PHOTOS: Proof your kitchen countertops don't have to match

Sep 11, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. ET
Image: David Papazian Prem/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

The old standard in kitchen countertops was all the surfaces in your kitchen needed to match — your perimeter counters, island and everything in between. But times have changed, my friend, and as these stunning kitchens go to show, mismatching has never looked so good.

This easy, breezy beach kitchen smartly combines marble countertops on the perimeter with a butcher-block island top for a look that is at once sophisticated and warm.

To get an unmistakably sleek, contemporary look, this kitchen topped custom manufactured cabinets from Canada with bright white solid surface slabs. The adjoining breakfast bar's large concrete slab top makes for a pleasing juxtaposition.

Everything in this kitchen pairs so beautifully together, and that is thanks in large part to the smart combination of colors. The gray tones in the marble island top pick up the charcoal wall color, which is in turn complemented by the black granite countertops along the room's perimeter.

For those who may be timid about taking the mismatched countertop plunge, this Ponte Vedrea Beach kitchen offers a subtle approach. While the perimeter counters and island are both topped with elegant white marble, the breakfast bar jutting off of the island is butcher block.

Arguably one of the most popular combinations for contrasting countertops, black granite on the perimeter of this timeless kitchen blends beautifully with the creamy marble atop the island. We especially love how the black of the island sink echoes the color of the granite countertops. Using the same white cabinetry throughout keeps the look subtle.

For those who are looking for a twist on the black perimeter with white island top combo, this kitchen illustrates an easy update. By painting the island cabinetry in the same hue as the curved custom metal hood above the stainless steel range, Drury Design gives the room added depth and interest.

While you may think mixing three different countertop surfaces in one space would be too much, this gorgeous kitchen should easily obliterate that notion. The dark black solid surface on the perimeter, marble on the bulk of the island and butcher block on the bar portion of the island each bring beauty and function to the space without competing for attention.

How could anything this divine not be considered a style win, right? With black granite topping charcoal-hued perimeter cabinetry, this kitchen could have felt closed in. However, the designer smartly chose to contrast the darker colors with a bright white subway tile backsplash and dreamy marble island top — which, thanks to the silver veins running throughout, picks up the charcoal color of the perimeter cabinetry.

Incorporating wood into a room makes the space intrinsically warmer, so this exposed beam kitchen was ahead of the curve when it came to coziness to start with. By pairing white cabinets and white perimeter countertops with an all-wood island, the designer amped up the warmth even more.

Sure, you may be on board with having contrasting counter colors in your kitchen, but you're nervous about using more than one bold surface. Let this super-chic kitchen be your inspiration — the designers took a dark, bold granite on the perimeter and paired it with a marble island top with bold veining for a look that is chock full of interest.

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