The common fitted Western-style kitchen, developed in the early 20th century, is typically an arrangement of assembled unit cabinetry covered with a more-or-less continuous work surface called worktop or countertop. Primary considerations of material choice and conformation are durability, functionality, hygienics, appearance, and cost.
When installed in a kitchen on standard freestanding or wall-mounted base unit cabinets, worktops are typically about 635–650 mm from front to back and are designed with a slight overhang on the front (leading) edge. This allows for a convenient reach to objects at the back of the worktops while protecting the base cabinet faces. Finished heights from the floor will vary depending on usage but typically will be 880–920 mm They may include an integrated or applied backsplash to prevent spills and objects from falling behind the cabinets. Kitchen countertops may also be installed on freestanding islands, dining areas or bars, desk and table tops. The horizontal surface and vertical edges of the countertop can be decorated in manners ranging from plain to very elaborate. They are often conformed to accommodate the installation of sinks, cookers and cooktops, or other accessories such as dispensers, integrated drain boards, and cutting boards.