Kitchen Benchtop & Bar Ideas

Finish first: choosing the right surfaces in your kitchen

How to decide which finishes suit your needs
Home Beautiful

With so many surfaces to choose from for your kitchen benchtops and splashback, it can be difficult to decide which one is best suited to your needs. We break down the options for you.


Simple, natural and sustainable, high-grade plywood has recently been rediscovered as a great go-to for cabinetry. Often used as multi-layered ply sheets bonded together, ply boasts beautiful edges and is ideal for creating feature cut-outs.


Look to textural, dimensional or handcrafted tiles to offset smooth surfaces, catch the light and add a subtle sense of movement. Alternatively, play with group colour or the lay of tiles to create interest.

Kitchen finishes | Home Beautiful Magazine Australia
(Credit: Sue Stubbs)

Timber veneer

Timber adds warmth, colour, pattern and has great acoustics. Usually supplied as a thin layer of timber on particleboard, veneers allow for easy applications in a wide range of grains. Use as a point of contrast on an island, for a single wall of joinery, as a backdrop to recessed shelving or to line open cabinets.

Kitchen surfaces | Home Beautiful Magazine Australia

Stainless steel

A chef’s favourite, stainless steel can also be the texture you need to balance your palette. Heat-resistant and hardy, it can be wrapped over worktops and island benches, formed seamlessly into sinks and splashbacks, and used for feature shelves, too.

Acrylic resin

The design options for products such as Corian are endless, as it an be moulded to fit any space. Its warm, touch-me allure makes it ideal on benchtops, and it can be seamlessly fused with splashbacks and sinks for a clean, grout-free look.

Kitchen finishes | Home Beautiful Magazine Australia
(Credit: Sue Stubbs)


Colour-backed glass is a practical and vibrant splashback option. Clear glass feature windows also make great splashbacks with a view, but be aware that there must be a 300mm clearance between a cooktop and a flammable material.


Add raw contrast to timber or glossy joinery by using concrete on benchtops, over a wall as a cool backdrop to open shelves or as an island bench and top in one. Like stone, concrete requires sealing and is not practical for splashbacks.

For more kitchen inspiration click here.

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