Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Classic Kitchen Materials (on a budget)

Seeing that stainless steel island at IKEA this week got me thinking about kitchens. I actually often think about updating our kitchen and what I would do when that day comes.

A beautiful kitchen with high end finishes is one of life's biggest luxuries (in my opinion). The day I can completely gut a kitchen and put in whatever I want is the day I know I've made it (ha!) But until then, you really can still have a pretty kitchen on a budget. And since I've had this "plan" in my head for years, I thought I would share it with you!

First up, a pretty kitchen to me is a classic kitchen. If you go to my Kitchen & Bath Pinterest page, you'll see exactly what I mean. Here are some of my favorites:


If you have somewhat decent cabinets, it's amazing what a coat of paint can do. When we bought our house, we had our painters refinish our cabinets. It sounds expensive, but it's not! They sanded and sprayed the cabinets with oil based paint. The previous owners had painted the cabinets on their own, but it makes such a difference when they are sprayed! Our cabinets aren't in perfect condition (some of them buckle a little), but they are "good enough" now that the finish is nice.

The last picture I posted above is my favorite, and pretty much what I would do to our own kitchen. I love the mix of elements, but they are all so classic and timeless.

Here are budget friendly elements I would/will use when it comes time to update our kitchen:

1) Inexpensive Black Granite For Main Countertops: This particular granite I pictured is "Black Pearl", but there are so many inexpensive black granite options out there. That's the great thing about black granite - it's so budget friendly and easy to care for.

2) Marble Subway Tile: Home Depot sells a great, inexpensive marble subway tile. It's the same type of tile that I used for our bathroom floors. It's only $5.49/sq ft. I recommend going through and picking exactly which tiles you like since the veining does vary a lot from box to box. It's tedious, but worth it! If you're on a really tight budget, you could always go with plain white ceramic subway tile!

3) Light Gray Grout: I love a good white backsplash with dark grout. But when it comes to picking a gray, I like a lighter gray. Exactly like the grout used in the 3rd picture above.

4) White Granite/Quartzite Island: THIS is a great thread all about Princess White/Super White quartzite with a lot of pictures. This stone is a great alternative to marble, and from what I've seen is pretty budget friendly. Especially if you are only using it for the island!

Okay, this post has made me really excited/anxious to update our kitchen! But we don't have any immediate plans to.. first I'd really like to tackle the floors (we still have vinyl floors in the kitchen! Ah!) But, I'm a planner... so I definitely have it all planned out for when that day comes :)


  1. I'm in the final stages of planning my Ikea kitchen update (doing what I can with my 10x11 farmer-built-in-place 1960s kitchen) and I've been agonizing over the countertops. I'm doing white cabinets, with brushed stainless knobs/pulls (what I have now), a farmhouse sink, and I want Corian Silver Birch countertops, but I've also been thinking about butcher block (cheaper, easier and less disruptive to install...). Love your post, and Pinterest board!

  2. traci zeller designsFebruary 27, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    I'm with you -- classic kitchens are the best!! The Princess White is a great choice for those who want the marble look, but I'm not sure about the budget friendly! My contractors are always the ones who handle the pricing, but I was at the slab warehouse last week looking at granite. They have the materials coded by $ to indicate about what level they are, and the Princess White had a $$$$$. In other words, the highest cost ... which is all based on demand and availability. Of course, it is much more affordable to use for only an island, but you probably still have to buy a slab. I do love the Caesarstone Nougat, though, which is more like a Level 2 granite!

  3. I know, it's interesting because it seems like the pricing is all over the board. This image shows it at $44.68/sq ft:

    Also, another person in that thread wrote this.. Super White may also be a good alternative:

    Thickness: 2cm - $26.00 S/F

    Thickness: 3cm - $35.63 S/F

    I'm sure it varies per location, too!

  4. I share your exact same taste in kitchens. Another great budget option is butcher block from IKEA for a more cottage style kitchen. We did this in our own house (twice now, actually). I also used a very subtly patterned laminate in a client's white kitchen that was a great alternative to granite. I also researched another product last semester for a class studio project - crystallized glass. It's much more affordable than granite and would be great in a range of kitchen styles. I ordered samples, and it's gorgeous.

    1. We used IKEA butcher block in a bathroom, and I always smile when I walk in there.

  5. I will never get tired of white & white and black & white kitchens!

  6. Love these kitchens! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Totally in love with each and every one of these kitchens!

  8. Dang...I am ready to get the sledge hammer out.....rats.

  9. your blog! Question-how do you feel about ikea cabinets? We aren't in our final home but will probably be here for 5 years or so? I know some people are really against them but they look fine to me for short term and less money? Any advice?

  10. I love them all, but that first one looks like my dream kitchen in my head. Love, love, love.


THANK YOU for taking the time to share your thoughts. I appreciate each and every comment.

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