What Are The Pros And Cons Of Black Countertops?

Brigid Levi
by Brigid Levi

One of the most important decisions you make in your kitchen design is the countertops. They should be both functional and beautiful—much like a little black dress in a woman’s wardrobe.

The thing about black is that it goes with everything. Black countertops are a solid choice no matter your style. And when you pair them with the ever-popular white cabinets, they can make a bold and elegant statement.

Available in a variety of materials, black countertops work in both traditional and modern aesthetics. They offer a clean-cut look that makes it easier to see dirt, crumbs, and messes. However, fingerprints, water rings, and soap residue show up just as easily. With a few smart design choices, black countertops can be used in small spaces.

Do You Need Countertop Installers?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

Bold and Beautiful

Some people are afraid of the boldness of black countertops. That’s understandable. If used improperly, black can easily overtake a space.

But black is also beautiful and timeless. Don’t let your fear stop you! Bold countertops deserve bold people!

When paired with white or light-colored cabinets, black countertops offer a solid surface that has the ability to highlight other features. Black and white is a classic combination. White cabinets against a black countertop make for a bold and beautiful dual-tone look.

Modern and Traditional

It’s rare when a material works in both modern and traditional aesthetics. After all, they are on two different ends of the spectrum. But the simplicity of black countertops gives them versatility.

Depending on the material you choose, black countertops can add sleekness to a modern kitchen or balance and elegance to a traditional kitchen.

Cleaning Black Countertops

A dark surface makes it easy to see many things. On the plus side, any dirt or crumbs are highly visible, making cleaning messes on a black countertop a breeze. On the downside, fingerprints, water rings, and soapy residue also won’t go unnoticed.

Just about the only thing that can hide on a black countertop is ants.

But no matter the material, you should be wiping down your countertops every day anyway. So, cleaning black countertops isn’t necessarily more work than any other color countertop.

How to Avoid Streaks

If your black countertop has any sort of shine to it, it’s hard to miss the residue left behind after cleaning it. You can implement certain things into your cleaning routine to avoid streaks.

Dry the surface immediately with a microfiber cloth. You can also use a terrycloth towel. Drying and buffing the countertop eliminates the streaking caused by soap residue.

Spray 70% isopropyl alcohol onto the countertop to periodically disinfect the surface. This also removes soap residue as well as restores the shine on your countertop.

Black Countertops in Small Spaces

Many people think you can’t have dark countertops in small spaces. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. If you have a small kitchen but love the look of black countertops, there are plenty of ways to make it happen.

It’s true that lighter colors make a room feel bigger, while darker colors make it seem more cramped. But by making a few strategic choices, you can absolutely have black countertops in your small kitchen.

Choose Lighter Cabinets

Dark colors must be used sparingly in a small space. If you definitely want black countertops, it’s best to go with a lighter cabinet. The dark and the light will be a beautiful contrast. For a modern look, pair the black countertop with a white cabinet. For a more traditional look, choose a warm wooden cabinet.

Choose Lighter Wall Colors

Again, use dark colors in moderation. If the countertop and the walls are both dark, your kitchen might feel like a cave. Because lighter colors reflect light, they make the space appear bigger. Sometimes, dark walls in small spaces work, but try to avoid them if you already have dark countertops.

Create the Illusion of Space

There are other ways to create the illusion of space aside from color. The floor material is one of them. Floor patterns work much the same way as color: some make a room look small and others make it look big. For example, large diamonds give the illusion of more room.

Cabinets with glass inserts are another way to make the space feel bigger. Glass inserts trick your brain. Your eye looks through the front of the cabinet, making your brain think there’s more space. Without the glass insert, your brain registers the front of the cabinet as the stopping point.

Get a Professional Opinion

When in doubt, consult with a professional designer. He or she will be able to determine the best materials and colors to use to create a spacious-looking kitchen.

Black Countertop Materials

These days, pretty much every countertop material is available in black. You have your pick of the material that suits your design and practical needs.

  • Laminate is the most affordable and the most popular countertop material. It’s easy to clean, but hard or even impossible to repair depending on the damage.
  • Ceramic tile comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. But what do you do if you love the look of tile countertops but can’t stand the thought of scrubbing grout? Choose larger tiles so there is more surface area and less grout to clean. Consider using a colored grout that shows less dirt. Sealing the grout also protects it from absorbing stains.
  • Concrete is an increasingly popular choice for countertops. (I have them in my kitchen!)The material is more affordable than many natural or engineered stone. It can be stained to appear any shade of black. Seal it after it’s set to keep the porous surface safe from stains and water.
  • Many people prefer the look of natural stone because of the different colors and patterns available. Granite is a solid choice, but manufactured quartz is gaining popularity.

Black Countertop Pros and Cons

There are many good and not-so-good qualities of black countertops that we discussed. Here they are laid out so you can judge for yourself.


  • Black countertops are both traditional and modern.
  • They can be cleaned just the same as other countertops.
  • With the right design choices, they can be used in a small kitchen.
  • There are a variety of countertop materials in a variety of shades of black.


  • Fingerprints, water rings, and soap residue are more visible.
  • Cleaning them may seem more involved if you’re not used to wiping your countertops daily.
  • If paired with dark cabinets or wall colors, they can make a small space feel even smaller.

Related Questions

Are black countertops outdated?

Both black and white countertops are timeless. They are a neutral color that doesn’t limit the design scheme of the rest of the kitchen. You can pair black countertops with a variety of paint colors, wood tones, patterns, and textures. A classic black countertop lets you change other elements in your space as trends change.

What colors go best with black countertops?

Ideally, you want everything else in the kitchen to be light. Whether the space is small or large, keeping everything else light offers a nice contrast. Cabinets in shades of white, cream, and light gray pair beautifully with black countertops.For the floor, you can either match the cabinets or the counters. A lighter floor makes the space feel larger, and that is best for a small kitchen. A darker floor gives the space a luxurious flair.If you’re afraid of the space looking too drab, add some color! Black is neutral and pairs well with anything. You can go totally bold with a color on the wall or add color with small accents or linens.

Should the backsplash be darker than the countertop?

There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to design. Typically, the backsplash is lighter than the countertop in order to make the kitchen appear bigger and brighter. When going with a black countertop in a small kitchen, that might be the way to go.That doesn’t mean you can’t ever have a dark backsplash. Nothing is darker than black, so in this case, your backsplash wouldn’t be darker than the countertop. If you want a dark backsplash, you do have to make sure the colors coordinate. It’ll probably be hard to match the black exactly so choosing a complementary color is a better option.

Do You Need Countertop Installers?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.


The timelessness of black countertops means they’re likely to never go out of style. It’s sort of comforting to know that, no matter what the trend, a black countertop will always work.

Black countertops are sleek in modern kitchens and elegant in traditional kitchens. Every countertop material is available in black, giving you many style options. With careful design choices elsewhere, black countertops can be used in small kitchens.

While they don’t take extra work to clean, the fingerprints and soap residue might be annoying to some. If you’re not used to wiping down your counters every day, it might seem like these require more care.

The pros definitely outweigh the cons, here. But really, it all comes down to aesthetics.

Brigid Levi
Brigid Levi

Brigid Levi is a wife, mother, and freelance writer who enjoys a good DIY project and creating beautiful spaces within her home. From cleaning and organization hacks to home decor ideas, she loves helping people in their quest to turn a house into a home. Her hobbies include pretending to be Joanna Gaines while updating her home with her husband and performing in local theater productions.

More by Brigid Levi