The BEST Marble Countertop Alternatives; A Quick Reference Guide

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

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photo credit: sidehike via photopin cc

In my last post, The WORST Countertop Choice When Selling Your House, I tried (not so subtly) to convince you not to install marble countertops in your kitchen if you are putting your house on the market.

Hopefully, you’re now asking yourself, “If marble is the current  ‘on-trend look,’ and I shouldn’t install it, what type of countertop do I choose instead?” Well, I’d never leave you high and dry without some possible solutions!

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The idea is to install something that gives a similar marble look, but without all the maintenance headaches. We want to give prospective buyers the eye candy they want and the low maintenance lifestyle they desire. Cha-ching! Contract time!

So, I’ve pulled together a quick reference guide, The BEST Marble Countertop Alternatives, to save you time in your countertop search. The Guide includes the names of color options, approximate costs, and pros/cons for each. I’ve also highlighted some favorites.

Keep in mind that your countertop selection should be based on the undertones of the fixed elements in your kitchen that you intend to keep. Just be careful not to over improve your property for your price range and location! You want to be able to recoup your investment when you sell.

You can also check my Pinterest Board for photos of several of the selections.

Hope you find the Guide helpful!

Do you have any others to add to the list? What has produced the best results for you? Leave us a comment below. 250X52I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC, an Accredited Staging Professional® and Kitchen Redesign Specialist in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you…Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.
References: absolutetileandstone.com, apartmenttherapy.com, caesarstoneus.com, cambriausa.com, carlaaston.com, daltile.com, dreambookdesign.com, dupont.com, formica.com, girlcooksworld.com, granitegurus.com, hanwhasurfaces.com, hollymathisinteriors.com, houzz.com, julieblanner.com, lgviaterusa.com, life.nationalpost.com, lifeofanarchitect.com, marble.com, marbleandgranite.com, msistone.com, pentalquartz.com, quantra.in, roomology.wordpress.com, stewardofdesign.blogspot.com, roomology.wordpress.com, silestoneusa.com, staron.com, stoneitaliana.com, stonesource.com, studiodearborn.com, thegardenweb.com, theletteredcottage.net, thingsthatinspire.net, wilsonart.com

The WORST Countertop Choice When Selling Your House

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

Now that grays are the new neutral in updating interiors, designers are looking for countertop materials that blend beautifully with these colors. Enter the latest star of the kitchen design world…marble.

Gird your loinsI have to admit, the first words that popped into my head about using marble for kitchen countertops were, “All right everyone, gird your loins!” (The Devil Wears Prada)

Devils…I mean trend-setting designers… are now specifying marble as the latest ‘must have’ countertop material. Check out Pinterest, Houzz, Better Homes. You’ll see what I mean.

But is it the BEST choice if you are preparing your house for sale?

Recently, one of my clients, who was updating her kitchen before listing, left me an excited voicemail saying,

“I’m soooooo lucky! I’ve just put their last two marble slabs on hold. According to the salesperson, they are selling out of it as soon as it arrives!”

Now keep in mind, my client went to this supplier to select granite options, but she got swept up in the current marble frenzy. After all, she loved it and everyone was ordering it. She knew it had to be the right choice!

It’s so easy to be seduced by the beauty of its soft, graceful veining and the fact that it is not seen everywhere, unlike granite. Almost every printed or internet design source indicates marble is the right choice for our on-trend, white kitchens. It is described as NEW and FRESH with a CLASSIC feel. But does classic mean good? Let’s face it. It’s an old material with some distinct maintenance issues.

 

Marble requires frequent sealing. It etches, stains, scratches and chips easily. According to some suppliers, all these traits give it character. Really? Aren’t these characteristics exactly what propelled the countertop industry to develop alternative materials?

 

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m the first to recommend classic choices and love the look of marble. Given the sealers and finishes available today, maintaining marble is a bit more manageable than it was years ago.

But if you are trying to attract BUYERS, your countertop choice also needs to fit the lifestyles of most people. The majority of people say they don’t have enough time as it is. Do you think they’ll want to buy your house if they believe maintaining it will take a lot of time and effort?

So, if you’re a seller getting your property ready to connect with buyers, DO NOT select marble countertops! DO. NOT. SELECT. MARBLE. COUNTERTOPS!

I guarantee that unless your prospective buyers understand and appreciate the inherent ‘character’ of marble created through daily living, the value of your brand new countertop investment will plummet. Buyers will not be willing to pay big dollars for a new countertop that looks worn, particularly if they aren’t the ones doing the wearing.

Instead you want choices that all buyers can identify as having value. Boring choices? Maybe. But choices immediately recognized by buyers as desirable, with little or no maintenance, will automatically create a connection with them.  Marble is not it.

So it comes down to this. How much do you want to gamble with your investment?

Do you want to spend thousands of dollars installing countertops that many buyers will not want once they find out how much maintenance and care they require? That’s strike 1 against the successful sale of your property. Beware…2 more strikes and you’re out!

What alternatives to marble have you used that give the same look? Would love for you to share your suggestions! 250X52 I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC, an Accredited Staging Professional® and Kitchen Specialist in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.

The Most Important Measurement in Updating Your Kitchen

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

Kitchens. They sell houses. With the flood of HGTV shows, blogs and design magazines showing how ‘easy kitchen improvements are, buyers EXPECT updated kitchens.

When our clients ask us to come in to improve their kitchen, we often are able to make simple changes such as replacing appliances, lighting, countertops, back splashes and cabinet hardware.

However, sometimes the simple changes just don’t get it. If anything, adding updates to existing old, ugly cabinets makes them look worse. That’s just “putting lipstick on a pig!”

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“Lipstick on a pig!” New granite countertops installed on old cabinets.

Many times we are confronted with an older kitchen with classic cabinets that still look nice, but the layout does not make sense or it needs to be larger. Is this your situation?

What are your options? Gut the kitchen? That’s generally not in the budget. Add a few new cabinets and use as many of the old cabinets as possible? Yes!

Okay, now look down at your cabinets. Do you see that gap between the floor and the bottom of your cabinets? That’s the toe kick. The dimension of your toe kick is the most important measurement in your kitchen if you are thinking of incorporating new cabinets. It is the kicker (pun intended) to your successful redesign.

When we update kitchens, we are usually dealing with older cabinets in which the toe kicks are smaller than those on new cabinets produced today. Are you saying, “But what’s the big deal? If the new cabinet is too tall, just trim some off the bottom and if it’s too short, just elevate the cabinet or countertop.” Well, not so fast…

Take a look at the graphic. In either case, the doors and drawers won’t line up with your existing cabinets if you adjust the height up or down. If you elevate the countertop and try to cover the gap with trim, the trim pieces usually interfere with the doors or drawers when you extend the trim onto the cabinets without the gap.

Toe Kicks of Cabinets

Two Different Cabinet Toe Kicks

Instead, you’ll need to redesign the kitchen so the old base cabinets are in one area and new ones in another. You don’t want to have them side by side or the two different toe kick heights will be noticeable and will scream DIY. Not what you want a prospective buyer to think and a good way to have your investment dollars vanish before your eyes.

What has been your kitchen redesign experience? Would love to hear any helpful hints you would like to pass along!

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I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC and an Accredited Staging Professional® in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.
Related Resources:

The NEW Bronze Faucets; Easy Money in Your Pocket?

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

What’s one of the newest trends for 2014? Faucets with warm finishes. They’re not the shiny brass of the 80’s, but instead have a warm, sophisticated, satin glow.

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Source: Centsationl Girl

With the gray trend in fabrics and paint becoming so prevalent, the introduction of warm metals as a way to bring some noticeable bling to a room seems like a natural.

Trend setters have tried to get warm metals back into the mainstream time and again, but when kitchen faucet companies start to expand their options in a particular finish, you know it’s getting serious. They understand most consumers won’t spend hundreds on their products unless they have confidence that this new trend will last.


Take a look at this latest Delta commercial and see how many warm metal faucets you see.

To get consumers to embrace these new finishes, the smart marketers of faucets are not calling them brass; the fixture finish we’ve been trying to get rid of forever. Instead they are calling them (some sexy adjectives +) bronze.

faucet-delta champagne bronze

Source: Delta

For example, there’s Champagne Bronze from Delta and Vibrant Brushed Bronze from Kohler.

But what does this have to do with you getting your property ready to sell? Will installing the new bronze faucets put easy money in your pocket?

Imagine this scenario. You’re thinking you want to change your fixtures to make your house appealing and look updated. So, installing the latest and greatest in faucets is a sure winner. Right?

Armed with this savvy design knowledge, you go to the big box store and search for one of the new bronze faucets. You spy the perfect one and head to the register to make your purchase. Please hear me screaming, “STOP! DON’T DO IT!” This is a disastrous decision which could cost you thousands!

Installing the latest in kitchen faucets is risky if you are trying to sell your house, even if it will become popular in the near future. Instead, you want your house to feel comfortable to most buyers and not represent the front edge of design. How do you do this? By providing elements in your home that are familiar and mainstream now.

When many people won’t buy a house simply because they don’t like the paint colors, how do you think they will feel about buying a property with new fixture finishes that they may not believe are here to stay?


So, push away your inner Nate Berkus or Candice Olson. Reach for the brushed stainless, oiled rubbed bronze or chrome. These choices are safe, current and what prospective buyers are looking for. After all, we want to give them what they want!

What’s the take away here? If you love the new bronze faucets, purchase them for your new home. There you can love and admire them for years to come. Then let the rest of us catch up.

What do you think about the new warm metal faucets? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below.

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I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC and an Accredited Staging Professional® in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.

Related Resources:

How To Make Fearless Design Decisions – A Cheat Sheet for Home Decor

The Shocking Truth About Granite

5 Home Staging Tips for Front Entries to Make Buyers Fall in Love with Your House

5 Tips to Help You Find a Home Stager in St. Charles, IL – “The Box of Chocolates” Dilemma

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

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Photo (Flickr): VintageglamA1

As Forrest Gump says, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” The same holds true for finding a Home Stager in St. Charles, Illinois.

Are you randomly searching for a Home Stager and hoping you’ll find the velvety, mousse filled one instead of the gummy, jelly filled one that sticks in your teeth? (sorry, you jelly lovers out there).

We want to Welcome you to our PROUD HOME Blog and begin by giving you 5 tips to help you find a Home Stager:

  1. Find someone who is an accredited Home Stager.
  2. Find someone who can identify your best return on investment items.
  3. Find someone who has experience in color selection.
  4. Find someone who has business liability insurance.
  5. Find someone who can show you her/his portfolio.

How do you find an accredited Home Stager? Staging is not a licensed industry, so anyone can call themselves a Home Stager. That is why it is critical that you find a professional who has been formally trained and accredited in Home Staging, not decorating. You don’t want your property to look like a trendy magazine! 

A good place to start is the ASP® Directory on StagedHomes.com. There you can enter your zip code to locate Accredited Staging Professionals® in your area.

Do you know what items you should be spending your money on to prepare your property for sale? Check out various Home Stager’s websites or interview them by phone to find out their knowledge as to which changes will result in the greatest return on your investment. Much of the time, the biggest impact on the sale of a property is knowing what to concentrate your efforts on versus large, costly improvements.

What about selecting colors? The Home Stager you choose should have experience in selecting paint colors based on their knowledge of color and undertones. Selecting colors with differing undertones can make or break the feel and flow of a house. This is true for all colors, including neutrals!

Are you protected against amateurs or part-timers? Your Home Stager should have business liability insurance to protect your property and possessions during the staging process.

Is a picture worth a thousand words? A portfolio of Before and After photos is the measure of your Home Stager’s talent. Are you impressed with the transformations and what they did to accomplish them?

So, how do you find a Home Stager in St. Charles, Illinois? Click to Contact Us. We’re your velvety, mousse filled piece of chocolate!

Related Resources:

The Smells that Sell: What Really Works – Home Staging in Elgin, IL

Home Staging in St. Charles, IL – 4 Easy Steps to Find the Money Hidden in Your Linen Closet

Home Staging in Geneva, IL – 2 Secrets to Selling Your Home

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I am Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC and an Accredited Staging Professional® in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.