Until very recently stainless steel countertops were for use in a restaurant. They did not have the design appeal to grace a domestic kitchen. It is a contentious material, but it does have a sleekness all of its own. One of the reasons it is becoming a more popular choice is that it used to show every finger mark, but technological advances have produced new finishes that limits this.
Stainless steel countertops do have some distinct advantages- its most endearing property is that it is completely non porous which limits the growth of bacteria. That is the reason they are used in professional kitchens. It does not chip and it requires minimal maintenance. It does however scratch and it always needs a chopping board. Typically the stainless steel is affixed to plywood, which makes it strong, but it also deadens any metallic sound.
If the idea of all the countertops being made of stainless steel is a bit frightening then it is possible to convert the only main work surface area.
If there is only a small area stainless steel reflects light, which helps amplify the effect of natural and ambient light, which opens up the space and gives an illusion of size. It can also reflect the other colors in the kitchen.
Many people find the neutral light colors incredibly boring for a kitchen, yet stainless steel countertops do not immediately spring to mind as neutral. They are very neutral in the sense that they blend in with whatever color of appliances you have and the sleek metallic look does not clash with most colors. For some it makes the kitchen appear cold, whilst others would describe that look as clean. There color is consistent which some people think make them look flat. They are not harmed by industrial use. For me a big advantage is that they match the sink.
They do have specific advantages and disadvantages both in design and aesthetically, in the end their use age is down to personal preference. I am a complete aficionado, but that is because I started my working life as a professional chef. Stainless steel countertops are made for chefs!
I would not have a countertop in a working kitchen in any other material; it saves me hours a week in cleaning time. It is not called Stainless steel for nothing it is stainless, it is like it is made from Teflon and nothing sticks to Teflon. Because nothing sticks to it then almost nothing can discolor it or stain it.
It handles any amount of heat, the worst that happens is when you place a hot pan on it, it plops as the metal expands, and until you get used to it has a tendency to make you jump. It is completely stain resistant, another real plus. It is wonderfully smooth and it is flexible enough to take an integrated sink.
The worst disadvantage is that it dulls knives and makes them blunt immediately, however this can be overcome by using a chopping board. For me a chopping board is an imperative protection whatever surface of countertop you have. Stainless steel countertops are expensive, but they are so durable they should last a lifetime. They can be annoying showing fingertip marks if you have young children; however this is countered by the fact that a quick wipe eliminates them.
If the base is not firm enough they can be prone to dents, but that is not the fault of the stainless steel countertop it is one of installation. Of course you cannot use any thing like a metal pad to clean them as they scratch, but you do not need them warm water and a soft cloth are enough to clean them. If you think they loop cold this effect can be countered by red woods in the kitchen or if they are mixed with stone tiles.
Another huge plus is that stainless steel has to be one off the easiest countertops to fit. You dry fit just to make sure it fits. Measure and mark the hole needed for the sink and use a drill to make a starter hole. Cut out the hole with the jigsaw. Place the adhesive on the top edge of the cabinet and fix in place.