Understanding Countertop Selection for Your IKEA Kitchen – Part 2

wood countertop


Learning the basics of choosing the right countertops for your IKEA kitchen

In Part 1 of our Two-Part Series called “Understanding Countertop Selection for Your IKEA Kitchen,” our design team shared tips on some of the main considerations when beginning countertop selection for your IKEA kitchen.Now, in Part II, we’d like to discuss some of the available countertop materials and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

There are a variety of material options to choose from, including IKEA’s pre-cut countertops as well as other non-IKEA brands (which range in cost), such as granite countertops ($40 to $60 per square foot); quartz (engineered stone) countertops ($50 to $65 or more per square foot), and wood butcher block countertops ($75 to $100 per square foot), among others.

If you’re an IKEA customer whose been researching examples of IKEA kitchen countertops and designs on Web sites like HOUZZ and Pinterest, you’ll appreciate learning about the types of available countertop materials that will look and work the best for you IKEA kitchen.

Let’s take a look!

IKEA’s Pre-Cut Countertops

IKEA’s pre-cut, laminate countertops are a stylish choice and the perfect solution for limited budgets (they cost $39 to $69 per square foot, including installation and fabrication from IKEA). These countertops are easy to clean and maintain, and you can choose between a broad range of options to complement the look of your kitchen.For instance, consider the IKEA EKBACKEN white marble effect/laminate ($89) for an elegant look; the IKEA SÄLJAN black mineral effect/laminate ($79), for a more transitional style; the IKEA EKBACKEN concrete effect/laminate ($109) for some natural appeal; and the IKEA HÄLLESTAD double sided, white aluminum effect/metal effect edge laminate ($119) for a more contemporary look. (Note: As with wood countertops, the thickness varies depending on the style.)

The great benefit of countertops with a top layer of natural material,like IKEA’s pre-cut countertops, is that they can be sanded and treated when required. This means IKEA’s pre-cut countertops provide better stability regarding humidity as opposed to solid wood countertops for example, plus they can be cut to the desired length (they all come with two edging strips that you can use to finish the cut edge). However, IKEA pre-cut countertops also have very limited design options.They come in standard lengths of 74” or 98” and a standard depth of 25-5/8”, which essentially leaves them only to be used against a wall. Also, this depth limitation and the fact they’re not finished on the back makes them unsuitable for kitchen islands or peninsula applications, for instance.

wood countertop

IKEA also offers sustainable wood/veneer countertops made out of particle board with a top layer of wood, such as the IKEA KARLBY oak/veneer ($169); the IKEA PINNARP ash/veneer ($239); the IKEA SKOSGÅ oak/veneer ($349) and the IKEA BARKABODA walnut/veneer ($349) countertop — all of which will provide a natural, warm feel to your kitchen. There is also the new IKEA VRENA oak/veneer ($109) countertop which is more budget friendly as well. (Designer note: You cannot use undermount sinks with any of IKEA’s pre-cut countertops.) IKEA does offer the IKEA KARLBY countertop for kitchen islands ($279), which is the only pre-cut material IKEA offers for islands as it comes in 42” of depth.

Granite Countertops

If you’re considering mixing and matching materials to complement your IKEA cabinets, granite countertops might be right for you.

As mentioned, granite countertops will cost you around $40 to $60 per square foot, with a total price estimate for installation and materials coming in between $2,000 to $4,500 (this includes $10-$30 per square foot for labor from a professional fabricator/installer as mentioned in Part 1). With that in mind, granite countertops are almost impervious to heat, cuts and scratches (although granite will dull your knives), as well as very strong and durable. Combine that with an earthy, natural feel and there’s a lot of opportunity to personalize your IKEA kitchen.

As an example of the design possibilities with granite countertops, check out the DIY kitchen project designed for IKD customer Adam, which features granite countertops for the island and perimeter while blending seamlessly with IKEA BODBYN Off White doors.

marble island countertop

Quartz Countertops

For those who want the look of natural stone in your IKEA kitchen — without the need for high maintenance — then quartz countertops are for you.

With non-porous surfacing and the option to custom fabricate the slabs in any shape or size, quartz is suitable for kitchen countertops as well as island applications. Potential options for your IKEA kitchen include Corian Zodiaq quartz countertops and Cambria’s quartz countertops, for example.

Consider using quartz countertops with IKEA’s SEKTION cabinetry framework along with white, high-gloss custom cabinet fronts from Semihandmade, as seen in this modern, New York City garden apartment recently designed for IKD customer Elisia. Or, add quartz countertops to the perimeter and center island in your open concept kitchen, like our team designed for IKD customer Lian while keeping his kitchen remodel project well within budget.

Wood Butcher Block Countertops

For those who prefer a warmer, more natural palette, then wood butcher block is ideal for your countertops or island.

Typically available in maple and oak hardwoods, wood countertops complement a country-style IKEA kitchen and will last a long time if properly maintained. However, if you’re an avid cook and anticipate using the surface a lot while preparing meals, beware bacteria can accumulate if the surface is not properly cared for. (Designer note: All wood countertops have a beveled edge so this will create a gap when two slabs are joined together.While you can cut the slabs to the desired length, you need to be careful of not having a seam under the sink, over the dishwasher or cooktop.) Wood countertops can create dynamic results, as evidenced by the modern kitchen featured as part of a cottage getaway for IKD customer Michael, who combined birch butcher block countertops with IKEA’s SEKTION cabinetry framework and IKEA’s TINGSRYD fronts in Wood Effect Black for the upper and base cabinets to create “a clean look with elegant countertops and a cohesive style.”

Choosing the right countertop material to complement your IKEA cabinets is crucial to creating a fully realized IKEA kitchen that is stylish, efficient and fits your budget. Remember, our team is here to guide you through the design and product selection process so that your design vision becomes a reality. We look forward to designing your IKEA kitchen with you!

Learn more about how we can design your IKEA kitchen, bath, laundry room and other rooms at inspiredkitchendesign.com.

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