How to use granite worktops in your kitchen design

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Think about your dream kitchen. Perhaps it's a capacious, welcoming room that will accommodate numerous family occasions or a chic, modern space that's perfect for entertaining friends. Maybe it's practical, enabling copious baking. No matter the purpose of your kitchen, you can be sure that it'll become the heart of your home.

When planning a dream kitchen, there are certain features that most people long to incorporate: soft closure drawers and cabinets, intelligent lighting and clever storage. However, one feature that seems to be on the majority of kitchen renovation shopping lists is a granite worktop.

Durable, hard-wearing and aesthetically very pleasing, granite worktops have become the pinnacle, if you like, of classy kitchen design. Friends will never fail to be impressed by the glossy, smooth surface that you've had installed and it's something you'll love for years to come.

Okay, so you know you want a granite worktop, but how do you use it in your kitchen design?

Measure up

First things first, you'll need to know exactly how much space you have available to play with. There's no point debating the merits of Blue Pearl over Labrador Antique until you know precisely where the granite can actually fit. That way, you'll know whether you have the room for a wrap-around surface or just one strip along the side of the room.

You'll also need to consider the strength of the walls and cupboards against which the heavy granite will be positioned. Are they strong enough to bear the weight? If you're unsure, ask your worktop manufacturer for guidance.

State your purpose

Having touched on it above, it's pertinent to consider why and how you will be using your kitchen before settling on any designs. For example, a busy family might like to extend their worktop into a breakfast bar, while someone without a dishwasher may like an integrated draining boarding carved into the granite. Cooks might like to have a splash back made from the same stone or perhaps a slab to be used as a chopping board.

These are all factors that should be taken into consideration prior to placing an order, as the worktop manufacturer typically obtains granite from the same block to ensure consistency of colour or pattern. To add something afterwards could result in a mismatch. 

Choose a design

Here's the fun part: choosing the stone. As granite is formed naturally around the world, there are huge variations in colour, grain and movement which present consumers with a wide range from which to choose. Each type possesses its own unique, stunning features, from dark flecks to glittery specks. The hard part is deciding which one you like the best.

Given that installing granite kitchen worktops is something that most home-owners will only do once, it's fortunate that granite is a timeless material which will never look out of place, which can't be said for Formica or laminate worktops. Neutral shades are best to work with, easily fitting in with different colour schemes as and when you repaint the walls or buy new accessories.

Determine where the cut-outs should be

Your sink, taps and hob have to go somewhere, remember. These will be worked into your kitchen design and 'cut out' of your granite worktop prior to installation. If you really are starting your kitchen redesign from scratch, then you're probably able to move things about a bit and replace old items. Therefore, you'll need to have agreed not only where you want the cut-outs to be made but also have picked out a sink, hob and taps so that the cut-outs can be exactly measured.

When you have made all of these decisions, your worktop manufacturer will send round a templater, an expert who will measure and make a template of your design. This template, cut-outs and all, will then be used to cut the granite into shape. 

Show it off

Once the worktop has been installed, sealed and sufficiently dried, it is your happy responsibility to show your granite off. With a high polish, candles and lighting can create a dramatic effect, producing reflections or highlighting sparkly quartz elements. Why not complement your worktop by using corresponding accessories, utensil pots, artwork or lampshades? Providing you observe the simple after care advice, there's no reason why you shouldn't be showing off your granite kitchen worktop for decades.

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