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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Kitchen Budget Wise Laminate Counter

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Countertops Part 1 | Kitchen
The first in a series of three posts about budget wise countertops 

budget wise laminate counters in blue and white country French inspired kitchen
While homemakers dream of luxury marble, quartz, granite, and wood countertops, reality often calls for budget wise laminate kitchen counters. And, budgets are not the only reasons for choosing laminate countertops. 

budget wise laminate counters in blue with rounded corners on large kitchen island
Does a laminate countertop mean you have to settle for less or are laminate counters sometimes better options than marble, quartz, granite, and wood? 

budget wise laminate counters in blue with rounded corners with wood and stone ceiling and walls
Kitchen counters are the workhorses of a kitchen. They house canisters, small appliances, and cutting boards. Dirty dishes stand on them waiting to be cleaned. Clean dishes sit on drainboards to dry and then be put away in cabinets. Bags of groceries await storing in the pantry and refrigerator. 

Slicing, chopping, and peeling are part of daily meal preparations. And, rolling out cookie and pie doughs are part of yummy desserts, family traditions, and celebrations. 

budget wise laminate countertop with six sides in sunspace kitchen
Let's not forget another major use for kitchen counters beyond food preparation. Islands often provide buffet service for large social gatherings, and provide counter seating for small family meals. 

All of which means counters have to be CLEAN. Sparkling clean. Eat off of clean. No germs allowed. These laminate counters are routinely cleaned with Soft Scrub w/Bleach version. I feel confident that bacteria cannot survive (99%.) 

Plus, when the counter looks a little dingy after constant use, the Soft Scrub w/Bleach brightens it. 

budget wise laminate island countertop goes well with bead board walls
When I was choosing a countertop, budget was the most important factor. But, color was a close second factor. I wanted a soft blue counter, a large island, and rounded corners.  

At the time we built our house, there was only one Silestone countertop in a soft blue that I liked, but it was way over our budget. 

budget wise blue laminate countertop options years ago
Laminate comes in multiple colors, in large sheets, and is pliable for rounding corners. 

These were the sample chips from which I chose my countertop over thirty years ago. Yes, my kitchen countertops are approaching 31 years old. 

When we were building I kept samples of fabrics, wallpaper, tile, countertops, ... in a large two-gallon zip lock bag and still have that bag of samples. Over the years those samples have helped me find new items that go with my favorite shade of periwinkle blue. 

Over the years I added samples in the zip lock bag as changes were made to the house. New upholstery for the breakfast chairs, wallpaper for the utility room, and fabric for the living curtains have all been added. 

budget wise blue laminate countertop options years ago
The counters in my kitchen are Wilsonart Bluebell. They have held up remarkably well. There are a couple of small shallow knife cuts and a handful of tiny round dings, but none are noticeable. 

Lemon juice, wine, blackberries, ... do not leave permanent stains. All clean up with Soft Scrub. 

In addition to the normal kitchen uses, the large island counter also serves as my crafting space. Paint, hot glue, glitter, and stamp ink routinely end up on the surface regardless of how much paper I use to protect the countertop. 

All come up... even paint and hot glue. 

And the counter takes a pounding ... driving nails into projects, stamping vintage silver spoons, and drilling holes in wooden Christmas ornaments. 

budget wise blue laminate countertop for flower arranging surface
The island also is a flower arranging area where leaves are stripped off, water is splashed around, and bleach is added to flower water to deter bacteria. The laminate counter takes it without complaints. 

Marble, quartz, or wood countertops would not fare as well in my house. 

I love the look of marble in all the homes on Pinterest, Fixer Upper, and the internet. Do I dream of marble, quartz, and wood? Yes, many times over the years. 

But reality ... and periwinkle blue called Bluebell ... win every time. 

budget wise blue laminate countertop in French inspired post and beam house with limestone wall
And the best part? I still love my countertops after almost 31 years. 

The pale blue goes well with my French-inspired house.  

Limestone wall, pine post-and-beam ceiling, Chenonceau print, French wire basket, white painted cabinets ... 

Budget wise laminate counters are not second best, but a clear first choice, for my house and lifestyle. 


  1. I totally agree. We had one put in a few years ago. They have come along way now. I love the granite and marble ones, but in our neighborhood we could not recoup the price when we sold. The salesman told me the work that you have to put in to upkeep them and I said nope don't want to deal with that.

  2. Thank you for this encouraging post. Not all of us can afford marble or quartz. Your ongoing contentment and joy in your laminate countertops blesses my heart.

    Your kitchen is lovely ~ FlowerLady

  3. I love this perspective, Judith.

    Budget is so important and if you love what you have, that’s the best choice!

  4. Great post Judith. My kitchen has 34 year old countertops that I have often thought about changing, but the truth is nothing that I could buy would please me anymore when I stop to think about it. IF we pick something we like to begin with it should stay with us even though styles come and go.
    I still love your kitchen too!

  5. Pinning this great information! In these days of so many pictures and influence, we all have to remember to choose what is right for us.

  6. Judith, you picked the exactly perfect color for your counters, and they look fabulous!

  7. I adore your kitchen.... it feels really French Country! Great post!

  8. I had very similar blue countertops in my kitchen an still do in two bathrooms. I also love that blue!

    Unfortunately, mine did look worn after 18 years. I spent a lot of time looking at different possibilities - there is no rush when one has a functioning kitchen. I did eventually go with quartz. My kitchen is small and I had saved up for a few years. Also, I had priced out new laminate - an upper $ one and found that there are some lower cost quartz and granites that are not much more - especially in a small space. It is important to find out if the estimate is for the countertop alone, or includes installation. At the same time, I put in a kitchenette in my basement and used "stock laminate" which is inexpensive and a great option for those on a very tight budget.

    One thing about the Soft Scrub - I too frequently and easily cleaned stains from my laminate with similar products. Bleach products are not recommended on quartz, but it also does not stain - or at least mine has not in 2 years. Things that stained my laminate just wipe off the quartz. Once I had to use a bit of Dawn. Rubbing alcohol is permitted and can be used if an area needs disinfecting. One reason I went with quartz was I wanted an under mount sink. I have heard that this is now possible with laminate, though it is a newer application, and I am waiting to hear how it holds up before recommending it.

    I still have the sink cut out from my original laminate and also saved a piece of the old countertop. I have often used those when working on projects that require hammering and drilling - usually in the garage or work room as the kitchen does not work for me for projects. I set my wet saw on the laminate in the garage - and it held up great while I tiled my backsplash and my basement floor - (using a similar Del Conca tile that you used) Laminate is strong stuff - which is one reason I have no plans to change out the bathrooms.

    I always enjoy pictures of your kitchen. It looks to be a very happy place!


  9. I love a good dose of real life, and I loved this post. We have black laminate counter top - it was in the cottage when we bought it nearly 4 years ago. I wouldn't change it for anything. It's like new and it is a workhorse!

  10. I've had several laminate counters and loved them. Granite seems too fussy and my countertops sometimes take a beating. Thanks for the post and your kitchen is very pretty.

  11. I love a counter-top that can take a beating. Laminates have come a long way over the years. They look great and can save a few $$ ... maybe allowing some new appliances!

  12. Oh, what a beautiful kitchen you have! It's so warm and welcoming. x Karen

  13. These do look amazing after 31 years. Mine did not look that great after 20 years and it was time for a change. I love my granite but it does hide dribbles and it can't be sprayed with bleach products. Hot, hot water is what I have to use. Your counters are still beautiful and you are so smart to keep all your samples. Thanks for linking to Keep In Touch.


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