Boldly veined stone countertops can either make you stop and gaze in admiration or have the opposite effect and overwhelm your eyes. In general, the bolder the veining on your counters, the less drama you’ll want to add elsewhere. This waterfall counter (with the material wrapped down the sides) is relatively muted, but the large gray veins still bring enough character without any daring colors or other statement features.
Here’s one solution to that aforementioned seating problem in U‐shaped kitchens: This terrific bench seating allows for that coveted kitchen table. On the minus side, there is no casual counter seating.
Lighter woods tend to have more of a casual or rustic feel compared with darker‐stained options. Light‐stained or unstained woods can have a cottage‐inspired feel or a Scandinavian vibe depending on whether you pair them with traditional or modern accouterments. In either case, a traditional runner rug makes an excellent complement. Darker woods come off a little more formal and polished than lighter tones. They lend a certain gravity to a space, which can work well in areas that are already bright and breezy with lots of windows. When mixing wood counters with other wood finishes, it’s often best to stick to either warm or cool tones across the board. Red‐brown woods are more traditional, while ashy gray tones have been a popular modern trend in recent years. Whichever tones you prefer, they will be less likely to clash if you stick to one family or the other.