Get ready for the holidays with a whole new look for your kitchen. Making a dramatic change can be as simple as changing the countertops. And, if you keep the same cabinets, your new kitchen can be surprisingly affordable.

Want to go modern? Exotic? Sleek? Dramatic? With the huge variety of stone currently available, the only limitation is your imagination. Stone suppliers in the Lowcountry have slabs on hand that can be fabricated and installed within a couple of weeks.

Painting existing cabinets is a great way to create a new look on a tight budget. Stone is available at all price points, and many of the popular light colors, grays and quartz-like marble can be surprisingly affordable.

Of course the size of your kitchen is the most determining factor. Take a light kitchen dark, or lighten up the palette for a fresh, clean look.

Using different stone finishes can also add to the appeal of your new countertops. Consider highly polished surfaces, or matte or leathered finishes. They not only create visual appeal, they also feel different to the touch.

Adding a new tile backsplash or changing out the existing one can create new focal points. Consider the area behind the stove as a blank canvas for creative tile detail.

Of course, new stone and an attractive kitchen can add value to your home when it becomes time to sell. Real estate agents confirm that home buyers select and pay more for a home with a great kitchen.

Other ways to freshen the kitchen? Change your light fixtures or add new ones. Change the faucets. Change the artwork and wall colors, floor covering and ceiling fixtures. The only requirement is imagination – and a good stone supplier.

You spend more time in the kitchen than any room in the house. Make it a room you find attractive and comfortable.

Andrea Antunes McGilton is project manager at Distinctive Granite and Marble, with showrooms in Okatie; Lady’s Island; Pooler, Ga., and on Hilton