The '90s Kitchen Trend That's Reemerging in New Ways This Year
There are some design finishes that can elicit fear in the hearts of designers and homeowners everywhere by uttering just a single phrase. "Carpet in the bathroom" gives us hives; "Spongepainted walls" makes us wince. And, for many, "granite countertops" is yet another phrase on that last, calling to mind the outdated speckled surfaces that could be found in nearly every home in the '90s and early '00s. Like many a design Icarus, granite countertops rose to favor too fast (and too liberally), tainting their 'cred for years to come.
No design trend is beyond redemption, though—and granite countertops definitely fall within that category. In fact, designers are loving this material once again, and we're here to show you why. The affordable material is once again making its way into kitchens everywhere, this time in more subtle (and speckle-free) colorways that feel in line with today's decor ethos and can go shoulder-to-shoulder with pricer picks like marble and quartzite. Below, we're rounding up five granite-focused trends you can option for your next renovation or building project—plus what you should know about this popular material before buying. Ahead, learn all about granite, and the most popular granite colors for countertops today.
What is Granite?
Granite is considered the most popular igneous rock and can be found around the world, primarily in mountainous areas. Its durability and versatility—not to mention wide-spread availability—make it an alluring option for homeowners who want to perks of a natural material in their kitchen without incurring the high costs seen with other options like marble. Granite comes in a variety of designs—in fact, there are over 200 different types of granite on the market, all of which vary in color and appearance.
Cost of Granite
Typically, granite is given a "grade" which helps both describe its quality and dictate its pricing. Many things factor into the grading of a slab, not limited to its place of origin, thickness, color, visual imperfections, and popularity. In general, the granite you'd source from a supplier will be rated as level one, two, or three—level one is considered the lowest tier and comes in at a budget-friendly price of $30-$40 per square foot; level two granite is mid-grade and can cost anywhere from $50-$70 per square foot; finally, level three granite is high-grade and can cost upwards of $100 or more per square foot, depending on the stone and how much of it is available on the market. Here's a complete guide to the cost of granite if you'd like a more in-depth breakdown.
How to Care for Granite
One of the biggest draws for consumers when it comes to granite is just how easy the material is to care for. Like most natural stones, granite is porous and benefits from being sealed periodically to protect it against stains. This is typically done during installation and should be repeated every six months or so, depending on the amount of daily wear and tear your countertop experiences.
Beyond that, maintenance on granite is a cinch. Simply wipe down the countertop with a mild dish soap and water whenever it needs a clean—you can also use a stone cleaner if you think the surface needs a bit of extra TLC. Major chips or burns are rare thanks to the stone's durable nature, but if you do injure your countertops in that manner, a professional stone expert can typically fix (or disguise) the damage.
2023 Granite Countertop Color Trends
To nail the most up-to-date iteration of granite countertops, let the below 2023 granite trends dictate your stone shopping.
For a look that's equal parts dramatic and timeless, you can't go wrong with black granite. "Granite has come a long way, and the brown speckled look has now evolved into a cool black slate-looking material," says designer Linda Hayslett of LH.Designs. "I love this look because it modernizes what granite used to be and makes it feel more interesting. Some black granite almost looks like lava from a volcano, which can really bring in a sense of nature to a space, making a home feel connected with natural elements."
Stones to try: Black Pearl, Premium Black, Nordic Black, Negresco
Neutrals will never go out of style, especially in a kitchen. Harness the subtle palette's staying power by opting for a neutral-toned granite slab on your countertop. Light and dark grays and off-whites are perennial classics, while on-trend taupes and mushrooms play well with the bevy of other nature-inspired hues currently in favor throughout the design world.
Stones to try: Bianco Santa Ines, Sion, Taupe White, Kashmir Beige
If the phrase subtle isn't in your vocabulary, there's a good chance you're loving all the bold surfaces on the market lately, and—good news!—the dramatic trend carriers right on over to granite, too. "I’m currently loving stones that are a little splashier and a little less 'safe,'" says designer Kristen Pena of K Interiors. "They're a slightly bolder choice than some of the quieter stones, but are still timeless and flow easily with the rest of the home." Thick veins and bold swirls are turning heads in kitchens everywhere, and the right slab of granite makes it totally possible to score the look on a more modest budget (similar marble slabs can cost upwards of $140 per square foot).
Stones to try: Black Thunder, Silver Cloud, Explosion Blue, Simphonia
Green has been the color du jour in the design world for the past few years, and that isn't changing any time soon. In fact, a love for all things verdant is only becoming more permanent, making its way to countertop finishes in a decidedly bold way. "Unlike in the '80s and early '90s, green granite is making a comeback, but in a different way," explains Hayslett. "Stones that have a lot of veining or have interesting patterns are showing up in a more high-end way by making a statement in the kitchen. If you're looking for a wow stone for your island or backsplash, this is it."
Stones to try: Costa Esmeralda, Verde Fantastico, Del Mare, Amazon Green
Just as with other stones like marble and quartzite, granite can come in a variety of different finishes, many of which can completely change the appearance (and appeal) of the stone. To keep your granite selection feeling of the moment, consider getting the stone in a honed or matte finish (sometimes also called leathered, though that can come with texturing as well, so be sure to ask your supplier). This results in a low-sheen surface that offers a timeless, natural look and allows the beauty of the stone's texture and variation to stand out.
Stones to try: Nero Mist, Black Diamond, Silver Lightning, London Leather
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