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Kitchen Worktop Ideas: 11 Clever Ways to Make Your Surfaces Work Harder

kitchen worktop ideas
(Image credit: Pullcast)

Your kitchen worktop ideas will play a huge role in defining the way your kitchen design looks and works. Work surfaces have to be very hardworking and able to withstand everything that a practical space throws at them, such as spills, high temperatures and sharp utensils.

However, worktops don't just fulfil a utilitarian role, they also form an integral part of the way your kitchen looks. 

(MORE: Best Kitchen Worktops)

The materials you choose for your kitchen worktops need to be carefully selected with both practicality and aesthetics in mind and very often a combination of kitchen worktops materials works best to ensure that you are able to achieve the overall look you want without the need for constant maintenance or repair work to your work surfaces. 

Here, we showcase some of the most inspirational kitchen worktop ideas out there, proving that practical can be beautiful.  

1. Mix and Match Kitchen Worktop Ideas

kitchen worktop materials

This large kitchen island, from Brayer Design, features a composite worktop around the hob and sink areas and a timber work surface section for the dining area.  (Image credit: Brayer Design)

Certain worktop materials perform better than others in different areas of the kitchen. When it comes to planning your kitchen design, think about how you will use each section and then take time to consider the type of work surface that will meet your needs.

Wooden worktops look beautiful and really warm up a space yet they don't withstand frequent exposure to water or hot pans well and can require upkeep in the form of oiling or sanding in order to hang on to their good looks. For this reason, it is wise to limit the use of wooden worktops to areas reserved for dining or working at and use a more durable worktop material, such as a quartz composite, stainless steel or granite around the cooking and food prep areas and sink. 

Combining different materials is also a great kitchen worktop idea for the interest it adds to the overall look of a kitchen, breaking up the space and adding character. 

2. Incorporate Extraction into Your Worktops 

downdraught extraction in a kitchen worktop

A downdraught extractor, such as this sleek model from Falmec, is a great idea for kitchen islands as the ducting runs under the floor.  (Image credit: Falmec)

One kitchen worktop idea we really love is to incorporate your cooker hood into the work surface. This type of extraction can be carried out by a downdraught extractor. These rise up from the worktop with all ducting running under the flooring or along the back of the units.

3. Multi-tasking Kitchen Worktop Ideas

kitchen breakfast bar worktop

This kitchen worktop is from Rational and combines materials and different sized sections to ensure it works perfectly in this space.  (Image credit: Rational)

Worktops don't have to simply run in a straight line from one point to another. Very often including sections that protrude out or are raised can make sense, providing a spot to rest with a drink, to sit a laptop on or for homework. 

Play around with various designs and speak to your kitchen supplier in order to come up with a customised approach. 

4. Try This All-in-one Worktop and Window Sill

kitchen worktop idea including a window sill

This sleek grey kitchen from Harvey Jones features a worktop that continues behind the sink to form the window cill.  (Image credit: Harvey Jones)

A really sleek and stylish kitchen worktop idea is to continue your work surface right up to your window frame, forgoing the usual raised window sill. This gives a pleasingly seamless, contemporary finish. 

5. Wrap Around Kitchen Worktops

grey kitchen worktops

The Cucina Colore Futura kitchen, from Mereway Kitchens, shown in concrete and tobacco oak, has here been designed so that the worktop appears to fold and wrap over the drawer fronts and end panels for a bold, uniform look.  (Image credit: Mereway Kitchens)

Consider continuing your worktop material down the sides of your unit runs or a kitchen island unit for a really solid, striking approach. You could even opt for a kitchen design that allows for drawer and unit fronts in a matching material for a completely cohesive look. 

(MORE: Designing a Kitchen Island)

Timber, composites, gloss finishes and even metal all work well to give stunning results. 

6. Pick Practical Yet Beautiful Worktops

marble kitchen worktop with belfast sink

This forest green kitchen from Wren Kitchens features stunning quartz worktops that not only show off the double belfast sink and gold swan neck tap perfectly but are also a highly durable option. (Image credit: Wren Kitchens)

The best kitchen worktop ideas are practical too. Your choice of worktop material is key here. Use a material that can withstand water, heat and stains around the sink in order to ensure that it remains looking good no matter what your cooking habits throw at it. 

Granite, composites, some high quality laminate worktops and metal are all great choices. 

7. Add Character with Copper Worktops

copper kitchen worktop ideas

This rustic, industrial style kitchen was by The Main Company. The kitchen island features a stunning copper work top with an under-mounted concrete sink, flanked by a pine bar.  (Image credit: The Main Company)

Metal in the form of stainless steel has long been the beloved worktop material of professional chefs, but different metals are now enjoying popularity too.

Copper lends a warm, characterful feel to the kitchen yet manages to look modern at the same time. 

Zinc is another option and suits industrial chic style spaces particularly well. 

8. Consider Polished Concrete Kitchen Worktops

concrete kitchen worktop

In this renovation project, the kitchen was designed and installed by Arnold's Kitchens. All the concrete was mixed and poured in situ, before being smoothed. Details such as the sink’s draining channels were then cut by hand. (Image credit: simon burt)

Polished concrete is a fantastic worktop material, being durable and perfect for creating an industrial modern look. If you want colours other than whites and greys, colour pigments can be added. 

Although it looks really striking, bear in mind that as a porous material, even when sealed, concrete can be prone to stains and scratches so a good worktop protector is recommended.

9. Curved Ideas for Kitchen Worktops

curved kitchen worktop idea

In this Shaker kitchen from Martin Moore, a curved section of timber worktop sits in contrast to the granite worktop used elsewhere and creates a sociable seating space.  (Image credit: Martin Moore)

Curves work really well in awkwardly shaped or small kitchens, where their softer lines help detract the eye from the proportions of the room. Curved worktops are also a good idea for those with small children as their rounded edges are a little more forgiving. 

(MORE: Small Kitchen Ideas)

10. Use Split Level Kitchen Worktops on an Island 

split level kitchen worktop ideas

Not only does this blue kitchen island from Wren Kitchens feature a handy built-in wine rack, but it also incorporates a raised worktop section at the perfect height for the stools, making it great for casual entertaining.  (Image credit: Wren Kitchens)

Including a raised worktop section on a breakfast bar or kitchen island has several benefits. One is that it makes it possible to hide kitchen clutter and dirty dishes away from those on the other side, and the other is the way in which it instantly creates a sociable, entertaining space at which to lean at or perch by on a stool. 

11. Installing Lighting Under Your Kitchen Worktop

illuminated kitchen work surfaces

This contemporary kitchen features contour LED strips from John Cullen to create a layer of light under the kitchen island, with low glare Polespring downlights for focused lighting on the surface of the worktop. (Image credit: John Cullen)

Turn your kitchen worktops into a feature by ensuring they are well lit. Overhead adjustable spots or recessed downlights targeted at the food prep areas of your worktop will ensure the space works on a practical level, while 'fun' and mood lighting, such as concealed LED strips beneath or around the edge of your worktop will really bring the space to life visually. 

(MORE: Kitchen Lighting Ideas)

Natasha is Homebuilding & Renovating’s Associate Editor. She is at the end of the DIY renovation and extension of an Edwardian cottage.