Recycled Paper‐Based Kitchen Counters. Recycled paper sounds like the worst possible material for a kitchen countertop, but this ecofriendly choice has surprising durability. When blended with resins and pigments, it has the look and feel of soapstone – but at $40 to $80 per square foot installed, it's a fraction of the cost.
Rather than miles of counterspace, this kitchen has a freestanding custom‐designed china cabinet at the end of the L. Sometimes a square island is better than a rectangle. If you don't have the room for a main sink in one of the legs of the L, then put it in the island. This makes for a very tight work triangle and still allows for entertaining. This island has seating on two sides which makes for good conversation as well. If storage is what you're looking for, the L‐shaped kitchen can be the best option for the maximum amount of wall cabinets.
Zinc Kitchen Counters. You don't see zinc countertops in many modern kitchens, but this metal has a warmth that has made it popular for centuries. Zinc's tone darkens with time, adding patina. Its antimicrobial properties make it a smart choice for a cooking space. This beautiful material typically costs $100 and up per square foot, installed.