Consider Ikea Karlby butcher block counters for a classic look and budget-friendly option for your home…
Choosing counters for your home is not an easy decision. Many times you are working with a tight budget. Because kitchen makeovers are not something you do often, you want to make sure you love the counters you choose.
Butcher block is one option, but solid butcher block options can be pricey. You may want to consider one of IKEA’s popular butcher block countertop options that is a veneer, rather than solid wood, such as the Karlby line.
I have lots of personal experience with this product to share, and I’ll also be sharing 10 more real-life examples of these IKEA countertops in use to help you decide if it’s a product you’d like to try in your own home.
Here’s a highlight reel with some of the awesome butcher block countertop inspiration that’s on tap for you today!
And if you’re an IKEA fan, definitely don’t miss these other great IKEA ideas!
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Are you considering butcher block counters?
I personally lived with IKEA Karlby butcher block counters for many years, and don’t regret my decision to buy them one bit!
Butcher block countertops give a warm, traditional, even historic look to a home. My first home was a post-WWII era, brick townhouse. The whole neighborhood was built as barracks for soldiers stationed at the Pentagon in my hometown of Washington DC in the 1940s.
The community is a historic landmark, and three previous presidents called this little neighborhood home at one point during their lifetimes.
The homes were originally built with butcher block counters in them, and when I moved into mine in 2003, we needed to renovate the kitchen, but I wanted to preserve some of the original feel and character.
So I chose IKEA Karlby butcher block counters. They gave me the look I was after, at a price point I could afford in my first home.
Excuse the novice pictures, guys. I took these pictures eons ago when my little sister was actually a renter in my townhouse. I didn’t know about cameras, photography, none of it.
Butcher Block Countertop FAQ’s
Are IKEA Karlby counters real wood?
Yes, they are made of real wood. However, it’s a veneer, not a solid wood slab.
According to IKEA the veneer approach, “makes the countertops easier to install, more stable and more resistant to humidity compared to solid countertops. And since we use the whole tree – even the crooked branches and the small twigs – we can save natural resources too.”
How do you seal butcher block counters?
For the IKEA Karlby counters, clean the surface thoroughly with soap and water or a gentle counter cleaner.
Allow to dry.
Once dry, use a clean, dry cloth to liberally apply the tung tree/linseed oil. Allow the oil to sit on the countertops for several minutes. Longer if the counters have not been treated in a long time or are looking particularly dry or cracked.
After the oil has been allowed to penetrate the surface, rub off any excess with a clean rag.
Repeat several times per year to preserve and extend the life of your counters.
Can these countertops be cut?
Yes! They sure can.
Cutting countertops is always a bit stressful…but cutting this type of countertop as opposed to materials like granite or marble is much simpler, and doesn’t require more specialized tools.
Once upon a time, my dad cut and installed these countertops by himself. I’d like to say I was helpful during the process, but alas, I do not think I helped him at all. Le sigh.
Compared to solid stone counters, these wood counters are MUCH lighter weight, and easier to maneuver, cut, and install as a DIY’er.
How do you care for butcher block countertops?
IKEA sells a product for its Karlby countertops. It’s called Stockaryd, and it’s a blend of tung tree and linseed oils.
I kept a container of this under my kitchen sink, and about twice a year, I would clean the counters thoroughly, then liberally apply this oil to my countertops with a clean rag. It penetrates the wood, then you simply wipe off any excess.
It shines up the counters beautifully, and helps prevent stains from setting in.
Are IKEA Karlby counters high-maintenance or difficult to care for?
In my experience, having lived with them, and owned a rental property with them for nearly 20 years, I’d say they are SUPER resilient and VERY economical. They aren’t maintenance-free (what counter really is?), but they are not really difficult to care for.
If you seal them with oil about 2x/year and lightly sand out stubborn stains when necessary, you can get many years out of this type of countertop.
We finally replaced ours after 20 years. And that was in a rental property where they had survived over 10 renters!
Can butcher block countertops be stained?
Yes. Wood counters can be stained. But whether you CAN and SHOULD are two different questions, entirely. While stain companies may say it’s ok to stain counters, and perhaps it is, I don’t think that stain and a food prep surface sound like things that should go together.
IKEA offers their butcher block counters in several types of woods and finishes now. When I installed mine 20 years ago, the options were more limited.
But today, you can purchase these counters in birch, oak, ash and even walnut, so there’s likely a look that you’ll love without dealing with messy (and potentially toxic) stains.
Does IKEA offer other types of butcher block countertops?
IKEA currently offers butcher block in various styles and wood species.
Their current lines include Karlby, Pinnarp, Skogsa, Mollekulla, and Vrena. The wood species currently offered include oak, ash, walnut and birch.
All of their current offerings are veneers rather than solid wood countertops.
What are the biggest pros and cons of IKEA butcher block countertops?
Based on my years of personal experience and everything I’ve come to know and learn about this style of countertop, and compared to others I’ve owned over the years to include granite, marble, and quartz here’s what I’d cite as the biggest pros and cons of this type of counter:
– Affordable (higher-end look than other lower-end priced countertop options)
– Classic, natural look
– Stains can be removed relatively easily by light sanding
– Upkeep is not very expensive, time-consuming or difficult
– Comparatively simple to cut and install versus heavier, thicker stones/materials
– Water will stain over time/repeated exposure
– Require upkeep (though simple) in the form of oiling at least 2x/year
– Will require light sanding over time to remove difficult stains
If you’re already an IKEA die-hard (or even if you haven’t yet caught the bug), then grab this free list of 25 IKEA must-have items for a stylish home on a budget! These are my favorite IKEA products as many of them can be used in amazing, outside-the-box ways, too.
Ready to see some more wood countertop inspiration? Let’s go!
23 Ikea Karlby Butcher Block Countertop Ideas
Karlby is one of several lines of butcher block countertop currently offered by IKEA. Others include IKEA Pinnarp, Skogsa, and Vrena.
Butcher block counters are a beautiful and popular option for kitchens, home offices, bathrooms, even craft rooms. They are relatively inexpensive to purchase, can often be installed by a homeowner, and add instant warmth, a natural appeal, and a classic look to any home!
Let's check out some beautiful examples of this countertop style!
Ikea Karlby Counter in Walnut with Copper Sink
Ikea Karlby counters look gorgeous in this bathroom. The copper sink really pops against the walnut finish. You can see how to cut and install the counters in this post.
CAVEAT EMPTOR: Know that wood and water don't always play well together.
While butcher block is a countertop style that I wholeheartedly love, if you put it in a bathroom, you'll have to make sure to dry the surface after using it as much as possible to cut down on the upkeep.
One option for a bathroom is to seal the surface with a polyurethane finish. That will help with managing the water, and since it's not a surface used for food prep, it's entirely appropriate to do use that type of sealant for this application.
This vessel style sink is a great option to work well with butcher block in a bathroom to help cut down on water stains/issues also!
Ikea Butcher Block Countertop in Laundry Room
Casey, of The DIY Playbook, has some great tips in this post for installing butcher block. She used them in her laundry room...pretty attractive, right?!
Kids Workstation With Butcher Block
This amazing, talented mom helped transform an unused area under their staircase into an incredible workstation for two!
The butcher block desktop is practical and lovely addition.
Warming Up A White Kitchen With Butcher Block
You can see how the wood countertops warm up this mostly white, farmhouse style kitchen.
Wood is a natural element that is always important to have in good design...so why not bring it in as a countertop?
IKEA Butcher Block Home Office Desk
IKEA butcher block is sold in 74" or 98" long slabs, so creating a home office with a slab can be very simple.
And at price points between $170-$200 per slab, it's an affordable (and beautiful) option for a great desk space.
Farmhouse Kitchen with IKEA Butcher Block Counters
Heather used IKEA butcher block countertops and warmed up her beautiful farmhouse style kitchen.
It looks lovely alongside the whites that are so prevalent in farmhouse design. And that green island...a stunner!
Ikea Karlby Counters with Farmhouse Sink
If you are on the fence about installing Karlby butcher block counters, you may find this post helpful.
The homeowner installed them in her kitchen in walnut. (IKEA butcher block is available in several species of wood to include oak, birch, ash, and walnut). They look beautiful with a farmhouse style sink.
Kitchen Command Center and Coffee Bar with Butcher Block Countertops
Lizzy created a command center coffee bar combo in her kitchen, thanks to the addition of some affordable butcher block counters.
And check out the chalkboard paint! One of my personal favorite accent wall options!
Ikea Butcher Block Countertops Review 2 Years Later
The home bloggers behind Our Storied Home installed Ikea butcher block counters in this farmhouse-style kitchen 2 years ago.
This post shares a review on how they have held up, and whether they'd install them again, if given the opportunity.
Ikea Butcher Block Countertop with Tips and Video
Learn how to install Karlby counters with this simple countertop cutting technique using a circular saw.
You can implement this same cutting process for any butcher block countertop, regardless of thickness.
Karlby Butcher Block Used in a Nook
In this small kitchen nook, butcher block was added above a wine refrigerator. It gives instant warmth and a beautiful focal point to this space.
Butcher Block in Craft Room
Check out how Karlby butcher block was added to a craft room. It is used for the counter top and in a large island perfect for creating!
Budget-Friendly Kitchen Update With Butcher Block
Bethany renovated her mid-century kitchen with the help of some IKEA counters. Check out the before/after!
Butcher Block Island and Counters in a Kitchen/Laundry Room Combo
This little laundry room-kitchen combo is big on style thanks to that amazing tile and the butcher block counters.
Lake Cottage Kitchen With Butcher Block
As you can see, butcher block is often chosen for kitchens. Just be sure to take special care to protect the surface while cutting (use a cutting board, do not cut directly on the surface), and do not let water sit on the surface near the sink.
Over time, the countertop closest to your sink is where the butcher block will start showing signs of wear and tear. To revive, sand down any staining, and protect the surface with oil.
Floating Linen Closet Shelves With IKEA Karlby
IKEA Karlby butcher block isn't just for kitchens! Check out this beautiful floating shelf linen closet concept!
DIY Kitchen Remodel With Spray Paint and Butcher Block
Youngjoo and her husband DIY'd this kitchen remodel with the help of some grit, determination, spray paint and IKEA Karlby butcher block. Lovely, no?
Butcher Block Marries Marble Kitchen
Check out how gorgeous Holly Tompkins kitchen is with the combo of butcher block and marble.
They recently swapped out the butcher block for more marble...and guess what? In an Insta post, she admits she'd go back to the butcher block in a heartbeat!
Bold Backsplash + Butcher Block
We've seen lots of examples of butcher block looking great with white backsplashes, but check it out in this kitchen with a bolder blue toned splash. Looks great, too, right?!
IKEA Karlby in a Skoolie Remodel
I was working hard to find some examples of IKEA Karlby butcher block being used in a camper or RV renovation because I think it's SUCH a great idea for those spaces!
It's definitely on my list to use for our next camper renovation (if I can talk Dave into doing another with me). Check out how gorgeous the butcher block is looking in Heidi's ongoing skoolie remodel...and look at her IG account to see more recent glimpses of how this amazing kitchen is coming together!!
Butcher Block BIG Style in a Tiny House
Butcher block was a great choice to add big style and personality to this amazing tiny house!
IKEA Karlby Open Shelving + Countertops
Kaylee Taylor went all in on the IKEA butcher block in her kitchen, and it paid off! Check out not only the countertop, but the beautiful open shelving as well - all IKEA.
And the wood couples so well with the classic marble subway tile, installed in that stunning herringbone pattern.
Airstream With Butcher Block
This has to be one of my favorite examples of IKEA butcher block counters...check out this dreamy Airstream renovation with butcher block throughout.
Such a smart, economical way to bring a natural element into a space that looks so much more inviting with the warm, wood tones!
So what do you think? Are you sold on butcher block? Still on the fence? Pin these countertop ideas for later:
Don’t leave empty-handed! Grab your free copy of our “25 Best IKEA Buys For A Stylish Home On A Budget” list! It’s the next best thing to an IKEA cinnamon roll (and if you haven’t tried one of those, you are missing one of life’s biggest joys)!
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