marble in architecture

8 Countertop Alternatives to Consider

Even though I’ve been trying hard to convince people otherwise, granite countertops are still king. But if the dark, speckly stone leaves you cold, fear not! There are alternatives. Here are eight of our favorites.


Butcher block

Gets my vote for The Next Big Thing. It’s much cheaper than marble or granite, and it lends a nice warmth to kitchens with white cabinets. You can even buy it at IKEA! The downside is that it can stain, and you’ll need to use a trivet with hot pots so they don’t burn the counter. Regular oiling can help keep your butcher block countertops in tip-top shape.



Pros: Gorgeous. Can be cheaper than granite. Big Con: Super high-maintenance. Marble, since it’s softer and more porous than granite, can stain or etch very easily. But if you love the look, it may be worth it to you to be super vigilant about cleaning up red wine and lemon juice.


This dark stone with light veining has a beautiful, old-world feel. Easier to maintain than marble (although still higher maintenance than granite). Want to learn more about soapstone?


Engineered stone (or Quartz).

Engineered stone countertops, like Caesarstone and Silestone, are made of little bits of quartz mixed with a binder and then molded into countertop shapes. The result is something that looks like stone and is super-durable. If you like the look but not the maintenance of marble, this might be a good choice for you. Quartz countertops are also a good choice if you’re going for a very minimal look, as there are options that are pure white or pure black, with no veining. The downside: engineered stone is one of the more expensive countertop options.


Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is durable, easy to clean, and has a nice industrial-modern feel. The downside? Stainless steel countertops can be pretty pricey.



Concrete countertops have a lovely, raw elegance: you get the movement and natural feel of stone, with the industrial edge of stainless. They can be poured in any thickness you like, which can make for some really nice edge details. And if you’re especially handy, you can even pour and install your concrete countertops yourself.



If you thought tile countertops were only for bohemians and people stuck in the ’80s, let this stylish kitchen prove you wrong. This is something I’ve never seen before but finds really appealing: a backsplash and countertop made with penny tiles. The curved transition between the backsplash and countertop is a nice detail. Go for dark grout unless you want to be constantly scrubbing.



Granite as an alternative to granite? No, not a joke. Although what most of us think of when we think of granite is the speckly gray or brown stuff, granite actually comes in lots of different colors and variations, including “pure white,” which looks a lot like marble.