It's no surprise that granite has become the most in-demand material for kitchen countertops. The natural stone is durable and has a classic beauty that looks great in any style of home. While the decision to use granite may be simple, choosing among the many color options can be daunting. Granite is available in thousands of colors, which are typically grouped into 10 basic categories -- beige, black, blue, brown, burgundy, gray, green, red, yellow, and white.
The most popular color is black, which is elegant and timeless. Darker counters look great paired with lighter cabinetry or in kitchens with plenty of natural light. Black, brown, burgundy, and gray can overpower a small or low-light kitchen, especially when mixed with dark woods.
On the other end of the spectrum, the lightest countertops can create a more open feeling in a small kitchen. White, yellow, or beige counters bounce light around a room to visually expand the space. They look modern atop dark cabinets or in a sleek, monochromatic scheme. For a traditional, European, or cottage look, pair lighter counters with warm, neutral tones on the cabinets, floors, and walls.
The least common granite colors are intense shades of red, blue, and green. These exotic designs are perfect for daring homeowners looking for an eye-catching focal point. When working with busy or bold counters, it's best to use a muted palette for the other surfaces in the kitchen.
After choosing your preferred color, browse samples within that color subset. You'll find there are three basic patterns -- solid, marbled, and speckled. Solid granite has little variation in pattern, marbled granite has a smooth transition between color and texture, and speckled granite shows a lot of variation in color and texture. Additionally, you can pick between the typical high-gloss finish or a honed finish.
It's OK to browse granite samples online, but you'll want to do some shopping in person. Take samples (or photos) of your cabinet finish, flooring, and wall paint so you can see how they look next to the granite samples you're considering. Also, don't make this pricey purchase until you've seen your particular slab in person. Even if they bear the same name, every slab of granite is unique and each will have slight variations in color and pattern.