Jackson Design & Remodeling designer Tatiana Machado-Rosas discusses 5 granite alternatives that make a statement in your kitchen

Dan Rafter

CTW Features

There's no reason why you can't make a change. Today's homeowners can order counters made of everything from lighted glass to petrified wood.

"Different people have different personalities, and that can be represented in their choice of countertops," says Tatiana Machado-Rosas, design department head with San Diego-based Jackson Design & Remodeling.

Here are five ways to make a statement with your kitchen countertops.

Looking for something livelier than plain stone? Glass countertops can add a dynamic feel to an otherwise traditional kitchen.

"No other material has this relationship with light," says Michael Mailhot, an artist and co-owner of ThinkGlass, a Boisbriand, Quebec-based provider of glass countertops. "Glass is like a light magnet. The piece of glass on a sunny morning is not the same as it is at sunset. It will be different again the next morning if it is rather cloudy."

Each of ThinkGlass' countertops is made from recyclable glass. Mailhot hand-paints the countertops with colors that his customers choose. Some even add LED lights to add even more personality to their designs.

Mailhot says that the glass is as strong and durable as natural stone and granite for counter material. They can also endure high heat without cracking or scorching.

Fingerprints don't show on glass countertops, he says, and the material does not stain.

The price for ThinkGlass' glass countertops range from $200 to $400 per square foot.

Step into the kitchen of a high-end restaurant. What material do they use for countertops? Stainless steel. This product is becoming a favorite of certain homeowners.

Machado-Rosas says that stainless steel appeals to younger homeowners who like contemporary kitchens.

Stainless-steel counters are hygienic, which is one reason why commercial kitchens rely on it. They are also eye-catching.

But stainless steel does have some drawbacks for residential use: It can scratch and bend easily. Homeowners might want to avoid this material if their other kitchen appliances are also made of stainless steel. That, Machado-Rosas says, could result in too cold of a look for a residential kitchen.

Prices vary, but homeowners can expect to pay from $100 to $200 per square foot to install stainless-steel countertops.

Homeowners who prefer a natural look to their countertops should consider wood. The latest trends offer more options for this once-traditional material.

Machado-Rosas says her clients have chosen countertops made of chopped logs or wood planks nailed together. Other popular styles that incorporate wood are quartz-or granite-topped islands with a wood chopping block built into the center.

Wood creates a warm, homey feeling in the kitchen, and it is typically durable and long-lasting. However, it can be damaged by moisture, heat and harsh chemicals.

Wood counters will usually run from about $100 to $250 per square foot.

For an exotic look, homeowners can choose countertops made of semi-precious stones. White quartz, gray agate, pinkish rose quartz or even petrified wood create countertops that truly stand out.

These counters, in addition to being visually stunning, are also durable and resistant to scratches. Homeowners do, though, have to be careful about heat. Pans that are too hot can scorch these counters.

This is one of the most expensive countertop choices, Machado-Rosas says. Counters made of semi-precious stones can run from $6,000 to $15,000 a slab, Machado-Rosas says. A slab usually measures from 55 to 60 square feet.

Besides choosing a unique countertop material, brightly colored counters always make a big statement. Machado-Rosa, for instance, once designed a kitchen that included bright lime-green counters.

The counters stood out. But this look, she says, isn't for everyone. Homeowners who don't plan on moving soon can enjoy colorful countertops that set the stage for a dramatic kitchen.

Those who plan to sell their home soon are better off with a more neutral color. Replacing bold countertops is not a cheap task for homeowners who are purchasing a new home and paying for moving expenses.

Jackson Design and Remodeling