Kitchen Remodeling Shortcuts

1.  Counter tops

If you can’t afford natural stone, embrace the laminate.

These laminate counter tops are almost eight years old and I still love them.  I tried to get a close-up to show you that they mimic real stone.  They aren’t smooth like older laminate options, instead, they came with a rougher surface with little dents and dings along the lines of the faux stone.

Now there are so many great options for laminate counter tops than when I chose these, including different finishes and counter top edges.  I tried to stay away from a bull nose edging because to me it screamed, I’M LAMINATE.

Some of the best options mimic granite or natural stone or (my favorite) marble.

This is one of my favorites that I pinned years ago from my friend Layla.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    Mix what you're saying is, that necessity is the Mother of Invention.....or in your case, creativity! Love all that you have done. It's beautiful.

  2. Image for May May

    We just moved to an old stone farmhouse with "great bones" (such an overused expression!) but eye-wateringly bad color schemes that were just too unliveable-withable. But, just by painting the previously plum walls and milk chocolate ceilings (really!) BM's "ecru" (soft pinkish white, because I already had a bucket of the stuff from previous projects), we were able to clear our heads (and eyes!) and are now planning our next steps. So, my recommendation is, when in doubt, paint it light and bright, and it clears you to move forward when everything else seems a little overwhelming. I love what you did with the old free-standing now-white kitchen dresser, Karianne, and it's inspiring me to do the same with some of our old dark pieces next!

  3. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    And it looks perfect! I wish I could have an island...Bruce reminded me the sink and stove are opposite each other so I'd be walking around it all day. Boo. I'm going to settle for a narrow shelf unit along the chalkboard wall. Works out better because I can put a coffe station there too. :-) It's all about making lemonade from lemons, isn't it? Great ideas and timely as we begin our great kitchen makeover. (The counter people are coming next week to measure! Whoop!) Happy weekend, friend!

  4. Image for Michele Michele

    You truly have one of the best farmhouse kitchens out there- and this is a great reminder that it is doable if one uses your ideas. Well done, again, KA - always love visiting your blog and being inspired by your many talents and hard work. ♥

  5. Image for Kimm at Reinvented Kimm at Reinvented

    Your kitchen is so gorgeous, my friend, and all of those creative touches are what make it so, whether they came about from budget constraints or not, they were born from your beautifully creative mind! :) Have a great weekend!!

  6. Image for Gee Gee

    Your kitchen is my fave in blogland!! Truly. we just redid ours on a slim, anorexic budget. I luv it!!! We just completed last week and I am glad the appliances ate up all the budget and forced us to be creative. The absolute best thing ever!! See it at 'summertime reflections' on the blog. Hugs, Gee

  7. Image for Yvonne Shafer Yvonne Shafer

    Good morning Sunshine! Your kitchen is my dream kitchen!! More money wouldn't have made a dif because it's terrific just the way it is! Get the sweet tea out and enjoy!

  8. Image for Jessica Jessica

    We are going through a kitchen remodel as well and these tips are SUPER helpful because our budget just keeps getting kicked in the tush by random things that need to be fixed... like how our back door wasn't put in properly, so we need to redo the entire framing!!

  9. Image for Jill Jill

    Didn't you recently post that you have a kitchen remodel on the horizon? I'm going to miss your fabulous farmhouse kitchen, but I'm also looking forward to seeing what you have up your sleeve.

  10. Image for Holly Holly

    I love your kitchen because it doesn't look like every other kitchen in the magazines. It is just as beautiful and more so because of the pieces that you have used to make it unique and one of a kind. It is bespoke (I think I used that word correctly). Keep up the good work.

  11. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    "and you are wondering if your five gallon bucket can double as a sink" made me laugh out loud! I hear you, girlfriend, and I think we've all been in that sort of predicament at one time or another, but you're right - looking back, we wouldn't have it any other way.

  12. Image for Sue Sue

    I love your kitchen. It is a custom kitchen. I'm sure your readers have copied a lot of your ideas. I know there are a few I'm trying. How do you keep it so clean?

  13. Image for Michelle Michelle

    If I hadn't been reading your post, if I just happened to come across your kitchen in a magazine, for instance, I would have assumed that it was entirely a custom kitchen -- wall to wall and floor to ceiling -- that everything had been mapped out and planned carefully, executed to a T, and that no expense had been spared. I, like you, am grateful you ran out of remodeling budget and were forced to be more creative. I especially like that you share your real-life-you-can-do-this-too wisdom on to us! Isn't it amazing how sometimes the things in life we think are disappointments turn out to be the best thing ever?! Can't say enough how much I love your kitchen, Karianne!!

  14. Image for Ellen Ellen

    Your kitchen is beautiful and equally if not more- so very functional! I love that island and especially the glass paned cabinets. I have laminate countertops too that were new when I moved here and so they have stayed for 10 yrs., still in great condition. You and Mr. Twinkle Eyes have created a lovely space in your home, one of many. Thank-you for all the helpful tips that I will share with my daughter for her new home.

  15. Image for Lisa W. Lisa W.

    Oh my gosh, you crack me up! I am picturing an orange Home Depot bucket as a kitchen sink. I totally agree that while having an unlimited budget would be awesome I find myself happier when I have had to be creative.

  16. Image for Brit Brit

    I'll be entirely transparent and say this: I have noticed your laminate counter tops before. And you know what? They make me so happy. We are in the middle of buying our first home and I will have to live with white laminate counter tops for a while. But, when I come on here and I look at your kitchen, it makes me happy. I have never had anything but laminate and somehow I had it in my head that when I grew up and got my home, I would not. Real stone is not feasible for all of us but, I love how you chose a pattern that looks fantastic and you unapologetically love your laminate.

  17. Image for Maureen R. Maureen R.

    Hi, KariAnne, I enjoy all your blog posts and this one about the kitchen was another winner! We have the Ikea kitchen island, too, and it's one of my favorite features of our kitchen. My question is: did you stain and polyurethane the butcher block to achieve the rich, shiny look you have? You have a big fan on Long Island, NY!

  18. Image for Nancy Isenburg Nancy Isenburg

    Hey there! Your ideas may not fit all re-nos, but your adaptability and encouragement are useful to all. Far from "Hallmark & rose-colored glasses", you encourage creativity even when we are constrained by budget. Thank you for the help; I needed just that perspective!!

  19. Image for Sharon C Sharon C

    Karianne, your kitchen is absolutely stunning and I too never tire of seeing pics of it. It's a huge credit to you and I love everything you've done and I especially love your recipe wall with the plate rack over's such a genius idea!!!!! You are incredibly talented and I love your design, decor and styling.......your home is like every room popped out of a home decor magazine!!! Love, love, love your blog!!!!!

  20. Image for Gretchen Gretchen

    I love all your ideas Karianne! Not every kitchen has to cost a fortune to look like it could be in a magazine. Love it!

  21. Image for Jeanne Jeanne

    Love your kitchen - you had me fooled. This post came at a perfect time...we are looking at counter tops for our Florida house and laminate (and only laminate) is in the budget. At home our kitchen counter tops are recycled glass. The glass has been great and much cheaper than all the natural stones. A template is done and the glass is fitted over the existing counters. Hot pots can be set on them (not that I like to do that...but with this crowd)...and the counter tops are fine. Thanks for the enthusiastic push to be creative and get the look and love the look without the ridiculous price tag. Can' wait to show my husband this post...his eyes will twinkle and he'll of those "there you go" kind of laughs! :)

  22. Image for Loryl Fisher Loryl Fisher

    When we bought our first house and remodeled ugly metal trimmed countertops and metal cabinets with beautiful to the ceiling oak the budget didn't include natural stone countertops. It still looked great. When we built our present home 23 years ago we put in laminate. Then about 8 years ago we put in my dream granite. I do love it but my husband uses a lot of cast iron and heavy pots and pans and has chipped the area near the sink. Also remember it won't be perfect. If we ever build again I'd go with some of the fantastic laminates that fool the eye. We have marble in the master bath and you have to be especially careful with hair and teeth products,as they can etch and stain.If you have children or grandchildren the current laminate products are the way to go!!

  23. Image for Pamela Martin Pamela Martin

    We are midway through our kitchen reno. The things that I wanted most quickly fell off the project list. I wanted a white farmhouse sink, but it wouldn't fit in the space. I wanted a cupboard door on my dishwasher, too expensive. I wanted a big, high faucet. Didn't look right with the smaller sink. BUT - I am going to love my kitchen. I loved this post about loving the things we end up. Maybe what we wanted we wouldn't have liked in the end. I am trusting that this is the case for us. Thank you for a great post. *Smiles*

  24. Image for Scottie Scottie

    So the freestanding furniture is one of the reasons I love old Hoosiers. Kitchens didn't use to have cabinets, just appliances and "Hoosier saves steps" was the motto and the original kitchen cabinet because all your supplies were stored together. So I love your kitchen because while it's beautiful and modern, it also has that "nod" to yesteryear and all that was fabulous there as well. ((Hugs))

  25. Image for PJ PJ

    Oh, Karianne, thank you for this post about your lovely kitchen! We have been in our house for two years now, and because we do all the work ourselves, my kitchen projects are moving at a glacial speed. The frozen pipes that burst in the baseboard heat in the living room sidetracked us so my kitchen must wait a bit longer, but you give me hope that eventually it will all come together.

  26. Image for Karen Karen

    Thanks for the word about laminate countertops. We can't afford granite or marble, and I don't think it would sell in my neighborhood.

  27. Image for Fran Fran

    Karianne, how much space do you have between the island and your dishwasher and the island and your stove. I would love to have a work space in the middle of the kitchen. but my husband does not feel we have the necessary space to allow the opening and closing of the appliances.

  28. Image for Laura Laura

    Great post. Your ideas are wonderful (again and always), and your kitchen is BEAUTIFUL! It is so nice to read a blog that is honest, genuine and realistic. You're the best!

  29. Image for Theresa Theresa

    I love your styling and can so relate. Our kitchen remodel budget isn't high. There are lots of compensation and considerations. But, slowly it's coming together. I only hope I can make it as beautiful as yours. Thanks for sharing at the inspiration spotlight party. Shared

  30. Image for Julie Julie

    Love this! I especially enjoyed reading this because I've always thought your kitchen was so high-end (expensive!). Your creativity really paid off. It's beautiful! ~julie

  31. Image for Michelle Mortensen Michelle Mortensen

    Kitchen remodels are soooooo expensive. Thanks for the great ideas! Your kitchen is fabulous! Instead of looking like it was transported off the showroom floor of Home Depot, it looks amazing and unique. I particularly like the freestanding hutch which adds so much character to your room. I'm am now on the hunt for something like it: watch out flea markets and thrift stores, because here I come!!! Best & Bisous, Michelle from Simply Santa Barbara

  32. Image for Jane Jane

    wish I could hire you to figure out our kitchen. we're doing a full renovation at some point and I keep going back and forth on how to save money!

  33. Image for Tina Matteson Tina Matteson

    It's just so lovely, KariAnne! I always enjoy seeing your kitchen, and all your rooms, in fact. I have a question! What do you keep in the totes under the mixing bowls, in your kitchen island? Inquiring minds want to know! Thanks!

  34. Image for Beth Beard Beth Beard

    I love everything about your kitchen and wouldn't change a thing. It's gorgeous! I was wondering about the rugs. We just installed hardwood flooring throughout and Ive been told not to put area rugs down. The sunlight will fade the floors around the rugs, but I really want the seagrass like yours. Now Im afraid to purchase them. Could you please tell me if you have had any issues with discoloring of floors? Ive waited 15years for hardwood and scared I could ruin them.

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      Beth, Those are actually indoor/outdoor rugs! Total disclosure I got them from one of my sponsors, Home Decorator's. Here's the link: I just replaced the ones I had (for five years) in my kitchen with the same rug and I LOVE THEM!!!!!!!! Happy day friend! karianne

  35. Image for Lori Lori

    Saw your post featured at Saturday Sparks and had to stop by to tell you I love that Ikea island - my daughter also has it and it looks terrific in real life too! Great tips and a beautiful kitchen!

  36. Image for mal mal

    A question: LOVE the kitchen floors. After the sand and stain, how much poly or other protectant do you have? And what is your cleaning/maintenance routine like to keep them looking so good? Thanks!!!

Comments are closed.