Shocking News from Nashville Home Stager: Granite Countertops Are Like Crack Cocaine

Because I am a Nashville-based Home Stager, it’s my job to know what sells and what doesn’t.  My friends, kitchens and master bathrooms sell houses.



I prefer timeless kitchens and try to steer my decorating clients in that direction.    Simple white (or painted) cabinets are best, as they never look dated.  I can usually walk into a kitchen with wood finish cabinets and tell you what year the cabinetry was installed based on the undertones of the wood and style of the cabinetry.



What I know, but may never fully understand, is that granite countertops are like crack cocaine to homebuyers.  They gotta have it.  They’ll sell their bodies on the street for it.  They’ll give up square footage and proximity to interstates and shopping for it. 



Again, I think timeless is best – give me marble, wood bartop, or silestone any day of the week.



But that doesn’t change the fact that in this buyer’s market granite is still king (for now).  And don’t even get me started on stainless steel appliances . . .

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52 thoughts on “Shocking News from Nashville Home Stager: Granite Countertops Are Like Crack Cocaine

  1. Linda says:

    you are SO right! Personally, I am sick and tired of granite but everyone in my area thinks it’s the only way to go. Most of the Realtors will tell their clients to put in granite before listing if they truly want to have a chance at a sale. Every home buyer has it at the top of their requirement list.

  2. [email protected] says:

    Kristie – you are right on! I am a Home Stager in Ontario, and granite is King here too, though I don’t understand it either. I always try & get my decorating clients into Zodiac or Hanstone….and always always push for white cabinetry, simple backsplashes etc so that they don’t date in 5 years (or less!) But the granite thing will always baffle me!

  3. Dianne says:

    the good thing about my black granite countertops is “they don’t show dirt” the bad thing about them is “they don’t show dirt” I love ’em! LOVE the painted white cabinets…mine are getting done THIS WEEK…then you have to come take photos…

  4. Andrea says:

    Hi, Kristie! What a great post, and I love the timeless look of painted cabinets and marble in he kitchen. I have granite, which I love, too, but I love the marble in the pic above because it’s so classic. In fact, love all these pics!

    Thanks, always, for your posts!!!


  5. Gracious Spaces says:

    Now that is FUNNY and TRUE! People act crazy when it comes to having granite counters. I almost feel like I should apologize for still having wood countertops! No doubt granite looks good but the charm of a kitchen can be lost if there’s no room for other unique choices.

  6. Leif says:

    What about the statement..Marble is hard to stains! I wanted it in my kitchen and the “Stone Man” acted like it was his personal mission to talk me out of it. It worked and I have regretted not choosing Carrera marble in my Kitchen and Baths. I should have gone with what I wanted! 🙁

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      a lot of contractors keep people from doing what they want, because they (the contractors) feel more comfortable doing what they are used to doing. i have had clients tell me that there painter didn’t think they should use this color or paint the ceiling, etc. – and I say, if your painter knew what color you should paint, he’d be a designer, not a painter!

  7. joy says:

    I think people’s mind just got influenced — if model home shows more comparable choices for counter tops, I believe people will follow. Granite is indeed good with it texture and pattern etc, just like wood, has their own timeless beauty being natural materials, and easy to clean.
    However, for stainless steels, no, I’m not sure if it will go on like this, especially for a more modern setting kitchen. I think one of the reason that it went popular is it was brought into kitchen by stainless sinks. Stainless sink is a good option due to resistance to scratch in comparison to porcelain. Being neutral in color helps too. However, more and more I saw designers started to use colorful appliances . Personally I don’t like them at all due to the fact that finger prints shows easily.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      good thoughts, joy! i really think the stagnant economy has influenced the designs that everyday consumers are willing to embrace – they are scared to step into something different, and they are just clinging to what they know – stainless steel and granite!

      • Emily says:

        Amen! Thank you for saying this! I said the same thing to our realtor, as we were house shopping and shocked that NO ONE is doing anything BUT stainless/granite kitchens. She thought we were nuts to question the status quo. 🙂 These materials will date our kitchens, I say!

  8. Heather says:

    interesting! i was going to ask if it was just a symptom of our area but seems not by the comments here. i always thought nashville was a bit behind the times when it came to trends b/c i rarely see homes in this area (franklin/brentwood) that have the same appeal as beautiful homes i see on blogs, or in current magazines. i wondered if it was me who was just so far out of the box with my personal taste.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      heather, i think nashville is largely “traditional.” obviously, brentwood and franklin are. i see more edgy stuff in the historic areas of nashville, and very little individualism in williamson county.

  9. Shari says:

    Okay, I have to ask after reading all the comments about countertops . . . I have Corian. Is that past its trend, too? A friend who has black granite told me she only likes it when it is perfectly clean and polished, which is not often. The rest of the time she regrets choosing it. She suggested Travertine (not sure what it is and if I’m spelling it correctly).

  10. Sheila Zeller says:

    I’m all over Silestone – love quartz! Here it’s still hugely granite, granite, granite… my last clients had to have it, had it in the home they just sold, and wouldn’t consider anything else for the reno of their new home! Their new kitchen is going to be gorgeous with classic white cabinetry, so I guess it’s a draw! 🙂

  11. Henry says:

    Hi Kristie, so many nice commets here and you are doing so many great jobs here.
    Maybe there something we can work together, for we have lost of good materials which are very nice looking.

    Have a great day!


  12. Anne-Marie says:

    I think it has a lot to do with men liking granite and stainless steel. It is a formula that they are comfortable with and the durability of granite has a great appeal for them. Also, huge trends that have been around for a long time, as have granite and stainless steel, don’t go away overnight. If we are around in ten years, we will hear a lot of people lamenting that they went with carrera, because it really DOES take more maintenance to look perfect, and we Americans like perfect, but we dislike too much maintenance. I always smile when I see the word “timeless” applied to interior decorating because it is impossible that anything (other than period styles) in decorating be “timeless.” Decorating reflects the time in which it is carried out. That’s part of the fun. Your concept of changing out lighting fixtures and other relatively inexpensive items is very smart. One can do a lot to update and add the liveliness we all want in our homes this way. You don’t have to “throw out the baby with the bathwater” to get an updated interior! BTW, I love your blog. If there was a decorologist festival, like there are film festivals, you and Maria would steal the show.

  13. Kait Palmer says:

    Hallelujah…I thought I was the only crazy who thought stainless steel appliances were the biggest joke out there! Invented by people who don’t cook or have children or ever spill anything or touch anything EVER!

  14. Christina says:

    I just lucked onto your website and thank goodness! We’ve been working with a kitchen remodeling establishment north of Pittsburgh since October. I’ve said all along that I wanted white cabinetry and between my husband and the “rep” from the showroom, I’ve been dissuaded continuously. “Brown cherry cabinetry is what people like around here.” I’ve tried to come around to it. Really. But then I had my husband read your website and the man has finally seen the light! Now if he could just see the many charms of marble I might actually have a new kitchen by summer.

  15. Cherie says:

    I find all these comments so interesting! As Kristie has said…if you are not selling, do what you want. And that’s what we all should do. However, I would like to put in a kind work for granite. Poor Granite! the decorators are giving it such a hard time. To me, granite is timeless. Like diamonds, it comes from the earth, and is beautiful when polished. It lasts and lasts, and it you take a few precautions–such as not letting melted butter sit on it–it will be beautiful forever. Our cabinets are dark walnut, and yes, installed about thirty years ago, so dated perhaps. Our granite counter tops have a walnut-colored vein among other earthy tones, which looks lovely with the cabinets. A day does not go by that I do not admire the shine of the granite, and it’s earthy richness, brought to light by man! We didn’t install granite to make our older kitchen look updated, or to sell it, but for it’s sheer beauty. It looks as if it has always been a part of our kitchen because it is not ostentatious. It is granite, a thing of beauty gouged out of the earth to be enjoyed. I respectfully do not understand the cold shoulder it is getting from the decorators, because granite is one of many lovely choices we have these days.

  16. Catherine says:

    I had a little chuckle at this post. I thought I was the only one thinking it was weird that everyone was so obsessed with those two things. Seriously, I had to stop watching House Hunters on HGTV because I get SO sick of people going on and on about granite and stainless steel appliances! I had granite in my previous home and it is beautiful and I loved it there but the house before that had laminate countertops and they were fantastic too (really, they were!). There are lots of lovely and different materials to use.

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  20. Tiffany C. says:

    I just stumbled onto your blog and I’m loving it. I’m in the process of buying my first home right now and looking up home design things. The first thing we are doing (besides painting) is painting the oak cabinets white and then we want a black countertop. Right now there is white tile (which I just hate tile… I hate cleaning it!). I’ve been looking around, and I too feel like granite is WAY over-used and too popular… however, everything I’ve been told and read says it is the best for durability and scratches and heat. Is that true? What are my other options that is still a more timeless option and will have a black option? Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      My favorite granites are the ones that are almost black. I also like Caesarstone in black, soapstone, and marble. I heard the other day that marble is cheaper than most solid surfaces right now, which has not always been the case. I don’t mind a few possible stains over time on marble, as it is timeless and awesome-looking regardless!

      • Letty says:

        OMG, tks so much I'm going nuts over my countertops, I don't like granite, to busy, to much color going on, my contractor, intaler and decorator going against me, I found d perfect marble, I love it but they don't so now I guess I can do wherever I want since I'm not selling …. Thank God''

  21. Teresa Dove says:


    Thank you so much for your funny and insightful blogs!! What do you think about recycled glass/concrete countertops? They can be beautiful, but so expensive! I had “butterfly green” granite in a previous house, which I loved, but now I’m thinking more about recycle/renew . . . Is this a trend you see coming and lasting?

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      I honestly don’t know too many people that actually have concrete countertops (maybe 2). They are so heavy and labor-intensive to install, so that’s a drawback. I feel sure more renewable/green products will be coming out in kitchen design that will hopefully give us more options.

  22. karin says:

    Wow….I can’t believe it….finally somebody has their head straight regarding granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. I have been told time and time again by realtors to update, probably for their own benefit?

    FYI….emailed you regarding a virtual consultation. Please respond. Thanks

  23. Aimee says:

    I love the look of the white cabinets and black/grey countertops. I’m getting ready to install new countertops in my condo and have the cabinets painted white so I was excited to see your beautiful kitchen with a similiar color pallete. I’m leaning toward Silestone (Stellar Night – it’s the one with black base and hints of tiny sparkles). I love the look of granite too, but I like the durability and easy care of Silesone.

    I’m wondering though if the Stellar Night Silestone will be timeless or if it’s just a trendy style and if it will be to different/flashy for prospective buyers should I decide to sell years from now.

    What do you think? Is this a good style to bet on or should I go with a Silesone that has more of a natual, casual, softer stone look?

  24. candace creations says:

    I HEAR you on that! We are trying to sell our house now and that is the main issue! We have a BEAUTIFUL custom built home in a golf course community (not backed up to the course) with a large privte backyard with huge beautiful trees it’s like you are in your own little paradise. The layout of the house is great with almost 4000 sf of well planned out space. ANyways..people come to our house and fall in love, then they go in the kitchen and see we don’t have granite and stainless steel and it’s over. They decide to go woth new construction in a cookie cutter neighborhood with no yard just to have the new stuff in the kitchen!!! UGH! And our kitchen doesn’t look outdated, it’s classic with white corian and white tile backsplash that looks nice. We have white appliances but they are still nice…and seriously…if it’s that big of a deal make an offer and factor in the espense of changing the kitchen to how you want

  25. [email protected] Nikiforoff Designs says:

    Call me crazy, but I’ve never been a big fan of granite 🙁 Too many people have it installed as a sign of “wealth” without checking first to see if it works with existing cabinets, flooring, etc. I saw a house that no money was spared on. Granite countertops, glass backsplashes, fancy cabinetry, beautiful flooring. The trouble was, none of it really worked together. It was as if each item was sold to them by different sales people at different times…and maybe that’s exactly what happened!

    Oh…and I’m hoping the stainless steel will be gone soon too…So much upkeep even with all the cleaners available.

    To Candace Creations—I would LOVE your house with the white Corian, backsplash and white appliances! My kind of kitchen 🙂

  26. Theresa says:

    Thank you thank you for pointing out what drives me crazy on HGTV. Granite countertops and SS appliances. I just laugh when a couple walks into a house with BRAND NEW WHITE appliances and says the appliances are dated. Last I checked, they still made white appliances.

    That being said, I am looking at my maple cabinets that are a honey colored stain from about 14 years ago. I live in Wisconsin and just about everyone that builds (in this home’s price range) has some type of natural wood moldings/woodwork trim throughout the house. If I painted my cabinets white, what would I do with the moldings? I don’t want white woodwork because that would not sell around here and I don’t think it fits in middle Wisconsin.

  27. Jane says:

    I also like this post because I agree with it, ha. I find it interesting, though, that it is two years old but could have been written yesterday. Surely, it’s about time for the next big thing.
    I will be building soon and may choose white cabinets. What do you think of the cabinets with the darker wash in the crevices? What kind of appliances?

  28. Helen says:

    Need advice: Bought home with great main floor but kitchen is worn out. Oak light colored cabinets look ok but white appliances on last leg and linoleum flooring dated along with counter tops. Don’t like stainless appliances (always finger prints) and my current black stove always looks dusty ( as does all my other black furniture) and black seems destined for going out of style. This only leaves white but I don’t want an outdated looking kitchen. Leaving the oil rubbed bronze look behind as well due to hard water stains and knobs looking scratched. Have white Kohler sink and it requires lots of cleaning so back to stainless. Would love a really big apron sink but don’t know if I can put it with the new tougher laminate counter-tops. Don’t want to put expensive counter-tops on older cabinets. So, looking at white appliances, laminate counter-tops, stainless sink & knobs, already have white square tile back splash (keep or change?). I do have an island with room for one stool at narrow end. This room blends together with large eating area or small family room with lots of windows but they are shaded by patio roof and room is dark. Will be putting my current table, a round expandable oak, with 6 chars into this space. Need suggestions and help in the paint dept.( I like warmer neutral colors the best)

  29. Jackie says:

    Just want an opinion as I am updating the kitchen of a 14 yr old condo kitchen.
    Whit caninet swill get a fresh coat of paint. It still has nice laminate Bruce flooring. Walls will get A fresh coat of white paint. I just don’t know what color granite to put in to mark it pop. Thinking about subway tile for the backsplash.

    Any ideas for a granite color?

  30. Benita says:

    We are in the process of redoing our kitchen now. I refused to get stainless steel appliances. Everyone’s home that I have visited has stainless steel appliances and I too am sick of them. We went with the black ice appliances by Whirlpool that are black with stainless steel handles and everyone loves them. We just had our off white Thomasville cabinets put in and they are gorgeous. Now I am torn about the granite. I think I will also check out Silestone. I live in Franklin and they really are pushing the granite. Any thoughts–

  31. Kelly NotKel says:

    I am trying to buy my first home and so far everything I have been looking at (and making offers on) needs the entire kitchen ripped out. Which is fine with me since I’m an appliance snob (and they must be black, no stainless, ick) and I really want to do painted (in a real color) cabinets. The house I’m currently waiting to hear back on (in my price range, I am going up against investors and sadly, cash is king) has a brand new kitchen. Luckily, the cabinets are nice wood that should take paint well, but the counters are granite. And a weird gold granite with coppery and brown veining too that clashes with the natural cabinets. I am not fond of it, but it’s brand new and I don’t want to rip it out. The problem is, this is going to kill my grand almost-beachy, teal cabinet plan as the only color I can mentally see against these counters is a true red. So I guess put my (hopefully) future home down for another example of the cautionary tale of what not to buy in granite when you’re looking to sell.

  32. Serena B says:

    what do you think the appliance color trend is going to do next? The 60s & 70s had brown, harvest gold & avocado green. The 80s had “almond” or whatever off-white they called it. In the 90s it was BRIGHT white…had to have white appliances to go with those white thermofoil cabinets! Then stainless took over. Soooo…..if you had to venture a guess, where are the trends heading next? Stainless has been around for a while now…..seems like it’s time for something new.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      With white cabinets in most new kitchens, I’m hoping COLORFUL appliances will be the next trend. Black and white will always look good, but maybe emerald green, jadite, turquoise, navy. I’ve heard GE is toying with adding more colors to their Artistry line of appliances. If they do jadite, I will totally jump on replacing all my appliances in that!

  33. Pamela says:

    Just found your blog & love it! Getting ready to do a partial kitchen remodel. Any experience with copper sinks? I have autumn oak cabinets – I know they’re outdated but we love them & the finish looks as good as it did 34 yrs. ago. Trying to decide on countertop – love marble but my husband isn’t great at wiping spills up immediately so will most likely go with granite.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Pamela – I love copper, but haven’t done a copper sink. I actually have a copper backsplash and sink faucet in my own kitchen! Copper would be beautiful with the oak cabinets. Look into some quartz countertop options before defaulting to granite. They can give you a lighter, less-busy look, some even look like marble (without the upkeep). Caesarstone and Cambria are quartz brands to look at.

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