There aren’t many people who would argue that granite countertops are the best type of countertop on the market, and there’s good reason for that! They are chip resistant, scratch resistant, stain resistant, cut resistant, and heat resistant. In a kitchen environment, that means you can set your hot pots and pans directly on the countertop without worrying that you will scorch or crack the finish.

If you are considering granite countertops for your new or existing kitchen, there are several design elements to keep in mind as you make your selection.

Edges

Next to the color and pattern of granite, the edge of a granite countertop probably gets the most attention. You might not think that such a small detail could be a big deal, but when you put an ogee edge next to a straight edge of the same color granite, you may be surprised by the difference it can make.

There are different reasons people choose one edge over another, so before you make a selection, be sure that it is meeting your end goals.

Half Bullnose (Waterfall)

  • Half Bullnose (Waterfall): The half bullnose, or waterfall edge, is probably the most popular edge style for all types of countertops, whether it be laminate, solid surface, or stone. It is rounded at the 90-degree angle on the surface of the countertop, but it has a flat edge on the bottom of the countertop. The half bullnose has a simple, understated elegance that emphasizes the thickness of the counter while drawing the eye seamlessly over the edge and toward the floor below. It is easy to clean and creates an overall soft look.

Bullnose

  • Bullnose: The bullnose edge is rounded on both the top and bottom of the edge. It is also easy to clean, but it isn’t as popular as the waterfall edge.
  • Straight: If you want a simple edge, choose the straight style. It gives off a neutral, non-descript vibe that is good in busy kitchens or commercial atmospheres.

Beveled

  • Beveled: Beveled edges look like the granite started with a straight edge, and then someone shaved the corner off on a 45-degree angle. The bevel depth can range depending on your preferences, but it’s usually a quarter to a half-inch setback on the flat and perpendicular surface of the countertop.
  • Eased: An eased edge is hard to describe unless you’re looking closely at it. It’s like someone took a sander and just smoothed the corner of the countertop just a little bit to make it appear a tiny bit softer. The eased edge is somewhere between the beveled edge and the straight edge, and it’s good in areas that want a slightly softer look than the straight edge.

Ogee

  • Ogee: The ogee edge is definitely the fanciest look of all of the edge designs. What sets this edge apart from the others is that it is all curves with few angles. It typically swoops down from the flat surface of the countertop once or twice, with the depth of the swoop depending on your preference. While the ogee edge is a showy profile that can bring out some of the natural elegance of the granite, it’s also more difficult to clean than some of the other choices.

Colors

Different combinations of rocks and minerals determine the different colors of granite. The color you choose will probably depend on your desired result.

  • Dramatic: Black granite is perfect if you want a dramatic look in your kitchen. It pairs equally well with white cabinetry as it does with rich, wood-stained cabinets.
  • Classic: Because granite is made up of many different rocks and minerals, you won’t find a slab of granite that is perfectly white. Most slabs have crystals or veins of gray, black, pink, or brown, which can add a lot of interest and variety without darkening the room.
  • Bold: If you are after a bold look, keep an eye out for granite that proudly displays large, sweeping patterns in a variety of colors.
  • Interesting: Gray granite comes in a wide range of shades and patterns, so you’re sure to find one that can add mystery or interest to your kitchen or bathroom.
  • Rustic: If you are looking for a more rustic result, brown granite may be the perfect choice for you. You will find that it ranges from light tan all the way to dark brown, so no matter the color of your cabinetry and other décor, you will be able to find something that suits your space seamlessly.

Granite comes in many different colors, but you need to be aware that each slab is unique. Unlike other countertop materials like quartz or manmade solid surface, nature is incapable of perfectly replicating multiple slabs.

While you may be able to find slabs of granite that closely resemble your preferred color, it may not be a perfect match, so keep that in mind if you want multiple areas within your home to coordinate. Similarly, it may be a little difficult to replace the granite should it get damaged (which is highly unlikely with the proper maintenance).

Quality

As you search for the perfect granite for your space, you need to know that there are different levels of granite.

  • Level One is the lowest grade of granite, and it is also usually the thinnest. At this level, you will find prefabricated surfaces in fairly standard colors and patterns.
  • Level Two is a little bit nicer and a little bit thicker. You may find more exotic colors and patterns in level two quality.
  • Level Three (and beyond!) is considered “high grade” granite, and it is typically imported from premium locations around the world. You will find the most interesting colors and patterns from the level three category.

Granite countertops can add interest and value to your home, so be sure to do your research to find the perfect fit.