when paired with materials like laminate wood and copper). It’s very heavy but very tough.
You can use concrete for flooring or for countertops. Concrete tends to be less expensive than natural stone, which is a big advantage. Check out some ideas here on how to use concrete in your kitchen.
Glass can also serve a place in the kitchen – and not just in windows. It can be used in backsplashes and cabinets. You can also use it in decorative bowls and jugs. And of course, it’s the most common material for drinkware.
Adding glass to your kitchen can help to reflect light and make the space brighter. Glass is also typically transparent, allowing you to display items in cabinets. It’s very easy to clean. Its biggest disadvantage is, of course, how brittle it is – if exposed to blunt force impact it can easily shatter. This is why you generally never see glass flooring or glass countertops.
Acrylic is sometimes used as a harder substitute for glass. It can be made transparent or opaque – in each case, it is good for reflecting light and is easy to clean. While much more durable than glass, it isn’t as resistant to heat, so should be placed away from ovens and hot appliances.
Acrylic is mainly used for backsplashes and countertops. It can also be used in cabinets – either transparent or glossy and opaque. Some people prefer its finish to laminate, although it can’t be engineered to have the same faux wood look.