Industry publication Kitchen & Bath Design News recently published an extensive report to designers on trends in kitchen countertops.
The usual granite, stone and quartz products are still holding their own, but an interesting thing is happening with the current economic crisis: Laminate countertops are making a resurgence!
There is now an entire generation who have not lived with laminate countertops, except in economy apartment buildings and condos. And those are usually the postformed type with a curve up to a 4" high backsplash. Laminate countertops can be made to look very much like stone when they are made with square edges and installed with a tile backsplash.
There is even a system to undermount your sink in a laminate countertop!
Users have to take care not to damage laminate with a hot pot or a sharp knife but, as an interim countertop meant to be replaced with a lifetime one when funds become available, laminate is a good option to save thousands on your kitchen remodel.
The report also says that wood countertops are being used now more than in recent years. This is problematic because wood countertops are more expensive than laminate and do not hold up well at all around sinks or cooktops/ranges. I, personally, love a section of wood countertop between my cleanup and cooking areas for prep. It is great to have a dedicated area for cutting that doesn't require getting out a cutting board. Just keep it far enough away that the fire and water don't destroy it. And make it replaceable so you can chop away to your heart's content without worrying about how it will look after years of use.
Green countertops are also making news: Recycled glass and locally quarried stone are both green options, though they tend to be as pricey as less green products that are imported.
Be sure to test any product you consider using in your kitchen. Kitchen counters are subject to a lot of stresses and stains. The ones you select should be able to stand up to whatever you throw at them.