Everyone wants great countertops in their kitchen. Most people drool over the prospects of granite or marble (who wouldn’t?) that can absolutely transform a kitchen from dull to dynamic, but not everyone can afford the hefty price tag that comes with natural stones. Does this mean you should just suck it up and stick with cheap, boring counters? IKEA doesn’t think so, at least, not if their Pragel line has anything to say about it.

Wait, IKEA sells countertops?

Swedish superstore IKEA isn’t just a great place to grab cheap furniture. They also offer a kitchen design service that allows you to create a great-looking kitchen for less. While the idea of an IKEA kitchen may seem a little cheap or tacky to some, fear not. Thanks to the fact that their countertops are actually really great in terms of quality and price, it can be an easy way to incorporate some less expensive–but still attractive–features in your kitchen remodel. Pragel is a great example of opting for a cheaper material without sacrificing the look of of more pricey options.

It’s a laminate kitchen surface that goes the extra mile, meaning, it doesn’t necessarily look “cheap” at first glance. Thanks to a choice of faux stone like quartzite wood, or plain white finishes, the clever, yet inexpensive, design offers an alternative to the more expensive materials.

What’s so great about Pragel?

Pragel countertops offer a convenient way to get an almost-custom worktop for a fraction of the price of actual custom ones. The cost per panel ranges from around $59-69 dollars, versus the hefty per-square foot pricing of stone for counters.

The variety of finishes means you can get pretty much any look you want. While you don’t get the complex patterns and truly unique qualities associated with slab stone, you also don’t have to have boring, bland laminates, either. The wood pattern is even slightly textured for a more realistic look so while you won’t get the high-end luxury versions, they won’t look like cheap knockoffs, either.

The surface and edging are the same color, and the slightly rounded edging doesn’t scream ‘laminate.’ According to its product description, they are moisture-, heat-, and scratch-resistant as well as being easy to clean.

Like all laminate countertops, they aren’t made to last as long as their stone counterparts. However, Pragel counters do come with a 25-year guarantee from IKEA, so you’ll have some peace of mind against accidental damage from ‘everyday’ kitchen activities.

What’s the downside?

It may be sturdy, pretty, and inexpensive, but it’s still laminate. And you have to have the countertops cut to fit your kitchen, so unless you are a dab hand with the DIY, you’ll have to pay someone to come and cut it for you. And while installation is easier than installation of stone or tile, it can still be tricky, so you may want to pay someone to install it, too.

You can’t really repair damage, so if you get a nasty chip or burn on the surface, you may have to replace the entire panel. It can be nearly impossible to match up the new to the old one, so it’s worth buying a spare panel if you think you might need to tackle repairs in the future.

While the Pragel line of countertops isn’t the only decent option IKEA offers for renovating your kitchen, it’s definitely one of the more popular choices. It’s pretty easy to see why so many people are opting for the edgy, sophisticated option–it looks good and won’t break your budget.

What else might you be interested in? How about a comparison of granite vs quartz.

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Featured Image: Blue Cakes Blog