If your kitchen has a old laminate countertop, then you should replace it. These countertops scream "out of date." If they are old, they probably have stains and scratches.
You have two popular choices when it comes to replacing a laminate countertop: wood or quartz.
Butcher block is a thick wooden material. It is great for wood style homes (log cabins, rustic cottages). The wood is always a hardwood, oftentimes something beautiful such as walnut or maple. The wood is oiled with a mineral oil. This brings out the rich patterns in the wood. You don't treat a butcher block with polyurethane and stain because you will be preparing food on sections of it. Mineral oil is the natural and safe treatment.
Butcher block will require upkeep, but not too much. The main upkeep involves applying mineral oil to the surface so that the underlying wood is not damaged by moisture or staining. This is not hard to do. You don't have to sand the wood. All you have to do is pour some mineral oil on a cloth and buff it into the dry countertop.
There are two basic designs: edge grain and flat grain. Edge grain looks like a checkerboard. It is more expensive, because it requires more labor to produce. However, it is stronger, and more resistant to knife marks.
Flat grain is less expensive and has the classic "floor board" pattern. If you do get a flat grain style, you should invest in a separate cutting block for when you want to chop vegetables. Place the cutting block on top of the countertop and only use that when using a knife. You should never use a knife directly on a flat edged countertop because it can create knife marks in the countertop.
If you're looking for a more modern looking countertop, then quartz is a fantastic choice. These countertops are made by mixing ground up quartz with a small amount of resin. They are then formed into large blocks, polished, and sealed.
Unlike some other materials such as natural stone and butcher block, quartz countertops require no maintenance. You don't have to apply sealers or mineral oil. All you have to do is clean the countertop with soap and water.
One of the great things about quartz kitchen countertops is that they come in many different color and pattern variations. You can get pink, black, or grey. Some have large flecks of color, while others are more evenly speckled.