The key is creating a kitchen that suits an individual's lifestyle. For example, raising a young family in a black high-gloss kitchen can leave even the most accomplished parents rabid at the near constant polishing-away of tiny fingerprints and repeated dents and scratches tarnishing the surfaces of their expensive bespoke units!
Kitchen worktops make up the sturdy bones of a high-functioning, heavily utilised kitchen. The choice mainly lies between granite, wood and stainless steel.
Incredibly chic and stylish, but often expensive, granite is highly resistant to heat damage, staining, and spills (although black coffee and red wine could leave stains) The weight of granite can make it a tricky worktop material to integrate due to the necessity of a certain standards of support underneath. Widely available in matte or gloss finish, although for most buyers contemporary gloss is preferable.
Wooden worktops are very versatile when it comes to style, finish, maintenance and material (take a look at the difference between black American walnut and oak wooden worktops) It's usually fairly easy to remove marks and staining via gentle sanding or regular cleaning. Perhaps a notable downside is the need to keep wooden worktops as dry as possible, as prolonged contact with water can turn wood black. On average, wood is probably the best all-round investment in terms of style, durability and budget.
Stainless steel is incredibly hygienic, tough, heat resistant and cheap. The recent trend for minimalist kitchens has led to a healthy resurgence in stainless steel worktops. However, it's worth noting that stainless steel surfaces scratch incredibly easily and can be difficult to repair.