The first – and most important – factor should be your choice of material. Consider how (and how often) you will be using your kitchen space, and what materials will work best. You may, for example, love the design of wood countertops, but if you are prone to putting hot pots and pans directly onto your worktop while cooking then this could quickly lead to heat staining, burns and damage to your surfaces.
The next obvious factor to consider is your budget; while most materials have a variety of budget-friendly options, it is important to know how much you are able to spend on your worktops and what kind of quality of material this will get you. Your budget will determine how much you can customise your finish and where you can source materials from to achieve your desired look.
You’ll want to think about how practical your choice of finish is in regard to hygiene and maintenance. Would a matte or gloss finish suit the needs of your family better? How porous is the material (more porous materials tend to soak up spills and are therefore generally more difficult to clean)? How much time and money are you prepared to put into maintaining your surfaces to keep them from becoming damaged? These are all important practical considerations, and will differ from family to family.
While functionality is important, the overall appearance of your kitchen worktops will likely be one of the biggest considerations when designing your dream home. Do you prefer the look of smooth quartz or natural woods? Does the material, texture and colour tie into other design elements in your kitchen (such as cabinets, handles, flooring, etc)? Does it achieve your desired look (brightening up the space, adding a pop of colour, etc)?
Most people don’t want to be renovating and replacing their kitchen every couple of years, so consider how long you want the worktops to last for. Will the design still be trendy or achieve your desired look in a few years’ time, or will it look dated? How durable is the material? How much will you have to maintain the surfaces to keep it undamaged? The right countertops can be a long-term investment, saving you time and money for years to come.