The Best Countertops To Use In A Coastal Kitchen, According To Our Design Expert

Coastal is a timeless style meant to relax. Look up a guide to coastal decor, and most will tell you to use natural materials like jute, rattan, and linen in your home to achieve the look. However, if you're creating a coastal-inspired kitchen, those materials won't work for a countertop. So, what is the best countertop material for a coastal kitchen? Jennifer Cooley, national director of design for Thomas James Homes, has a top choice. "Quartz — light colors preferred — as [it is] relatively indestructible," Cooley says in an exclusive interview with House Blog. Quartz is a great option for kitchens because of its durability; it's resistant to scratches, cracks, and chips as well as water and stains. This makes it a great option to stand up to the heavy use of a kitchen while also providing some aesthetic benefits.

When it comes to coastal decor, the goal is to create something that's reminiscent of being on the beach. "The vibe should be 'light and breezy,'" Cooley explains. "Countertops are one of the most important aspects in achieving this because it is one of the biggest elements in the space and, in most cases, where everyone gathers." Quartz also has the benefit of coming in a variety of colors, especially on the lighter side of the spectrum. Both crisp and creamy whites are good options for a coastal-inspired kitchen. Putting a little extra thought into the type of counter will ensure you'll love it for years to come.

Lean into the airy aesthetic

Capture the feeling of the coast by opting for lighter tones throughout the kitchen. "Natural light and a seaside aesthetic using neutral tones, natural colors (whites/ivory hues, tans/sand, and blues)," Jennifer Cooley defines as a coastal kitchen in an exclusive interview with House Blog. For a nearly pure white countertop, consider Whitehall Quartz, which has little visible veining and is great for a more monochromatic scheme. Clovelly Quartz brings in more of the tans through veining, which can be reminiscent of beach sand. And for those who want to make more of a statement in the kitchen, Portrush Quartz is a beautiful option since it has some navy veining that feels like ocean waves. Any of these countertop options paired with crisp or warm white cabinets for a white kitchen design that won't go out of style will capture the coastal look with ease.

You can also reinforce the coastal aesthetic with the materials you use around the counters. Cooley says to use "natural materials (glass, rattan, wood) and textures (wood grains, weaves, linens). Things you may find on the shore." These are great to use around the kitchen to cement that coast style. Consider rattan bar stools pulled up to the island, wooden bowls set on top of the counters, or woven pendant light fixtures hanging above the island. All of these little details can complement the coastal look of white or neutral-toned quartz counters in a kitchen.

Proceed with caution with some materials

Quartz, overall, is a great option for the kitchen. However, there are some cases where it might be best to use something else. "If the kitchen has a pass-through countertop, consider using granite or Dekton, as quartz is not recommended for exteriors because direct sunlight can alter the colors," Jennifer Cooley says in an exclusive interview with House Blog. Pass-through countertops are great for indoor-outdoor living. These usually have a window that opens up so you can serve food or drinks or pass ingredients to the outside without having to leave the kitchen. You may opt to have quartz throughout the rest of your kitchen and a similar granite on just the pass-through.

Since coastal interiors are all about using natural materials, butcher block counters are also a good option, but they can often be a lot of upkeep. "Butcher blocks look great in a coastal kitchen as well. The salty air of living near a coast can dry these out so make sure to do regular mineral oil rub downs." How to care for them is something you should know before you buy butcher block countertops. They'll need oiling every two weeks to once a month, which can be a lot of upkeep for some homeowners. 

There is one material Cooley would suggest against. "Marble. Marble is a beautiful natural material but is prone to chips, scratches and stains," Cooley explains. Instead, you can find many quartz varieties that mimic the look of marble.