Real estate

ASK THE STAGER

What kind of countertop is trendy?

Halstead Properties/www.realproimages.com

The ideal bathroom for staging will be mostly white with a polished-chrome faucet and hardware that has a transitional style.

Q. I am renovating my main upstairs bathroom and need to decide on a material for the vanity top. (Although I live in an affluent town, our home is the typical four-bedroom 1970s Garrison Colonial — nothing particularly special.)

I am working with a designer at a big-box store who says quartz with an undermount sink is the most popular/desirable, with granite coming in a close second. I agree that these look beautiful, but I really hate cleaning the crevice between the undermount sink and the countertop. I really want a solid surface (Corian-type) counter with an integrated sink for easy cleaning. The designer warned me that this might be a dated look. The price difference between the quartz, granite, and solid surface isn’t significant. What should I get?

My latest thought is to purchase a shiny-chrome faucet and fixtures to offset the satin finish of the solid surface, but I would very much welcome your opinion. Thanks for your help.

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A. A bathroom or kitchen renovation can be costly, so ask yourself if you’re going to sell your home in the next five years. If so, consider what would appeal to buyers. You don’t want to have to redo your renovation in order to sell your home.

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“Transitional style” — a combination of traditional and contemporary — is the most popular look with buyers. It has clean lines and is generally less ornamental than traditional pieces. It is sophisticated and generally has subdued color and themes.

When we are staging a home for sale, we find that the ideal bathroom is mostly white with a polished-chrome faucet and hardware that has a transitional style. So keep those general thoughts in mind when creating your plan.

Regarding countertops, many people have a hard time deciding which material is best. The good news is there are many options. The bad news is that there are many options.

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Which is more important to you? The countertop or the integrated sink? The answer will help you narrow down the options.

If your answer is integrated sink, your countertop choices are Corian and ceramic. Of the two, I would definitely go with ceramic. (I agree that Corian is outdated.) Maria Estanqueiro from Douro Granite & Marble in Danbury, Conn., told me that in more than “50 percent of the remodel projects we handle, we are removing Corian to replace and update with stone.”

Waterware Showrooms

An Empire quartz white vanity top.

If you place a higher priority on the countertops, than I would suggest quartz or marble. Marble is higher maintenance but a sharp-looking option. Quartz will be more durable and easier to maintain. Marble and quartz countertops are usually installed with a small lip over the sink and then caulked below with a tight seal, eliminating concerns about cracks and bacteria buildup. You could use granite, but the trend is toward quartz and marble in the bath and granite in the kitchen.

As far as the hardware is concerned, I agree with your idea to use a polished-chrome faucet and fixtures. The polished “shiny” look is the latest trend.

One last thought. You mentioned that your home was built in the 1970s. I caution people who are renovating older properties to keep with the nature and character of the home. Upgrade and update, but don’t create a time warp or “Jetsons” look that doesn’t lend to the style of the home. Stick with a transitional look. If you go streamlined on the sink, choose transitional-style cabinetry and hardware so the sink stays in sync with the rest of the home.

Waterware Showrooms

A Carrara marble top with a ceramic undermount sink on a Fairmont Shaker Americana vanity.

Waterware Showrooms

A Fairmont ceramic vanity top on a Fairmont Smithfield vanity in medium gray.

Waterware Showrooms

The polished “shiny” look is the latest trend for fixtures.

Kara Woods, an award-winning home staging and design professional who specializes in the luxury market, teaches at the Academy of Home Staging and serves as Northeast regional vice president of the Real Estate Stagers Association. Send comments and questions to Address@globe.com.
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