Budget Kitchen Countertops That Look Like a Million Bucks

They may not be the real thing, but these inexpensive substitutes for pricey countertop materials might just be what you’re looking for to perk up your kitchen without busting your budget.

By: Alyson McNutt English

Photo By: Formica

Photo By: 3form

Photo By: Formica

Photo By: Formica

Photo By: Formica

Photo By: Lazy Granite

Photo By: Formica

Photo By: Giani

Photo By: Paperstone

If You Like Engineered Quartz, Try Formica Silver Quartzite

Don’t underestimate the power of a good laminate countertop. The style factor of laminates has skyrocketed in recent years, and the availability of different patterns and finishes makes them a good option for many looking to redo their countertops. If you want to budget down from engineered quartz, check out Formica’s Silver Quartzite. This stone-look laminate will serve any kitchen well as a strong neutral design force and a major player in making the kitchen a worry-free, fun, and functional place to be.

If You Like Glass, Try 3form Chroma Countertops

Glazed, tempered glass countertops can offer an almost ethereal, light feeling in a kitchen where the countertop is usually a solid mass. As a trend, they’ve become more popular recently, but as lovely as these gleaming glass-tops are, they come with a hefty price tag: some can go as high as $300 a square foot. An equally cool-looking and more eco-friendly alternative is 3form’s Chroma Countertops, which come in a variety of colors and almost seem to be lit from within. 

If You Like Soapstone, Try Formica Soapstone Sequoia

Soapstone has been used for centuries as a countertop, and its popularity endures, as do the countertops themselves: soapstone fans swear by their durability. These slabs of stability don't come cheap, though, and while prices vary, you'll likely be looking at upwards of $80 per square foot. To get the soapstone look without breaking the bank, check out Formica’s Soapstone Sequoia. From their new 180x line of laminates that boast a more realistic natural stone look, you’ll know it’s not soapstone, but it will look great and you'll have the reliability of laminate, which is nothing to turn down your nose at.

If You Like Reclaimed Wood, Try Butcher Block Countertops

Reclaimed wood countertops can be astoundingly beautiful, but because of their very nature — that they’re reclaimed, old, and not just being manufactured at-will — they can be extremely pricey. If the look of wood is what you want, though, the classic butcher block countertop is no slouch. One of the most affordable countertop options out there, the warm surface does require some maintenance and care, but will work hard for you as long as you look out for it.

If You Like Travertine, Try Formica Solid Surface in Travertine Gold

Travertine is synonymous with luxury, and that comes at a cost. The natural variation in the warm-colored stone is aesthetically appealing, but you may feel a little more cooly toward it once you calculate the cost of using slabs of travertine on your kitchen counters. Formica has developed a solid-surface material that is affordable (compared to the pricey natural stones) and nicely mimics their look and feel. If you’re considering travertine but want to look at a more budget-friendly option, try Formica’s solid surface countertops in Travertine Gold.

If You Like Marble, Try Formica Striato Solid Surface Countertop

Marble countertops are the epitome of the luxurious kitchen ideal, and that luxury comes with a price tag that will likely be more than $100 a square foot. If you love the look of marble but don’t care for the price of Carrara, consider the solid surface alternative Striato from Formica. It carries all the advantages of solid surface countertops (durability, lower price) and comes with a distinctly marble-like look.

If You Like Granite, Try Granite Tiles

Granite slabs are the gold standard in stone countertops, but those slabs don’t come cheap, and the installation of the slabs isn’t going to be any easier to stomach, either. If you really want the look and feel of granite, though, you can still get it at a fraction of the cost with granite tiles. You don’t even have to source the material yourself: You can order kits online from Lazy Granite, and if you are disinclined to DIY, hire a tile installer to finish the job. You will still come out far ahead financially than you would have if you’d laid out the money for those granite slabs! 

If You Like Stainless Steel, Try Formica Endless Graytone Laminate Countertops

Professional kitchens use stainless steel countertops, and many serious home chefs want that look, as well. If you really want stainless steel, there really isn’t a lot that’s going to substitute for the metal itself. If you’re interested in that look, though, check out Formica’s Endless Graytone laminate. 

If You Like Stained Concrete, Try Giani Stone Paint for Countertops

Okay, so this isn’t a replacement, per se. But Giani stone paint is a sealant that also completely and totally overhauls the look of any countertop. It can be used on anything from laminate to butchers block to primed and painted wood, and because it is a finish itself, it should only have to be redone if the surface is ever chipped or damaged. 

If You Like Lava Stone, Try Paperstone Cabernet Countertops

There’s no getting around it: Lava stone is gorgeous. It’s beautiful, with its amazing color, its luster and its you-can’t-quite-put-your-finger-on-it magnificence. It’s also literally one of the most expensive options in the world for countertops, sometimes ending up around $300 a square foot. The reality is, nothing will look like lava stone. But Paperstone, a composite countertop made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper and non-petroleum-based resins, might just make you forget about it. It seems like a solid-surface material but is eco-friendly in almost every way you could imagine, and when you drink in its warm Cabernet color, you might just wonder why you ever considered another crazy-expensive option.