Why I’m OK with Laminate Countertops

Small changes Day 8: Changes in how we think about our finances

My husband and I had our house built in 2009. We got to choose lots of things (sooo many options!) and one of the biggest decisions for us was the countertops for the kitchen. I wanted granite. Like really, really wanted granite. Except that cost-wise, it was either the granite or the elevation on the front of the house. Not both. We finally decided in the end that the brick on the front of the house wasn’t something we wanted to mess with-ever- so we’d get laminate to start with, then pay someone to do the granite later when we could save for it.


Except. (There’s always an except, am I right?) My husband has been to Africa twice since then. I’ve been to Ecuador. We’ve had the privilege, the honor, of seeing how others live- and sometimes it isn’t pretty. It’s downright sad.


My sweet Compassion girl, Blanca. She just turned 4 and I took her to McDonald’s for her first time EVER.

Over time, my longing for granite vanished. It’s not that there is anything wrong with granite AT ALL. That is not the point of this post. The point is, we’d be shelling out at least $6,000 to fix something that wasn’t broken- when people we’ve met, hugged, broken bread with, prayed with don’t have enough to eat.

>If we don’t get granite, we can give more. We can free up some of our finances to support another child from Compassion International. We can budget money for Operation Christmas Child. We can spare a few dollars when a loved one needs groceries.

Choosing to let go of something we want in order to be generous can be hard- but it's worth it in ways I can't describe.

Maybe for you, it isn’t granite. Maybe it’s a new car, a new pair of shoes, whatever. Whatever would strap your finances too tightly to be generous. This is where we get into trouble. We say we don’t have “enough” money to give, when all along, the enough part was never a problem. It was the wanting, the desire, the covetousness- things that will never make us feel “enough”.

I have to pray constantly for satisfaction and contentment. There is always something I’m wanting to do to the house. And there’s nothing wrong with creating a homey environment for our family and friends. But if something I want comes at the expense of being able to give, it’s not right for us.

And that is why I’m okay with my laminate counter tops.


About Kelli Hays

Kelli Hays is a wife, mother, writer, and friend. She has been blogging since 2008 and loves sharing inspiration for the everyday woman!


  1. I love this, Kelli, and I think you’re absolutely right. It’s not about the granite, it’s about the heart attitude toward it and about limiting our ability to be generous and wise with our finances. And we’re about to start building our home, so this comes at a perfect time for me.

  2. What a wonderful post and so true!

  3. This really hits the nail on the head for me! I really believe I’m better off being content with what and where God has me instead of forever wanting more. I have laminate counter tops as well and it was one of the best decisions we made. It’s a high gloss laminate made to look like granite but costs a fraction of the real stuff!

  4. I LOVE this post!!! I was expecting you to tell me more about countertops (we will hopefully be remodeling our 1970’s kitchen in a couple years). But this post is so much BETTER! It is amazing how our perspectives change with some travel and our life experiences. Thank you for sharing!

  5. That’s how I want to be too. Sure, there are a LOT of things we could fix up in our house (LOTS!), but compared to the rest of the world, and even many in this same city, we’ve got it pretty good!

  6. I love this post! It’s so true. Seeing how little others have shows us just how much “stuff” we do have. It’s not how much stuff we have at the end of our lives that matter but what we have done with our lives. God bless you and your husband for your mission work.

  7. You make me proud to have laminate! Let’s start a trend! We were actually all set to have granite installed, right down to the slab of granite, before we decided to pay cash for braces instead. It’s all about choices!

  8. Well said Kelly! It’s all about the choices we make. I’d rather my kids remember some type of giving (for us we go all out at Christmas to help fill the Angel Tree at our church-I hate to see a name still hanging from there but my husband makes me stop eventually!) or helping others in some way than constantly buying some new trapping. That’s what they’ll remember and carry with them – not our stuff. :)

  9. Opps! I just realized I spelled your name wrong. Sorry about that!!

  10. What a wonderful post. I pinned this from the TXWB feed and hopped over to read your post as we are looking to put in granite counter tops. It SO was not what I was expecting, but a sweet, lovely surprise. Reminding me of others and to look at the big picture. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  11. Hi Kelli,
    I was referred to your blog by Nichole over at Budget Loving Military Wife. I must say I absolutely love your blog! This article really hit home for me because we are contemplating adding a deck or patio to our backyard. Reading your post helped us become more focused about the decision. Thanks for giving us something to think about!

  12. Karin from Birmingham says:

    I love this post. I don’t judge anyone for having granite, but I wish I felt that friends didn’t judge me for being okay with my still-looks-new-after-10-years laminate. Although maybe that’s just another lesson for me to learn–to be comfortable with my priorities regardless of what others think. I’m so glad to run into a like-minded Pinner!!

  13. I have lived with a large expanse of fake wood laminate counters for 14 years now. They are OK, my kitchen is unique and people really do seem taken- in a good way- with our home’s quaintness. But there was this one ‘friend’ that said in front of me that if she moved back to Jersey, she would probably have to live in a ‘V-I-N-Y-L’ home. I have vinyl, and it’s allright with me- not my favorite, but we are doing just fine AND tithing and giving.

    • Hi, I don’t understand why some people can’t see how blessed they are to have a house at all. I see big beautiful houses with open floor plans and high ceilings, but I don’t have that and never will. I am grateful for what I have. A 4 bedroom home so many only dream of their own home. It’s a fixer upper, but I’ll work hard to make it a pretty, cozy home where my family feels happy and loved when they come through the door:)
      So what if my house is VINYL. That’s a shallow outlook for someone to say to anyone, especially a friend:(

  14. Barb Schmidt says:

    Timing on this post couldn’t be better! Even though you wrote it some time ago…lol
    I discovered it just at the time we have been contemplating updating our kitchen. We built 10 years ago and chose laminate with the intention of putting in solid surface when our budget would allow. Well, after pricing Corian we decided that laminate is just fine for us. :)
    If we splurged on Corian, it wasn’t going to bring any addition “joy” to our lives but if we could be content with just a newer laminate we could do more to bring real joy to others!
    Thank you so much for your post!

  15. Hi, I am so happy you posted this!
    I feel the same way. I can not bare to let go of $1000’s for a counter top as much as I love granite. I love to help others, especially animals. Wildlife in particular and I know how much I could help some injured wildlife instead of buying a granite counter. I am very happy with my HD laminate. I truly think it’s beautiful and it only cost a few hundred for all my pieces. I’m refacing my cabinets with maple I got at a super low price and love how pretty the maple is. The only down side is. I am painting them cream and it’s hard to put the paint brush to the wood it’s so beautiful. But I’ll do it cause I love cream cabinets:). Thanks for posting this!

  16. Thank you for this post. I have laminate and I’ve worked to keep it in prestine condition so I wouldn’t have to ever replace it, let alone at the cost of granite. Yesterday I read in Days of Praise that we should live “minimally” so we can give generously. What a great lesson!

    Though I try, I don’t always follow this, and therefore truly appreciate this gracious reminder!

    • Kelli Hays says:

      “we should live “minimally” so we can give generously.”- ooh I love that so much! Cheers to another laminate-lover! :)
      Thanks for stopping by.


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