Kitchen Counter Top Options From A Homeowner's Experience

It's absolutely amazing these days how many options we have in regards to kitchen counter tops.  Counter tops seem to make such a strong first impression that choosing the RIGHT one can be overwhelming and confusing. 

I have lived in 6 homes in my 15 years of marriage and have had the opportunity to build 3 out of the six from scratch.   Two were 100% my choice from top to bottom.

So it means I have had experience and LIVED with these 4 counter tops:

  • Laminate (or Formica)
  • Concrete
  • Tile
  • Honed Granite

Laminate counter tops is just a wipe-clean, plastic laminate of paper or fabric with melamine resin.  It is VERY widely used in entry level homes because of it's excellent price point.  Laminate comes in tons of different patterns and colors.  Be sure to check out the different edges laminates has to offer. 

My favorite choice for laminate is to choose a dull finish that mimics granite or something with a LOT of texture (it hides a lot of stuff!).  Although, If I was going modern, I would go with a sleek shinier color.  Since it does have such a great price point, I always put laminate in rooms that are not a focal point like the laundry room or the kids bathrooms.

My children's bathroom - I choose a muted textured laminate and paired it with a mosaic tile backsplash.

Concrete counter tops are awesome!  They are literally poured concrete placed in a form on top of your cabinets!  You can add pigment (color) to the natural concrete, or leave it as grey.  I added just a tinge of brown to my concrete counter tops when I had them installed.  They applied a commercial sealer on top the concrete counters and I was good to go.  I loved the look of the concrete counter tops!  You can also choose what kind of an edge you want.

 I enjoyed this article on This Old House showing pictures of each step of making and installing a concrete counter top - look at all these concrete colors choices!

Photo by Kristine Larson This Old House

Tile counter tops are very nice, but I always had a hard time keeping the grout clean.  Personally, I don't think I would choose a tile counter top again.  A tile backsplash is a different story!  I love tile backsplashes.

Granite or Honed Granite counter tops are very widely used in upper end homes.  Granite is literally made from a rock that is sliced!  It is incredibly durable, you can put hot items on top of it without being worried of charring and each piece is completely unique.  

Traditional Kitchen in a standard Polished Granite

*EDIT*  A few have asked me where I got my kitchen sink - yes, I have LOVED the one open sink instead of the divided.  

My kitchen done in a HONED non shiny granite.

The difference between Honed Granite and regular Polished Granite is just that - if it's highly polished or not.  Honed granite, which has a very matte or dull appearance, is very popular in Europe.  It is becoming more popular in the US but the highly polished granite is still more readily supplied.  The price though for honed verses polished are equivalent.

My Latest Kitchen in Honed Granite

Honed granite appeals to those who want an aged, farmhouse or old world look.  Those who lean toward the unpolished/matte honed granite finish usually dislike the formal appearance that polished granite can give.  You can read more about my experience with Honed Granite by clicking the link.

Of course, there are many more options like:

  • Corian
  • Stainless steel
  • Butcher Block (wood)
  • Soapstone 
  • Marble
  • Quartz

I'll leave that for another posting my friends!!! 

 What is your favorite counter top?  

Leave us a comment!

(Description graphs by Sweet Remodel)

How to Decorate With Your Collections

I have to say, I do love collections.  They can turn something that would be very hard to decorate with singularly, into something that looks spectacular and demands attention.

Just look how Pottery Barn decorated this bedroom with a collection of vintage hand held mirrors!  It really adds character to the room.

I've had my share of collections, probably my favorite is tea cups.  I have a lot of unique ones and come tea party time, it's always fun to pull out the sets!  

As you guy know, I've also collected old plates at thrift stores and have set up this plate collection in my powder room.  That post comes with a great tutorial how to hang your plates for free!

And who doesn't come home with tons of sea shells after vacationing on the beach?  

I love this idea by Cheryl.  She used an old printer tray and filled it with her shells.  She made such a great vignette by pairing it with other beach themed prints.

Beachcomber Simply Living

Another easy collection is FRAMES.  They can be SO CHEAP at the thrift store.  It doens't matter what color they come in originally because you can just spray paint them any color you want.  

Lastly, I want to show you what my friend Laura did with her collection of old vintage items.

Finding Home

Of course, this post could go on and on!  Other collections are 


Don't give up on your collections!  The more you can collect, the easier it is to make a statement.  

Till the next inspiration hits!

~ Decorating Around Driftwood and the Sea~

I don't know about you, but I'm getting a little antsy for SUMMER!  I want to see the sunshine and the blue seas sparkling :-)

How about this beautiful picture?  Wouldn't it be nice to be there RIGHT NOW!


I have always loved the idea of decorating around drift wood and the sea.  As you know, my grandparents have lived up in the San Juan Islands for most of my childhood.  I have the best memories up there and just steps away from their home is the beach with tons of driftwood!

Right on my grandparents property!  Does it get any prettier?

I love how Pottery Barn just stuck a piece of driftwood above the child's bed and decorated around it! Easy enough and pretty much FREE!

How about this beautiful summery beach scene just painted on old wood.  That would look so great in a beach themed kids room over a bed too!

Aimee Weaver

How about the next time you head to the beach, collect a few pieces for a basket (as long as it's OK to do that on the beach you're at!)  Wire baskets have so much character and you can usually find them on  eBay, or other fun home decor stores or antique shops.


I also love sailboats and maps - look how thy used maps as wallpaper!  

The closest I have decorated with maps and boat scenes is in my son's "Explorer" themed room.

For those that would like to see my step by step Canvas Map Tutorial just click on over!
It's by far the most popular post on my blog with over 40,000 views - wow.

As for the fun floating glass balls and sea shells......that came from my Opa up in the San Juans. :-)

Any one else excited for summer??!!  Anyone else want to start collecting driftwood and seashells?!  

Here's to getting our Creative Juices Stirred!!!


Ideas and Tips on Decorating with Shutters

I absolutely LOVE shutters......I love them as unusable window covering options and I love them used separately as home decor.

Doesn't this picture just make you happy??  


You can see in my home, I placed "Cafe" shutters in my dining room.



Like always, people all over Blogland have come up with fun and new ways to use leftover shutters.

How about as a HEADBOARD!  Isn't that color gorgeous?  Very coastal feeling.

How about covering an entire WALL with old shutters!!  Keep your eye out at thrift stores and garage sales!


Of course, you can always just find ONE shutter and paint it to match your home decor and use it to :

hang kitchen accessories
 make a coat/towel rack
or hang photos


West Furniture Revival
I love the idea of using a piece like this for holding Christmas cards too!  Holly put little key hooks on this to use as an organizational piece also....

Life As a Thrifter

I hope this has inspired your Creative Juices!
Keep your eye out this summer for shutters and when you do something with them, I'd love a picture! creativejuicesdecor

Don't Waste Another Penny - Tips for Saving BIG on Kids Clothes!

Hello my friends!  (Mothers, Grandmas, and all clothes buyers!)

I just thought a post that lists great resources on how to buy kids clothes as inexpensively as possible would be fun.

I'll document the day I just had at the thrift store, and then I'll add some tips at the end for buying clothes at substantially discounted prices.  For those thinking you can only find worn out, out of date clothing in thrift stores- think again!

Almost ALL my kids clothes are from thrift stores and they look cute ;-)

Thrift store boots, eBay $10.00  dress (including shipping)  Jacket was a gift.

You see, people spend a LOT of money buying name brand clothes for their kids but they grow out of them SO FAST and most of those clothes end up at a thrift store.  So, why spend tons of money every year when you can buy name brand clothing and shop like this!!

Here is my last trip to the local thrift store.  It was their weekly 50% off day.  I only had 30 min and this is what I got for less than $35.00.

Getting ready for SUMMER!

Son age 9

SIX awesome summer shorts and 2 Hurley T-shirts.

Daughter age 12

Adorable Gap Jeans and Gap uniform shorts.

I love the details!

My youngest age 5

Gymboree shorts and Levi skinny jeans.

Oh and I found a few cute skirts for of them from Patagonia.  (which would have cost at least 40 bucks - they are pricey!!)

All that in 30 minutes!

I bought 23 items for 32.33 (that averages $1.40 a piece)

I hope I've inspired a few of you to hit up the thrift store before you spend your hard earned money at Gymboree and Gap.  Even if you don't find a ton of things the first time, check back to the store twice a month (that's what I try to do). You'll hit a good day like the one above, I promise! :-)

Oh and  get this!!  I bought the wedding dress below for 19.95 at the thrift store!  Believe me, if one of my girls choose to use it I'd be saving thousands!

I had to try it on for fun - I thought it was so pretty!  Shoot, for 20 bucks it could even be a Halloween or play costume!

Thrifty Shopping Tips:

Thrift Stores
Be sure and ask ahead if they do weekly specials and it doesn't hurt to ask when they open and get there early.  If you become friendly with the staff, ask what day they put out their new clothing items.

Consignment Stores:
They have lots of name brand clothes for great prices (not thrift store prices, but still good!)

Discounted Retail stores:
Ross (Tuesdays 10% senior discount)
TJ Maxx
Kohls – awesome end of season sales – 90% off if willing to save for next season
Target – check for 75% off clothing racks (children and adults)

Old Navy – they have 2 big end of season sales which are unbelievable.  They are usually in August and January.  They won’t tell you when so you have to call during those months.  It is 50% off the 50% off.

eBay – for great deals go to “advanced search” check mark “time ending soonest” enter in name brand and catch something that is about to end in a bid for a good deal.  
Facebook "swap and shop" for your local area is also a great way to buy kids clothes.

Always Google for a promo code when you shop online.  Example- I was buying at and saw they had a space for a promo code – I googled promo code for and saved 20% off my entire order.  

Sign up for  – if you wait for the good sales you can save 60 – 75% off and sometimes even get free shipping on top of that.  Just keep your eyes out!  Up to three gift boxes are given to you free – they are so cute – just be sure and mark that you want them.

Here's to saving some money!

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