Seems like we were just getting ready for a long, lazy summer, but now it’s time to start thinking about the holidays. How about an early gift for your home and family?

You could have a whole new look for those holiday festivities just by changing the countertops in your kitchen. With so many new options in quartz and granite, the change could be simple and surprisingly affordable.

Ready to make a major new statement? Want to go modern? Exotic? Sleek? Dramatic?

With the huge variety of stone patterns and colors 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.

Paint your cabinets and change the hardware to make an even greater impact on a tight budget. Take a light kitchen dark, or lighten up the palette for a fresh, clean look.

Stone is available at all price points and many of the popular light colors, particularly the red-hot white quartz, can be surprisingly affordable. Of course, the size of your kitchen is the most determining budget factor.

Using different stone finishes can also add creative impact. Consider mixing highly polished surfaces with matte or leathered finishes.

The counters will not only create visual appeal, they will feel different to the touch.

Installing a new tile backsplash on a painted wall, or changing out the existing one, can create new focal points. Consider the area behind the stove as a blank canvas for bold and creative tile detail.

Other ways to freshen the kitchen? Change your light fixtures or add new ones over the island or countertops. Change the faucets. Change the artwork and wall colors, flooring, rugs and ceiling fixtures.

Plus there’s an added bonus. The new stone and an attractive kitchen can add value to your home when it becomes time to sell.

Real estate agents confirm that homebuyers select and pay more for a home with a great kitchen.

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