andie325

Please help me choose countertops for my kitchen!

Andie
December 2, 2019

I have finally gotten the okay that it is time to repaint our cabinets and replace our countertops. Originally, I really really wanted recycled glass counter tops, but then we discovered that there are really no local vendors who will deal with it and/or that it is exceptionally expensive. I also read somewhere on here that it chips easily when it is in a kitchen... I am so sad about that.


Anyhoo- we kinda shopped around one showroom this weekend and I found a quartz I liked in the store, but once we got the sample home, we realized it was too white and sterile looking...and the price of it seemed a little high. We are going to likely repaint the cabinets pure white, and likely keep the hardware as is for now. The kitchen is small and it opens out into our den (also pictured) I've included the dining area that is also attached to the space. I was thinking some sort of white or light stone counter top would brighten up the space and make it look larger than it is and keep the space between the den and the kitchen more neutral. I have included pictures of the surrounding areas so you can get an idea of how the space flows and the colors already present in that space. We grabbed a sample of Luna Pearl granite from the showroom and I didn't like it at the time but it is sort of growing on me, but I really liked the way Ice Pearl looked when I saw in the showroom- no samples, sadly. Anyhoo- any suggestions for granite or something that looks like recycled glass without the high price tag? Also... has anyone bought their granite or quartz counter tops from Home Depot or Lowes? We want to buy local, but we aren't sure if local places finance or not. haha.


TIA!!!







Comments (48)

  • mdln

    Are you redoing & updating backsplash?

  • Andie

    probably not, unless we have to.


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  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    why go through all the trouble of painting and replacing countertops, only to leave 14" of backsplash? that's prob the easiest and cheapest to redo, and yes, it's extremely dated looking.

    Plus, you have it set on the 4" backsplash piece up the back. It's one or the other, not both.

    So, if doing a new countertop, then don't get the 4" piece. Redo the tile splash.

    I'd also get new hardware. some handles would go along way.

    question- are you painting them yourself or hiring out? I ask because bringing in a local kitchen cabinet company to reface those cabs w/new door fronts would look so much better. I just had them done to mine. Do NOT reface through lowes or HD,,they will charge you 3X as much money as a local cabinet refinisher. (You could prob get a better price on quartz through them, but that's all).

    I'm suggesting this because the doors don't seem to close very well. I don't know if it's because they were painted incorrectly, or the hinges are bad. getting refaced doors (overlay doors w/hidden hinges ) would give you a better update (and look better w/a new counter) than just repainting the old ones. I went through a kitchen cabinet company to get mine painted and the price to get new fronts wasn't that much more.

    if you want granite, go to a local stone yard and look around. they have fabricators that will come out and measure and install. If they give you a price, barter a bit if you have cash. sometimes you can save a few hundred by paying in cash. (not all at once, obviously)

    btw, these quartz countertops are usually pretty reasonable


    River White granite is also affordable


  • PRO
    JudyG Designs

    Andie, you have a lot of posts going on and I am afraid, if you take comments out of context, you will wind up with a hot mess.

    One thing at a time. Do not invest in granite now. The kitchen needs a major update if that is the way you want to go.



    Work with what you have…brighter white.

  • Andie

    The kitchen will never get more than a New sink and countertops and maybe new cabinet doors because the cabinets are solid wood and it isn’t likely that we will wind up busting down walls, etc to enlarge the kitchen. All of the appliances are new(ish) so I’m not sure what else there is to update because other than painting the cabinets, there is nothing else to be done. I’m not going to buy “new” particle board cabinets to replace the solid wood ones... does that make sense?

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    who said anything about buying particle board cabinets?

    all I said was look into refacing the doors from a local cabinet maker. something with an overlay so the hinges won't show.

    Have the cabinets already been painted? if so, painting them again will not make them close any better (I notice a lot of them are ajar or somewhat wonky) .

    you never answered if you plan on painting them yourselves.

    If there is already a coat of paint on them, they need to be stripped down quite a bit, sanded and primed before repainting.

    and if you will not replace that backsplash, do you have any more of it? if so, take it all the way down to the new countertop. don't get the 4" piece.

    BTW, Luna Pearl (aka Caladonia) is very busy looking. Sorry, but this will look horrible w/your current backsplash




    This one isn't too bad for more of a modern look


    you need a solid tile w/this granite.


    it looks nice w/overlay white doors and a white subway tile and nickel knobs. light and bright.


  • emilyam819

    i like your doors, hinges, and hardware. I’d paint your cabinets a brighter white, and if your counter looks better after that, take off both backsplashes and re-do.

  • Andie

    Yes, we would paint them ourselves. They have already been painted once, 8 years ago. before they were an oak color. Someone mentioned a whole kitchen update and that is likely never going to happen for the reasons I mentioned. I'm not sure what you mean by an overlay and new hardware. I discussed new hinges, etc. with the husband and he said the types of cabinets they are wouldn't really allow for that. FYI the cabinets are 38 years old. The paint job on them is not the reason for them being wonky, although, I don't really see what you mean about them being ajar/wonky with the exception of a lower cabinet that is stuffed with tupperware in one of the photos where I apparently failed to check that before sharing the picture...... My dad is a retired painting contractor and he painted the cabinets 8 years ago... and he will likely guide us in that project again this time around, so we are good with that project- just need to decided what shade of white we are going to do. (leaning toward pure white)

    As for the backsplash... someone said it was dated, and I'm not sure how dated.... as we put that backsplash in 3 or 4 years ago?? I like it and I'm not sure why it is considered dated.... but I guess that just means we have bad taste so maybe I'm in the wrong place to get countertop advice....


    eta: not trying to get defensive... but I am getting a message that I am going to need to essentially redo the whole kitchen instead of just making it work with countertops and the cabinets I actually have.....

  • megs1030

    I honestly would leave it. Here's why: 1. Your kitchen looks pretty good and appears to be in good shape, especially for cabinets that are nearly 40 years old. Kudos to you for maintaining a great space! 2. You essentially have 2 backsplashes -- the tile that is staying and then the 4" strip that matches your countertop. If you are leaving the tile and only replacing the counter and the 4" strip, I think it's going to be a difficult job. Be prepared that when that strip is removed, the tile may be coming with it and you might end up replacing both. 3. For a job this size, which isn't that big, I don't think it's ever a great idea to finance. Yes, your finances are your business, but since you mentioned it... Save your money and do it right a few years down the road.


    If you absolutely MUST replace your counters, go with something that is a solid color... quartz or Corian. Natural stones are going to be too busy with your tile and they both can't be the stars of the show. I would recommend something dark to marry your tile backsplash to your cabinets. I would steer clear of white / cream / etc. And if you're going to replace your current counters with something darker, what is the point?

    Andie thanked megs1030
  • eam44

    I know you're excited to do some updating, but you've made some beginners mistakes - like the fact that you have two backsplashes, the old belt and suspenders look. If you would you prefer that we not tell you, then yes, you posted in the wrong place.

    Keeping $20 worth of tile is going to severely limit your counter choices. Besides, you are going to have to remove the original backsplash below the tile when you change out your counters. Let it go, and try to really read the posts whether they offend you or not. On this anyway, we are right.

    You're keeping your cabinets as they are. We are pretty much all telling you both backsplashes have to go. Now you need inspiration images. Look for kitchens with off-white or cream cabinets that you like, and post them here. Then we can help you with materials recommendations.

    You are likely to go with something lighter than the counter you have, so either in the whites, or the light browns. Here are a few images to get you started.






  • mackdolan

    Those poor old poor quality cabinets with a slapdash DIY paint job bringing them down even further don’t deserve to have new stone counters wasted on them. If you just “have” to make changes, pick a nice laminate. And get rid of that awful backsplash too. You’re not changing the counters without changing the splash. Thankfully.

    If you want to waste 6 months prepping and painting those cabinets properly, no one is going to stop you. You’re not making what’s under the paint job function any better. A paint job is all about prep. There’s a lot of prep needed there if you want a good job. Months of part time work. WORK. It’s not TV montage work either, where you fast forward past it. A lot of people quit halfway through because it’s such a pain to do.

    You‘d do better taking a part time job for that 6 months in order to put that money to the new cabinets that you really need. Do second job that for a year, and you’ll be dollars ahead, and results ahead. Even if you do absolutely nothing. Putting all of that money and effort into that, only to end up with that with a more expensive makeup job? And not a bit of functional improvement?

  • stillpitpat

    I would say you should keep the mosaic backsplash if you really like it, and aren't looking to sell, but it may get damaged when you remove the current counters and counter material splash. If it doesn't get damaged, and you have extra mosaic somewhere, you should really bring that down to the level of the counter.

    I would highly recommend a solid counter, as others have said. The mosaic is busy, and your floor is a little busy too (but pretty!), so a solid counter would look best. I have Glacier White Corian, and it's pretty great. It's a fairly bright, neutral white. There are lots of Corian whites though, so order a few samples. Or maybe a soft white that goes with your cabinet paint but also the brick in the den.


    I understand the defensiveness. If you really like something and a bunch of people tell you to get rid of it, being defensive is natural. I think as long as it's a form issue, not a function issue, you should get/keep what you like. I mean, if you have your heart set on a fridge that doesn't fit your space and the doors won't open properly, then you should get past that and listen to the people here. But your backsplash is not in that category, especially since you're not planning to do a full remodel in the future.

    Andie thanked stillpitpat
  • PRO
    The Cook's Kitchen

    For an initial change, I think you’d get more bang for the buck by getting rid of the black appliances in favor of stainless, and improving the lighting. There are a lot of Black Friday deals still going on. Some under cabinet LED tape lighting and a couple of added can lights would do wonders in letting you see what’s there more accurately. One central light is casting shadows, and doesn’t provide nearly enough lighting. Especially with black appliances. It’s also not rendering your paint colors correctly, and can be a contributor to your dissatisfaction with it.

    Once you get the more reflective surfaces and better light in there, then reevaluate. You may choose to repaint at that time, but that is a really big job to do.

    Andie thanked The Cook's Kitchen
  • Andie

    wow I didn't realize some people could be that mean when it came to trying to make an update in a dated kitchen.... especially when current cabinet options are actually of worse quality now than with the ones that currently exist for sale. We are not going to replace solid wood cabinets with thermafoil or particle board cabinets. Consideration is being made to remove the mosaic backsplash, but I just can't get over how rude people are about cabinets. Until current cabinet selections go back to better quality, solid wood, we will likely stick with the cabinets we have. Perhaps we will look into getting new doors and hardware if the budget allows. However, the cabinet configuration will likely NEVER change because of the layout of the house so I'm not sure why the mean spirited comments about the paint project are warranted. Good grief

  • Andie

    @The Cooks Kitchen- we are unable to replace the lighting with can lights because the space above the kitchen is a loft room with no way to install them. That concept has been addressed already. The current fixture is actually a huge step up from the boob light that was there previously. There are currently stick on LED lights that exist under the cabinets that we do use on occasion, but not often. The appliances are all less than 2 years old, so I can assure you that they are not all going to be replaced for color anytime in the near future until something else breaks and at that point, then we will move to a different color.


    Honestly, I'm really surprised at the level of spending people are expecting when we are attempting to update our interior gradually. I'm not sure if everyone else just jumps in and decides to spend thousands of thousands all in one big swoop, but that does not work in our household. We gradually make changes as we can to update our home. We are also the type to do things ourselves, having replaced all of the doors and trim in our house from brown to white a few years ago.... and mind you, just because we aren't contractors doesn't mean it wasn't done correctly..... Perhaps we need to re-level our cabinets before we paint them, but the quality of these cabinets is far superior to any that we have come across in recent years when we considered replacing them. Which is why we are going the route that we are.



  • emilyam819

    Nevermind her. As usual, it’s always “the sky is falling.” Your cabinets are lovely, you and your dad know how to paint, and you are allowed to put in a new counter and backsplash if you want.

    If you still want feedback on counter, post some samples along with paint chip for cabinets.

    Andie thanked emilyam819
  • eam44

    Corian Silver Birch looks a lot like terrazzo.


    As does Formica Solid Surface in Crema Terrazzo and Bottle Glass Quartz and Sea Glass. Actually, Formica Solid Surface has a lot of colors that evoke the look you're going for.




    Andie thanked eam44
  • PRO
    The Cook's Kitchen

    Andie, most modern cabinets are built better than many older cabinets. “Solid wood” aka plywood isn’t always the better option. Sometimes furniture board is the better option. Many times. There’s a lot of posts on here to read about that subject.

    There’s a lot of options between ripping things out and not touching what’s there, if you are very handy. It all comes down to cost effectiveness. The cost of skilled labor does mean that the ripping it out threshold is far lower than its ever been if you have to pay for professionals.

    Anyway, add light to what you have there, then reevaluate. Lighting is needed more than counters at this stage of the redo. Especially if you cannot change the black appliances. The room is not lit well. It may be an improvement above what was there, but there is a need for still more.

    It’s not at all difficult to add lighting with a room above. You just haven’t talked with the right electrician. I do this everyday. It’s my day job. I’ve never had a home where lighting couldn’t be added. Even in a concrete ceilinged condo, it’s possible. It may not be recessed lights, and you may have to do drywall work, but there should be no impediment to adding recessed within the hoist space either. It’s done all the time.

  • Andie

    I appreciate that, our house was built very curiously in the early 80's. We have made a lot of changes to make the house more current, however, there are some things that are just out of reach for us either because it is cost prohibitive or too involved.


    I'm not sure who suggested the River White granite, but I do really like that color from what I have seen. We are going to likely try to avoid more formica because we want something smoother and more current. Discussions have continued and we are going to replace our backsplash with something else, not having the 4" lip included as we will have to remove the current mosaic. However, the cabinets are there to stay as we DO NOT have upwards of 20K to replace all of the cabinetry and we are okay with the current cabinets.. although we are going to research invisible hinges to see if it can be done.



  • eam44

    Formica Solid Surface is basically Corian, not a laminate, and if you want the look of a recycled glass counter without the cost, that's where you will find it.

    Good decision on the backsplash. Get out there and find some inspiration images for us!

    Andie thanked eam44
  • stillpitpat

    Formica laminate is having a bit of a resurgence, at least their high-pressure laminates. That stuff is pretty "current." And Corian has come back around. A recycled glass look would look great with a calmer backsplash. I seriously considered the real thing too but shot it down because of cost. I think it's really neat looking. Regarding backsplashes, Beth is the expert here. I do wonder if there is something you can do that would tie into the brick hearth. I really like that brick.

  • live_wire_oak

    Most DIY remodels are done in series over time as it can be afforded. The sequencing of jobs for that approach is very important. Just be careful that it doesn’t lead to backtracking as your new project requires removing and redoing some things that were done first. Remodels without knowledgeably developed master plans are notorious for spending more money in the end than a gut redo would have cost, because the proper sequencing of jobs wasn’t done. Like the previous owner's quick “resale” fix of that backsplash and paint job to “update“. It was wasted money and time in the long term of the life of the home.

    New lighting is way cheaper than new stone counters. It’s also a bigger functional need than new counters. Working in a kitchen without good lighting doesn’t let you see your work space. That adds risk to working with knives and hot pans. It’s also kinda dispiriting, especially when a kitchen is in the middle of a house without windows for natural light. New lighting is functional and cosmetic. It will make what’s there look 1000x better.

    When you do get around to replacing the counters, realize that it will require new plumbing work, a new sink, a new faucet, a new disposal, and engineering and supporting any overhangs with steel. That adds another $1200-$3000 to the project that you may not be thinking about when you think “new counters”.

    It’s those unanticipated consequences of decisions, and the consequences of choosing the wrong sequencing order that people are trying to warn you about. Like, don’t put 6K of stone counters on old cabinets when those cabinets could be replaced with 7K of IKEA ones, to great improvement.

    Lighting and the drywall work is a separate project without a big negative consequence chain.

  • Andie

    @stillpitpat that brick was ugly before we limewashed it.


  • Andie

    So I just realized that the first photo of the kitchen that I shared is not current- it has our old light fixture in the kitchen, not the current bright LED one that we installed in early 2018. The second picture (messy kitchen, makin' groceries sign) has the current, new light fixture. There is also a can light right above the sink that isn't on in the two photos. I will take a picture with those two areas lit up as well as photos from different angles surrounding that area for reference to see how the space flows. The goal of the new counter tops is to brighten up a space with no natural light flowing into it, which I think is kind of getting lost in the discussion of details of redoing cabinets, etc.

    So far I like the following backsplashes and counter tops.


    @eam44

    EVERGREEN KITCHEN · More Info



    Long stretch of work space counter · More Info



    Transitioning to a Contemporary Kitchen Makeover with Cabinet Refacing · More Info


  • Andie

    I really feel like I should dig out a photo of what the kitchen looked like before we redid it haha.


  • eam44

    Lots of good suggestions for you to consider.

    If you are keeping your cabinets, the next decision is counters, then backsplash. Two of the images you show have quiet backsplash tile and complex counters. In that third image, in my opinion, you have a lot of complexity in the counter material, and too much variation in the tile. In your current space the tile is the attention getter, the counters are pretty quiet. So before you choose your material, think a little about which will be the star, counter or bs. If it's the counter, then your bs will be quiet.

  • DK Haas

    Andie. Love the first pic- Here is another shot of the same kitchen - Soft subtle movement in countertop with a tiny bit of warmth, which would look nice with your floors. . Unfortunately the designer did not post the details, like countertop. Does anyone recognize it?

    EVERGREEN KITCHEN · More Info


    Andie thanked DK Haas
  • Andie

    another few kitchens I like - I am becoming fond of the Thunder White or River White granite with white cabinets and a white or gray basic tile backsplash


    Urban Farmhouse Kitchen · More Info


    New River White Granite Countertops · More Info


  • Andie

    @DK Haas I agree- I think it flows well together and could be highlighted by any number of colors as accents.


  • DK Haas

    Perhaps (I like to give strangers the benefit of the doubt, but truth be told some enjoy "ripping others apart") perhaps ..... Re: suggesting replacing the black appliances ..... are concerned that a harmony or serenity of a white kitchen won't be attained, for black and white are high contrast. Whenever the visual flow is broken by a contrast, it lessens the feeling of space. Although the backsplash tile marries the two colors together it creates more visual movement. I think replacing the backsplash (alone) would change and update the space a lot more than a whole new countertop. Pick a non-busy solid tile that is similar to the white cabinets.

    Is your current countertop brown or black?

  • eam44

    Great decision. So River White granite and a monochromatic bs. Nothing in your kitchen will actually be white, so don’t choose your cabinet color until you have a slab. Once you do, take your paint chips with you to the stoneyard and find a color that harmonizes with the background colors of your stone. Then, when your cabinets are painted and you have your counters in we can find the right off-white tile for you in your budget.


  • DK Haas

    Do you like white uppers with black lowers? This will visually-blend the black appliances to an extent . Add a countertop and solid backsplash you like.

    Elegant Gourmet Kitchen · More Info



    Elegant Gourmet Kitchen · More Info


  • Andie

    @DK Haas the current countertop is a black with specks of brown and terracotta in it. The countertops need to be replaced, though.. the current laminate is peeling and dull because of years of use. (it's cheap laminate)


    I'm leaning toward basic white tile for a backsplash


  • DK Haas

    One thing consider when painting the cabinets-. Change the hinges to hidden hinges.



  • eam44

    its a good instinct, but what I’m telling you is that whites rarely match. to avoid the heartache of mismatched whites, again, choose your cabinet color from your slab, and don’t buy tile until your counters are installed and you can see sample tiles in your own space in your own light. Good luck.

  • Andie








    alternate views of kitchen and lighting

  • Andie

    Husband is considering raising the granite all the way up for the backsplash instead of doing tile. Thoughts?

  • mackdolan

    A stone splash doubles your counters cost. It’s the same cost as the counter square footage. Plus, unless you want to put in a stainless slide in range instead of the black one with a backguard that sticks up in the way, it’s a complete design waste too.

    Some people just need to make their own mistakes. Putting 12K of stone and splash onto those old cabinets is financially foolish. If you are willing to spend that much, then do a more budget stone, and spend the rest of that on Ikea cabinets. All of those added drawers and extra storage will actually make a difference in how the kitchen works.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    Andie, have you contacted a local cabinet maker to see what the price would be for new door and drawer fronts? unpainted of course. Or perhaps call a kitchen cabinet specialist and see if they can give you quote just for ordering the door fronts.

    that's what I did and got solid maple (with MDF for the door panels. MDF is actually better for the panels when painting because they don't expand and contract, which in turn can cause paint to crack). They were sprayed with lacquer, but I did see them in their raw state.


    Here's what the new ones look like. the skeleton is all original, solid wood


    As for bringing the stone up the back, its fine to do that, but as mentioned, will cost you much more money. You'd have to buy two slabs and pay for two slabs to get fabricated. Fabrication runs about $30-60 a sq foot (depending on material and who is doing it)

  • Mary Glickman

    I love the bottle glass and sea glass options that eam shared above. You’d have to get samples but they look like one of them might complement your color scheme (kitchen and adjoining rooms) nicely.

    I feel your pain not wanting to spend a fortune, and I think lightening up the counters in some way will make a nice difference in your overall feeling about the kitchen.

    (FWIW I have a white fridge and dishwasher and felt similar heat to replace them here...not in my budget or something that would make sense to my family to replace perfectly good appliances...and I am still happy with my kitchen and grateful for the input I received here, even though it can be hard not to feel a little defensive.)

  • PRO
    CK Hoffman Design

    Pental is a great quartz line at a moderate price point. I'd just go to their website to find a local dealer in your area. A wonderful classic choice is Misterio - goes with everything and will have a timeless look. Happy Decorating.


    Andie thanked CK Hoffman Design
  • Andie

    @Beth H. :no, not currently. I have suggested this option and have been shut down by my husband.


  • Andie

    @Mary Glickman thank you!!


  • I.A. Lokin

    For what it's worth, I think your current kitchen looks perfectly fine. If it was me, I'd spend my money, time, and effort on what is produced in that kitchen. Better cuts of meat, organic fresh vegetables, and really great wines are the things that will truly change your opinion about the space.

    Andie thanked I.A. Lokin
  • katinparadise

    following

  • PRO
    Aqua Kitchen and Bath Design Center

    Seems like you don't like the look of quartz, but you may want to look into marble looking quartz options. White Attica, Carrara, Statuario Maximus, for example, are much more beautiful and detail-rich than Frosty Carina, for example. If you prefer real stone, then River White Granite would be my number one choice. And I do agree that backsplash looks dated. I would go with something simpler and let countertop take center stage.

  • Andie

    Actually, @Aqua Kitchen and Bath Design Center my first choice was a quartz called sparkling white but when we got the price quite my husband said it was too much $$ ($3800) but the granites were cheaper in price....



  • live_wire_oak

    $3800 is a quite a good price for quartz. MSI is an economical import brand. It won’t be much more than a budget granite. I’d expect double that cost, easily, for one of the name brand quartz products made with the patented Breton technology.

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