7 Inexpensive Kitchen Countertop Ideas You’ll Love

Dina Cheney
Written by Dina Cheney
Updated August 23, 2021
Solid surface counters with butcher block island
Cavan Images / Cavan via Getty Images

Revamp your existing kitchen countertops or choose new ones in an economical and stylish material

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Even if you’re on a tight budget, you’ll be able to find a kitchen countertop material that’s practical and stylish. Although some surfaces like specialty marble cost $190 per square foot, others like laminate can run as low as $5 per square foot

Whether you paint or cover your existing countertops or replace them entirely, you can consider DIYingto save money on your countertop installation. Read on for seven kitchen countertop ideas on a budget.

7 Kitchen Countertop Ideas on a Budget

In many ways, kitchen countertops define kitchens. Since they take up a lot of room, they have a major impact on the look and feel of the space. Plus, they provide a surface for prepping, serving, entertaining, and sometimes paying bills or doing homework. 

That’s why choosing the right material is so important. Fortunately, you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to end up with kitchen countertops that look good and work well.

1. Give Your Existing Countertops New Life

The least expensive way to get the look of new countertops is to revamp the surface of your existing countertops. Try painting your wood, tile, laminate, or solid surface countertops with semigloss paint, which is easier to clean than a matte finish. Or stain your wood countertops a different color, like white or a natural wood stain. 

As an alternative, cover your countertops with contact paper for countertops or colored or stone epoxy, to mimic the look of stone or another solid surface.

2. Try Laminate

If you plan to replace your kitchen countertops completely, laminate is one of the least expensive countertop options. Made from layers of plastic bonded to particleboard, this type of surface averages $25 per square foot (but can go as low as $5 per square foot). 

For the most budget-friendly options, look for premade counters with built-in backsplashes. If you're DIY savvy, you can save even more money by completing the installation yourself. Otherwise, you can hire a pro to do it for you. Fortunately, laminate has gotten quite stylish, and can even resemble stone or wood, thanks to the patterns embossed on its surface. 

If you go this route, know that you’ll need to use a cutting board when slicing, since laminate is susceptible to scratching. Over time, the material can also burn, stain, and peel.

3. Go With Tile

Another popular kitchen countertop idea on a budget is tile. Tile is as economical as laminate—especially if you opt for ceramic or porcelain, which range from $5-30 per square foot. If your budget is slightly bigger, consider natural stone or granite tile, which costs $10-30 per square foot.

In addition to cost, tile is durable and resistant to heat and stains. Keep in mind that grout can stain if you don’t seal it regularly. Aim for narrow grout lines, to cut down on the accumulation of dirt.

Also, since tiles can chip or crack, be sure to purchase extras as replacements. Before moving ahead with this countertop material, ask a local countertop installer if your cabinets are strong enough to handle this heavy material. They might require reinforcement.

4. Opt for Recycled Paper and Aluminum

Beginning at $30 per square foot for recycled paper and $35 per square foot for recycled aluminum, these countertop surfaces are eco-friendly, combining resin with materials that would otherwise be destined for the landfill. Think of recycled paper composite countertops as an alternative to laminate, with the same durability. 

Meanwhile, recycled aluminum is a less expensive alternative to stainless steel and will give your kitchen a sleek modern look.

5. Purchase Butcher Block

Butcher block counters
Sweetlaniko - stock.adobe.com

At $35-200 per square foot, wooden countertops are a bit more expensive. Fortunately, they shouldn’t be too difficult to install and repair (although you might want to hire a professional to seal them with epoxy). When nicks and scratches appear, just sand them out and re-oil. 

That said, prepare to regularly disinfect these countertops and to oil them occasionally. Since wood is not impervious to stains and heat, clean up any spills immediately and use trivets with hot pans.

6. Select Solid Surface

Made from acrylic and polyester, solid surface countertops are resistant to stains and easy to repair if they get scratched or burned. They also come in lots of bold colors and will give your kitchen a seamless look, especially if you opt for a matching sink and backsplash. 

At $35-65 per square foot, these countertops cost about the same as butcher block. For the fewest cracks and best installation, it’s wise to hire a professional.

7. Spring for Less Expensive Solid Stone

Natural stone is generally considered the most expensive option, yet you can find deals starting at $40 per square foot. Look for overstocked, oversized, or chipped slabs, or less popular colors. Big box stores and countertop retailers often run discounts and closeouts.

As you can see, there are plenty of budget-friendly kitchen countertop ideas for your home. Whether you DIY or hire a pro, this is an upgrade that’s sure to make a big impact.

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