How Countertops Have Changed in the Last 50 Years

July 5, 2018

From bright yellow laminate to Carrara white quartz, the top trends in countertop design for kitchens and bathrooms have drastically transformed since Long & Foster opened its doors in 1968. Materials and color choices that were once popular in earlier decades are no longer in as modern designs take over.

Before industrialization emerged, countertops were commonly made out of natural materials, such as wood and stone, according to Andrew Blate, co-owner of Beautiful Home Services, a partner of Long & Foster’s Home Service Connections.

Formica was it in the 1960s.
According to Ron Jacques, general manager of TR Young Services, a partner of Long & Foster’s Home Service Connections, laminate material, such as Formica was the latest and greatest in the 1960s. Bright yellow, lime green and hot pink are just a few of the bold colors that were frequently used for countertops throughout this era.


Laminate Countertop.


Granite started taking off in the 1970s.
Although granite was used in luxury homes as early as the 1920s, it became the mainstream countertop of choice in the 1970s, suggests Blate. Granite remains popular amongst homeowners and will likely always be popular because of its attractive look that can’t be duplicated. Each slab of granite is unique.


Granite Countertop. Photo Courtesy of Andrew Blate, co-owner of Beautiful Home Services.


Tile took over in the 1980s.
Ceramic tile was widely used in the 1980s due to its many color, size and pattern options. Tile countertops are popular because they are inexpensive and easy to install. While many homes still have tile countertops, they are installed much less today. According to Blate, tile is not an ideal surface for countertops because the grout stains easily and can harbor bacteria.

Corian gained popularity in the 1990s.
The use of solid-surface countertops, such as Corian, increased in the 1990s. Corian countertops mimic the characteristics and look of natural stone without the cost, said Jacques. Black was the color of choice for countertops in the 1990s through the early 2000s. Black countertops bring boldness and elegance to a classic or modern designed kitchen or bathroom.


Solid-Surface Countertop.


Quartz became trendy in the 2000s.
With the innovation of technology and 3D printing, manufacturers have been able to create quartz countertops that look just like granite – natural and unique, according to Blate. Quartz can be made in a variety of colors, as well as finishes from leather texture to polished and smooth. While black countertops were still very popular in the early 2000s, lighter colors, such as beige, grey and white began to make way in the latter part of the decade.


Quartz Countertop. Photo Courtesy of Andrew Blate, co-owner of Beautiful Home Services.


Quartz continues to be the frontrunner in the 2010s to present.
While you see a little bit of everything, quartz leads the way in top countertop trends today. Carrara white, gold and grey are the favorite color choices. Today’s homeowners are going for a clean, modern look. “Countertops used to be the highlight – bold and overpowering, whereas now, they are much more of an accent piece,” said Jacques.

Throughout the years, people have used many other countertop materials in their kitchens and bathrooms. From marble to concrete and stainless steel to glass, countertop designs have and will continue to vary from home to home.


Marble Countertop. Photo Courtesy of Andrew Blate, co-owner of Beautiful Home Services.




  1. Thinking of updating your kitchen? Something to consider before you start.

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