The kitchen is the heart of the home, and the aesthetics in this room can make all the difference to your mood each day. As your kitchen bench is one of the major features, it can have a significant impact on the overall look and feel of your kitchen; similarly, on a practical level, it’s incredibly important. When selling your property, a quality kitchen bench will also add a lot of value, so although it may be relatively expensive to install, it’s a worthwhile investment.
One of the main considerations is the type of material your kitchen bench will be made from. Our guide below will help you to make that decision:
- Stone kitchen benches
Stone is one of the most sought after kitchen bench materials. It has a wonderfully luxurious finish, and looks great whether you choose a marble bench, or one made from granite or travertine. It will be a focal point of the kitchen, but may cost you between $400 and $2500 per square metre dependent on the material.
It is very sturdy, but requires plenty of maintenance as it is naturally soft and porous. You’ll need to keep acidic substances away from it to prevent scratching or staining; protecting it with a sealer is wise, as is choosing a dark coloured stone. Engineered stone looks like marble but is much cheaper, and you can choose from various styles and colours, whereas natural stone is ‘as it comes’.
- Metal kitchen benches
Metal kitchen benches are becoming much more popular outside of commercial environments these days. Many homes boast attractive brushed-down aluminum benches, as well as those made from copper and stainless steel. Aesthetically, they are high-impact due to their shine, plus they’re easy to maintain, and generally cheaper than stone benches.
You’re looking at around $1000 per square metre, then bowl fitting and polishing will cost in the region of $275. With metal benches you needn’t worry about staining, but it will need regular polishing to remove smudges and fingerprints. Scratching can happen, so go for brushed steel if you’re worried.
- Concrete kitchen benches
Concrete is the ‘heavy-duty’ option and as it doesn’t scratch or scorch, it’s very practical. The look is strong, but it can be shaped in diverse forms so it’s easy to create a personal style. For instance, you might add coloured oxide, or imprint it with corrugated iron for an unusual texture.
One downside is that concrete can chip or crack more easily than other materials, and it is very heavy. Although it is cheaper than natural stone – you’re looking at approximately $1000 per square metre – installation is trickier because of the weight, so factor this added expense into your decision.
- Timber kitchen benches
Timber is timeless, so it is a good choice for those who want to play it safe with a classic look. This diverse material allows for looks that are modern, rustic or sleek, and you can select a veneer and finish to suit your kitchen style. Hardwood styles are less likely to get damaged than softer timbers, and note that if you’re eco-friendly, you should probably avoid reclaimed timber.
As timber is softer than metal and stone, you should experience less damage to crockery. Oiling the surface gives a matte appearance, and it’s possible to sand the surface to remove scratches or stains, before re-oiling it. You’ll need to seal your bench with a food-grade product, and be careful to avoid installation near moist areas. Expect to pay between $500 and $1500 per square metre according to the type of timber.
- Postformed kitchen benches
Those on a budget might go for postformed benches, as they’re much cheaper at around $150 per square metre. These benches are covered with laminate, and there is so much choice in both brand and style. They are made-to-measure, but are mainly straight so avoid if you like curves. You have a lot of creative scope with postformed benches, so you easily can cultivate a unique look for your kitchen.
Last but by no means least, it is important to consider the lighting to complement your kitchen bench. Choose from Under Bench lighting, which consists of LED Strips under your cupboards, Island Bench lighting, which comes on suspended pendants, or Ambient lighting. The latter uses track lights in the middle of your kitchen to create ambient lighting throughout.