How to Choose the Perfect Granite Kitchen Counter Color

Stacey Marcus
Written by Stacey Marcus
Updated August 24, 2021
Modern kitchen with a granite counter
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When picking countertops for your kitchen, you can’t go wrong with granite. Along with being durable, resistant to heat and scratches, and well-priced, granite is a natural stone that organically adds interest and beauty to your space. But once you choose to use granite, your decision-making isn’t over—you still need to select a color.

Choose a Granite Color That Works for Your Home

Granite comes in a rainbow of color options, including neutral tones such as white, black, and brown as well as bolder colors like blues, greens, and reds. Boston-based interior designer Nancy Boughton uses granite to add natural beauty and unique design elements to elevate a kitchen’s aesthetic. 

She suggests that you choose a hue that reflects your home style and lifestyle:

  • Modern homeowners can explore white countertops that are lighter and cleaner

  • Traditional homes call for darker-colored granite

  • Transitional kitchen countertops look great in multi-tonal granite with veins

A Light Granite Counter Can Brighten up Your Kitchen

Light granite colors tend to work best in kitchens with gleaming white appliances and trim. Combining state-of-the-art appliances with light granite countertops can give a kitchen a very modern vibe. Another option: pair light granite with wood-paneled or vintage appliances for a traditional look.

Light granite's versatility makes it very popular. Getting the shade wrong, however, can make a kitchen look washed out or colorless. If you decide on light granite, ask your designer to show you several color options before selecting a shade.

Should You Choose a Light or Dark Granite?

The first step to picking an eye-catching granite countertop color is to decide whether you want to go light or dark. There are no right or wrong choices, but each direction has pros and cons.

Light-Colored Granite

Modern kitchen with a light granite counter
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Lighter colors work best for small kitchens and those with limited natural light—spaces that would seem even smaller if you chose a dark color. Pairing state-of-the-art appliances with light granite countertops creates a modern vibe in your kitchen. But know while light-colored granite gives a clean feel, it does show blemishes and stains.

Dark-Colored Granite

Modern kitchen with dark granite counter
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Darker colors work best in larger kitchens that enjoy a bounty of natural light. Dark countertops paired with dark cabinets in a kitchen with little light will create a gloomy feel. But if your kitchen is filled with natural light and features lighter-colored cabinets, adding dark granite countertops creates a stylish statement. And (bonus!) dark-colored granite easily hides dirt and stains.

Mixing Dark- and Light-Colored Granite

You can also get creative and use contrasting colors to define different areas of your kitchen. Add interest by installing dark countertops around the kitchen walls and featuring a light-colored center island. Gorgeous!

Boughton says white granite is trendy for countertops right now, and that “fantasy brown” is the most popular color choice.

“It brings in shades of cream, white grayish blue, and brown to add a splash of color to your room,” she says.

Other granite trends, Boughton says, include:

  • Speckled granite is passé

  • Granite with veins is in vogue; flecks are out

  • Shiny countertops are outdated

  • Matte or lathered finishes are popular right now

Choose the Right Finish

Choosing a finish for your countertop impacts function and fashion. If your kitchen countertops are high-use, you may opt for a low-maintenance finish like polished granite. If you’re not much of a home cook, any finish will work.

When considering color, you also have to look into finishes, as the one you choose can impact the granite’s overall look.

Brushed Granite

Brushed granite creates a textured and worn-in appearance, perfect for an outdoor or rustic kitchen. But the brushing process tends to dilute the granite’s color.

Honed Granite

Honed granite has been polished, but not as much as polished granite. The result is a matte finish that looks natural and camouflages imperfections.

Leather Granite

Leathering creates a textured and distressed look ideal for a rustic kitchen. It’s a very forgiving finish that hides imperfections including stains and smudges.

Polished Granite

A polished finish gives the granite a smooth, high-gloss look. Another plus: this easy-to-clean finish does not require resealing as often as other finishes.

Do Your Homework

Before choosing any color of granite, visit a showroom to see samples in person. Remember that granite is a natural stone and no two pieces are identical.

Ask to see the full slab so you can see how the veining carries through. Also ask how old the samples are as over time, the colors may fade. If you elect to use a complex granite, you may not understand the full pattern or colors unless you see the full slab. 

“Each piece of granite is a piece of art, unique, and a work of nature,” Boughton says.

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