Affordable Kitchen Countertops That Look Like a Million Bucks

Perk up your kitchen without draining the bank with these kitchen countertop ideas.

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July 08, 2020

Photo By: Formica Corporation, Black Shalestone

Photo By: Photography by Scott Hamilton. Kitchen design by Robin Muto Interiors.

Photo By: Concetto Pictures/Hayman Homes

Photo By: Ashley Avila; Design By: Amy Darooge, Villa Decor

Photo By: Formica Corporation, Calacatta Marble

Photo By: Caesarstone

Photo By: Formica Group

Photo By: 3form

Photo By: Caeserstone, Airy Concrete

Photo By: Formica Corporation, Planked Walnut and Carrara Bianco

Photo By: Wilsonart, Slice of Ice collection

Photo By: Caesarstone, Cloudburst Concrete

Photo By: Formica Group

Photo By: Caesarstone

Photo By: Formica Corporation, Ferro Graphite and Silver Quartzite

Photo By: Shane Inman

Photo By: Lowe's

Photo By: Photos: Christopher Shane/Styling: Elizabeth Demos

Photo By: Formica

Photo By: Lowe's

Photo By: Scott Dorrance ©Formica Corporation, Strata Olympico and Paloma Polar

Photo By: Johnson Dekton, Trillium

Photo By: Caesarstone

Photo By: Giani

Photo By: Jason de Alba ©Lars Remodel,

If You Like Natural Stone, Try Black Shalestone From Formica

Countertops don't need to break your budget. There are plenty of inexpensive products that'll help you achieve a high-end look, and must-see options for natural stone, too. Take a look. You might just find the perfect kitchen countertop ideas for your own home and lifestyle.

Above, black shalestone countertops by Formica Group deliver a deep charcoal gray color, patterned with black accents in a high-resolution laminate. If you thought you wanted a dark granite with subtle variations, this finish offers the same look for considerably less. Pricing for Formica Group laminate starts around $2 per square foot.

If You Like a Bright, Reflective Kitchen, Try Pure White from Corian

Don’t underestimate the impact of an “ordinary” white countertop. Most apt to reflect the natural daylight, a white countertop in a natural or gloss finish is guaranteed to brighten a space — even on a dreary day. If you want a countertop that radiates light, shop around for a white quartz that suits your needs. You can find white quartz products from Corian for $70 per square foot.

If You Like the Look of Natural Agate, Try Profondo from Caesarstone

Deep blue and warm turquoise are standout shades in this natural blue agate countertop and backsplash material. The transparencies in these semi-precious stones also allow for light flow, making the counter a stunning focal point when paired with an LED backlight. Use as a focal point in your kitchen, or embrace it as a unique way of showing off Pantone's Color of the Year – Classic Blue – and let the rest of the design fall into place. Pricing on Profondo from Caesarstone starts at $10 per square foot.

If You Like a Rustic Design, Choose a Raw Edge Countertop

Incorporate a slab of natural wood into your kitchen to achieve a desirable, authentically rustic effect. The walnut used in this countertop incorporates a raw edge and adds character to the bar of this home. Check with your local millwork shops to learn more about sourcing a one-of-a-kind piece of wood like this and to get a better sense of what's available in your area.

If You Like Marble, Try Calacatta Marble From Formica

Get the look of natural marble with Calacatta Marble from 180fx® by Formica Group, and complete your kitchen remodel without draining the bank. The premium, high-resolution, stain-resistant finish and durability of the product make it an easy alternative when compared with natural marble. Pricing for 180fx® laminate by Formica Group starts at $3 per square foot.

If You Like the Look of Matte Wrought Iron, You’ll Love Piatto Black from Caesarstone

This textured, matte finish presents as a deeper black color than smooth countertops, offering a more dramatic finish to modern and minimalist kitchens. Available in both 2- and 3-centimeter thicknesses, Piatto from Caesarstone offers that bold look you want in your new space. Pricing from Caesarstone starts at $10 per square foot.

If You Think of Your Countertop as a Canvas, Choose This Watercolor-Inspired Laminate From Formica

Watercolor laminate designs from Formica Group turn your kitchen countertop into a handcrafted work of art. Its gorgeous, flowing watercolor patterns from The Painted Marble Series offer a style-forward look that'll turn your new kitchen into a gallery like never before. The watercolor laminates start at $3 per square foot and are available as shown in Watercolor Porcelain, and its counterpart, a darker Watercolor Steel.

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 as high as $300 per 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. Material starts around $30 per square foot.

If You Like Concrete, Try Airy Concrete From Caesarstone

Quartz concrete is more durable than actual concrete, excelling as a non-porous, non-absorbable, durable option for the home. While the rough quartz finish requires slightly more maintenance than a polished finish, you’ll never need to seal it or worry about watermarks absorbing into the finish. Airy Concrete From Caesarstone offers the look of concrete as a long-term, low-maintenance solution for the home. Countertops cost about $70 per square foot, installed.

If You Like Mixed Surfaces, Try Planked Walnut and Carrera Bianco From Formica

The high-resolution finish of wide planked walnut laminate from 180fx® by Formica Group could fool anyone into thinking it's a real wooden finish, especially how it's used here as a free-standing kitchen island countertop. Paired in the space with Carrera Bianco, this kitchen remodel delivers a high-end look on an affordable budget. Pricing for laminate by Formica Group starts between $2 and $3 per square foot based on the collection.

If Terrazzo Makes You Happy, Try Frozen Terra From Caesarstone

Frozen tundra or Frozen Terra? The concrete-like finish from this Caesarstone quartz countertop is positioned somewhere between smooth concrete and stony terrazzo, and it looks great in a large space. Thanks to their manufacturing, quartz countertops are a non-porous, scratch-resistant, durable solution that remains more affordable than most natural stone countertops. Countertops cost around $70 per square foot, installed.

If You Like a Bold, Ice-Inspired Design, Try Sapphire Ice From Danny Seo and Wilsonart

Danny Seo's collection at Wilsonart is bold, bold, bold. The design mimics the gem-like textures created by the striations in glacial ice. While shown above is the material in Sapphire Ice, other icy-white designs also beg for a space in a boldly designed kitchen. Wilsonart engineered the surfaces of this collection with its proprietary AEON™ Enhanced Performance Technology, making them up to 3x more scuff and scratch resistant than standard laminates. Laminates start around $3 per square foot.

If You Like DIY Concrete Countertops, Try Cloudburst Concrete From Caesarstone

The soft patina of Cloudburst quartz from Caesarstone will catch the eye of all concrete-countertop enthusiasts. Interior Designer Kelly Edwards used the product in a recent project, and reported that "it looks like concrete, but requires less upkeep, and we didn’t have to have someone pour it in place. While quartz (costs more) than traditional concrete countertops, I love it because it’s non porous [unlike concrete], never has to be sealed, and won’t crack and chip." Material and installation of quartz costs around $70 per square foot.

If You Like the Look of Thick Marble, Choose a Marble Laminate

One of the real benefits of laminate is that it’s relatively cheap to make a countertop look like a thick, expensive slab. If there’s a high-end marble you’re trying to mimic in your kitchen, chances are that you’ll be able to find a high-end laminate that tricks the eye. One additional perk of laminate over natural marble is that it's lower maintenance, so you can get your desired look of a thick slab without any of the worry about it staining or getting damaged. Make your pocketbook happy with an affordable laminate countertop like this Painted Black Marble from Formica Group, which starts at $3 per square foot.

If You Like Reclaimed Wood, Try Butcher Block Countertops

Reclaimed wood countertops can be astoundingly beautiful. But because of their very nature — they’re reclaimed and not just manufactured at-will — they can be extremely pricey. If the look of wood is what you want, 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. DIY butcher block installation is appropriate for any skilled DIYer, with materials costing around $30 per square foot.

If You Like the Look of Black Marble, Try Empira Black from Caesarstone

With slight texture and white veining, this quartz countertop feels both organic and elegant. Consider Empira Black if you’re falling in love with darker shades of natural marble (it also may be less expensive than soapstone). Its counterpart in color contrast, Empira White, is a more authentic interpretation of classic Calacatta marble, but with added versatility and guaranteed longevity. Pricing from Caesarstone starts at $10 per square foot.

If You Like Black Granite, Try Ferro Grafite From Formica

The rich color and subtle veining of dark granite are replicated beautifully in Ferro Grafite from 180fx® by Formica Group. It comes with two standard finishes — high gloss and satin — so you can customize your look further. In fact, this is one you might want to consider as a vertical application, such as in an easy-to-maintain faux-stone backsplash or a waterfall countertop. Pricing for 180fx® laminate by Formica Group starts at $3 per square foot.

If You Like Light Wood, Try Maple Laminate From Formica

High-quality faux wood countertops can look a lot like natural wood but without any of the extra sealing or permeability concerns. For an inexpensive kitchen refresh, consider a laminate printed with a wood pattern like this Amber Maple product from Formica. Pricing for many laminates starts at $2 per square foot.

If You Like Thick Countertops, Consider Quartz or Laminate

A 3-inch thick white countertop is the shining star in this kitchen. Opt for a less-expensive laminate or quartz countertop material if you're looking to achieve a thick edge — rather than natural stone — and have a countertop manufactured to meet your exact expectations. The increase in cost is nominal since many laminates start around $2 to $3 per square foot.

If You Like Polished Stone, Try Summit Granite From Lowe’s

Lowe’s offers a sharp black and white striated granite at a price point that isn’t out of reach. Allen + Roth’s Summit Granite is bold in its unique design, and as with other granites, it’s resistant to damage, highly heat resistant and easy to maintain (no sealing required). Granite can start around $40 per square foot.

If You Want a Fresh Take on an Older Style, Install a Modern Tiled Countertop

Both cost-effective and highly customizable, a tiled countertop doesn’t have to look like a cheap fix; they're still popular in other parts of the world and offer affordable variety to homeowners looking to change the look of their home. Choose a tile style that's more modern than what you'd see when you're touring a house built in the 1980s and don't feel like you need to go full-on Tuscan Villa either — a neutral tile that won't easily look dated is the way to go. Opt for tiles that clean easily and are heat-resistant, and once installed, be sure to seal that grout to prevent staining. Sealed, non-porous tiles are also a plus. With material available at a wide range in price points and styles, you’re guaranteed to find something in your budget.

If You Want the Look of Custom Terrazzo, Choose a DIY Approach Using Concrete and Glass

Get the freckled, colorful look of terrazzo by marrying concrete and colorful glass to form a DIY countertop. This isn’t a project for beginners but can be accomplished with some patience and skill. Cast, grind, polish, and seal your way to a handcrafted countertop for your home. DIY concrete terrazzo countertops can cost significantly less than professionally manufactured terrazzo. The cost per square foot varies based on the materials and tools you need to get the job done.

If You Like Stainless Steel, Try Formica DecoMetal Laminate Countertops

Professional kitchens use stainless steel countertops, and many serious home chefs want that look as well. If you really want stainless steel, check out the variety of color and textures available in Formica Group’s DecoMetal laminate collection. Costs for most laminates start between $2 and $3 per square foot (you can buy some colors in large 5-foot x 12-foot sheets for $150, which is perfect for a kitchen island makeover). Real stainless steel countertops can cost upward of $80 per square foot.

If You Like Contemporary Design, Try a High-Gloss Countertop Finish

High shine isn't hard to come by if you choose the right product. A glossy finish is like the icing on a cake for your contemporary kitchen design, so it's worth exploring the options. Glass options, such as 3Form's Chroma, as well as high-gloss, high-end laminates, are all designed to withstand heavy-duty wear in a kitchen setting. Material starts around $30 per square foot.

If You Like Budget-Friendly Stone, Try Vena Granite From Lowe’s

Heat, scratch, and stain-resistant granite can add warmth and beauty to your kitchen, and no two homes will be the same! The rich, high-contrast striated patterns of Vena Granite from Allen + Roth’s collection at Lowe’s are one-of-a-kind. Paired with a lifetime warranty, this material checks all the boxes. Granite can start around $40 per square foot.

If You Like Striated Granite, Try Strata Olympico From Formica

Glossy Strata Olympico by Formica Group is eye candy for homeowners looking to incorporate a high-contrast striped stone to their kitchen design. The soft gradations are printed in the highest resolution on laminate, making it a durable, easy-to-maintain surface in the kitchen. Laminate that looks like granite can save you more than $30 per square foot. Most laminates start at $2 to $3 per square foot.

If You Like a Light Rust Oxidized Effect, Try Trillium from Dekton USA

Composed of browns and grays, the rusted effect of the Trillium countertop from Dekton USA mimics the look of oxidized steel. Its coloring is recycled, making it an eco-friendly product while also being highly heat- and scratch-resistant. Dekton products are also freeze- and fire-resistant, making them a great option to consider for your outdoor kitchen. Dekton USA countertops start at about $60 per square foot.

If You Like the Look of Darker Oxidized Metal, Try Oxidian From Caesarstone

A deep, inky black base is made more dimensional with flowing areas that present like oxidized rust — a perfect industrial look for your loft or modern kitchen. Caesarstone's Oxidian quartz has metallic undertones that add dimension and interest to this beautiful quartz countertop, making it look far richer than its price point. Get it in your own home for $10 per square foot.

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, and it's one of the cheapest countertop refishing options we've found. It can be used on anything from laminate and butcher block to primed and painted wood. Since it is a finish itself, it should only have to be redone if the surface is ever chipped or damaged. Transform your existing counter to look like butcher block for $85, or marble for $179.

If You Want an On-Trend Natural Stone, Try Soapstone

Soapstone has gained in popularity for a number of reasons, but mostly because it looks great, is extremely durable and non-porous, and requires no sealers. If you’re looking for a natural stone that’s consistently dark, consider a natural soapstone slab for your home. Though it might be pricier than the DIY or laminate options presented, we think it's worth your consideration in a world brimming with natural stone countertop options. Soapstone countertops start at about $70 per square foot.

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