Countertops are one of the easiest, and most common, changes that are made in kitchen update projects. Clients are often interested in upgrading their current countertops to quartz, granite or another solid product. (Check out my earlier post on the differences between granite and quartz countertops for details on those options.) However, what if your budget does not allow for a complete upgrade to stone? Well, you have a couple different options to consider.
First, you could use stone on an accent area only, with a lower-priced counterpart on the remaining portions of the kitchen. For example, put granite on your island, as that area is most easily seen by guests, and most often used by the homeowners for tasks such as meal prep, homework and conversation. Likewise, quartz could be installed only on the raised portion of the kitchen island or peninsula – your “snack bar” area. Again, this offers a punch of color, pattern and “upgrade” without requiring the budget for installing a stone product throughout your entire kitchen. Generally, I try to find a coordinating laminate that is different from the stone; trying to match a real stone with a laminate is not a great idea – the imposter will always be detected when put up against the real thing.
A second option is to use plastic laminate on all your countertops. Laminate is beautiful in its own right, with thousands of patterns available. New finishes now make it look even more like real stone, but without the “cool” feel and the extra-hard surface that stone offers. Again, with the amazing laminate patterns out there, I don’t often feel the need to use laminate to replicate real stone; let laminate be laminate, I always say.
I just found a new laminate, however, with an amazing look! Formica just came out with a new laminate option called 180fx. With a HUGE pattern repeat, and the swirls of real granite, this is a fantastic option for a kitchen upgrade on a budget! If you select the right edge profile detail, I think the average person would be hard-pressed to determine whether this is laminate or real granite. Check it out and let me know what you think. Upgrades and updates can be made on any budget, with the right products!