This Spring, I have been tackling jobs in my kitchen to freshen it up. I moved into my home over eight years ago, and one thing I have wanted to change is the kitchen countertops. In this post, let me share how I updated my kitchen counter on a budget using a custom Ikea SÄLJAN countertop.
For me, the kitchen is the heart of the home. When I first moved in, the kitchen cabinets were orange pine tone, with magnolia walls, and it felt small and dark.
A couple of years ago, I painted my cabinets, and it instantly freshened them up and made them feel bigger and brighter. However, my countertops felt dated, and I knew I wanted to change them.
My old countertop
In late 2000, my house was built, and the countertops were (more than likely) installed then. The countertop was a stone effect laminate, and overall it held up pretty well.
As you can see in the before images, the old counter had small areas of damage and lifting. However, I was impressed with how they lasted to daily wear and tear, and I wasn’t put off purchasing a laminate counter for my kitchen.
Ikea laminate SÄLJAN V’s a stone countertops.
You might be thinking, why didn’t you get a stone counter instead of a cheap Ikea one? So, two reasons, but the main one was my budget.
When pricing countertops, stone counters were coming in the four-figure price range, compared to an Ikea laminate option which was a few hundred.
Another reason for choosing this option was future planning. Down the line ( 5 years + ), I would love to renovate my kitchen and reconfigure the layout. With the price of materials being so high, I don’t have the budget for this project right now. So, this is my budget update to tide me over until I can tackle my larger project.
Stone counters are stunning, and if you have the budget and are happy with the layout, go for it.
Why didn’t you use vinyl to cover your old counters if you are on a budget?
Back in 2019, I did a mini kitchen makeover in my work canteen. To cover the countertops, I used the DC FIX self-adhesive vinyl. ( click here to see that kitchen project)
The vinyl was around €10 a roll, and it was a budget way to cover a counter. However, while it covered the counters well, I thought it felt plasticky and thin.
Self-adhesive vinyl is renter and budget-friendly, and it looks good too. I feel it is a short term fix, but that is my personal opinion, and I know some people who have used it and love it.
I think vinyl is great for small projects, like this mini Ikea kitchen makeover. (click here to see)
How to order a custom size Ikea SÄLJAN counter?
If you are like me, you are on the Ikea website, and you want to order a custom size counter, but you don’t know how to, then you are not alone.
To order a custom Ikea countertop, you will have to make an appointment for a kitchen planning appointment.
These appointments are in-store or online. However, I found it hard to make an appointment, and it took me two weeks to find a slot. I kept refreshing the page to book an appointment and got lucky one evening when appointments popped up for the following week. Here is the link to book an appointment.
In hindsight, I should have called my local Ikea and tried to make an app over the phone. Or, visit the kitchen centre in Ikea to book an appointment.
It would be handy if you could input your measurements into an online form and order that way, especially if you know your measurements and what you want. However, at the moment, you have to do a kitchen planning appointment to order a custom Ikea countertop.
What to expect from an Ikea kitchen planning appointment
Before heading to my kitchen appointment, I measured my old countertops. I even drew out a little picture to explain what I wanted.
The Ikea SÄLJAN counter has a depth of 63.5 cm, and I needed a depth of 59cm. You can buy this countertop from the shelf. However, I needed two lengths of counter that were longer than the off the shelf size.
I was able to give my measurements to the team, and they did a mock-up design for me.
Just to note, with an Ikea kitchen appointment, you will be asked to return an hour or so later as the team prepare your design. As I was only getting a custom countertop, I only had to wait twenty minutes. However, I was belly deep in the Ikea breakfast, lol!
Once I was happy with my order, I paid for it in-store, and it was delivered to my home a month later. I think the delivery was free too.
Where to find a workman to install an Ikea kitchen countertop?
So, I had my countertop sitting in my hallway, and it was time to find someone to fit it.
I want to share some of the speed bumps I came into when sourcing a contractor to change the counter. I would have had a go at tackling this myself. However, the wiring from the cooker and the sink plumbing was out of my skillset.
I reached out to kitchen fitters online for quotes, checked local Facebook groups and asked friends who recently had work done for recommendations.
Some contractors were concerned about cracking my old ceramic sink when removing the old counter, something I never thought of. Also, some kitchen fitters could change the countertop but were quoting extra for plumbing and electricity.
Finally, I found a jack of all trades who could do the whole job for me. It took two of them about 3 hours to change out the old counter, and he also fitted my new tap. Also, he managed to save my sink and didn’t crack it.
If you are in the North Dublin area and need a contractor for this, drop me an email, and I can pass on his details. Like all contractors at the moment, they have long lead times, so I recommend booking weeks in advance for work.
Check out my YouTube video for a closer look.
Click on the link below to look at my YouTube video for a close look at the custom Ikea SÄLJAN counter. Overall, I am impressed with the quality and the ease of cleaning away spills.
I will update this post in a few months and let you know if I have come across any issues. Overall, I think it’s a medium budget fix to updating the look and feel of your kitchen.
You can check out my other kitchen videos in this playlist on my channel.
Thanks for reading, Chat soon, Catherine.
Your new Ikea kitchen countertops look lovely! I am eager to see what paint color(s) you land on for the kitchen cabinetry. I am all for one saving where you can and splurging on that one thing that brings you joy, like your new faucet. We recently renovated our entire kitchen back to 1930 original (it had been redone some time in the 50’s ) and it is amazing the impact that new countertops can have.
We went with the absolute rock bottom priced real marble and we love it. We had no idea in the states that you can get real stone cheaper than many man made products if you are patient (the price all depends on the lot for the real stone). We saved for 10 years and since there was no way to change the footprint of our tiny galley kitchen, we splurged on our bargain basement marble and it makes it look like we spent a fortune (we did not!).
I only found your blog/vlog a week ago and splurged on your posts/videos. I am so thankful as we have a ramshackle of a house and I have been stumped with how to improve/renovate on a budget several of our Rooms. It is a small house and we have 3 teens, 3 dogs and 2 cats (and that is why our very well used Kitchen needed to be renovated). You have provided so many wonderful inspirational and cost effective ideas that I will be tapping into them soon.
Have a lovely week. I look forward to your book and your new videos.
Thanks for the kind comment Gabrielle, and thanks for watching my videos and your support on my channel. I love the sound of your counter! Best of luck with your jobs around your home x
Saw the YT on this, and since then have seen the new counter tops on the IG. Can not BELIEVE what a difference they make, it’s like the whole kitchen reached a new level of sleek elegance! LOVE!