5 ways to do stainless steel counter tops in your kitchen

stainless steel sinksOur recent story on Stacia’s one-piece, custom kitchen stainless steel sink and counter top reminded us about just how many stories we’ve covered on stainless steel counter tops here on Retro Renovation. This topic was begging for a round up — so without further adieu — here are 5 ideas for how to incorporate a stainless steel counter top in your mid century kitchen.

BE AWARE UPDATE: A reader commented that his contractor would not install a stainless steel countertop in his kitchen — the contractor said that the building code would not permit this metal countertop in residential uses. I am not an expert. Consult with your own properly licensed professional(s) to assess this issue so you can make your own informed decisions.

retro-modern-stainless-steel-drain-board-sinkAbove: #1 — Completely custom, all one piece, including integral sink: That’s what Stacia ordered.

stainless-steel-countertop#2 — DIY stainless steel counter to with drop-in sink — Remember reader Linn’s fabulous DIY stainless steel counter top — that she installed herself saving thousands of dollars? She used a drop in stainless sink along with her custom counter instead of a custom one piece like Stacia. Linn even has very detailed instructions showing how to install a stainless steel counter top and save yourself hundreds if not thousands of dollars over on her blog The Home Project.

elkay-stainless-steel-drainboard-sink#3 — Elkay stainless steel drainboard sinks. Of course — being the researcher she is — Pam found that you can still buy 8 different kinds of new Elkay Lustertone drainboard sinks for your mid century kitchen remodel. These tend to be a bit on the pricey side so save your pennies — or you can always try to hunt down a vintage Elkay sink to save some big money.

drainboard-sinks-metal-and-porcelain-3We can even see one of these new Elkay sinks in action — thanks to reader Joe’s sink project. Joe replaced his badly worn porcelain drainboard sink — which had already had one failed resurfacing attempt — with a new Elkay stainless steel drainboard sink. The results are just stunning.

ikea-bolhomen-sink#4 — Ikea stainless steel drainboard. For those who are trying to replace their kitchen drainboard sinks on the cheap and cheerful, why not try Ikea’s line of BOHOLMEN stainless steel sinks. A cross between modern and retro — with an affordable price tag. But, you will need to mount the faucet in the counter top (not a good idea if you have laminate) or on the backsplash.

#5 — Edge flat stainless steel with stainless steel edging. And yes, even Pam has incorporated stainless steel counter top into her kitchen — as she shows us in her counter top video. The stainless steel segment starts at minute 5:00.

So there you have it — 5 great ideas to incorporate a little bit of retro appropriate bling (in the form of stainless steel) — into your kitchen countertop.


Of course, even if you don’t want a stainless steel counter top, you can consider a stainless steel sink. Yes, they did them in the way back time machine mid century days. One of our all-time favorite kitchen woddities: the fabulous Elkay stainless steel kitchen Console with built in florescent light. Water + electricity? A shocking combination for sure — watch out!

See all our stories about ideas for retro kitchen counter tops here.

  1. Rita Bratteng says:

    We are remodeling our kitchen to have the rustic/distressed look. Would the stainless sink/counter top go good? Any comments good or bad will be appreciated. Thank you! Rita

  2. Stephanie MCM Lush says:

    We just installed new boomerang laminate countertops (from Heffron’s) and used the double drain board IKEA sink our 1958 Ralph Haver in AZ. So far…I love it. Super easy to clean, and since we have no dishwasher…the drain board has come in super handy 🙂

    1. Jennifer H says:

      I’m thinking of getting the Ikea sink. It’s a thinner gauge than most (20 I think), can you tell the difference?

      Would love Elkay, but can’t afford a new one and haven’t found one used.

  3. Laura in PA says:

    Hi Pam – we have the Ikea sink with Formica counter tops- and there is another way to mount the faucet. We just cut a hole in the middle towards the back, on the drainboard side, and put the faucet in at an angle. Works great! I can send you a picture if you want!

    1. Sara says:

      I did the same thing with my Ikea sink and it works great. The Ikea sink was the only thing affordable and in keeping with my 1944 cape cod.

    2. Gabriella says:

      I know it is 3 years later but could you PLEASE send me a picture of your Boholmen 1 1/5 sink with the faucet installed in the triangle between basins on the sink? I am having problems with finding a faucet that fit that is not Ikea’s Ringskar and my renovation is hault due to my contractor not taking the time to figure out? Anyone please with this issue?

  4. Ada says:

    Wow, these are great! My original sink doesn’t have a drainboard and I so wish it did! But Scottish as I am and as good shape as it’s in, I can’t possibly bring myself to replace it!

    I do have a question that’s a bit off subject…the cabinet under the Elkay sink looks JUST like the cabinets in my house’s ‘canning kitchen’ in the basement. Unfortunately, dampness and neglect had taken their toll by the time I moved in and got hold of them and I had to get rid of all but one. I’d love to replace the ones I had to take out and I was wondering the make of them? This is the first time I’ve seen the EXACT match!

    1. pam kueber says:

      Ada, go to that post — there is a link, it has the make, I think. Update: I went and looked, I don’t easily see the make. I think it’s Beauty Queen. See the Kitchens/Steel Kitchen subcategory for lots more info and photos. We may have a Beauty Queen catalog. Good luck.

  5. MbS says:

    I have the small Ikea Bohlman in my victory cottage. Installed on their beechwood slab, in my micro-kitchen. Looks like it could have been there for years. Wished I could have kept my sparkle-flec laminate but it had about thirty cigarette burns on it.

  6. Josh LaPorte says:

    I’d considered both the custom with integral sink and the Elkay options, and ended up with a tile top with drop in Elkay sink with drainboard, but a different model. Wish now I’d gone with the fully built in variety of Elkay as uneven tile counters are not really a good match for a regular drop in sink… It’s all sealed up with plumbers putty but is just a great place to gather icky stuff in the gaps under the sink rim.

    On the other hand, the sink we got is awesome, having one huge, rectangular, deep bowl on the left and a smaller, square, shallower bowl on the right, plus a large right hand drainboard. Paired it with a Chicago Faucets faucet and it really does a great job. Pricey though!

    1. pam kueber says:

      Readers, if you are obsessed you can find these vintage beauties — vintage and way cheaper. I see them now and then at the ReStore — usually with a “Sold” tag on them.

  7. KMP Modern says:

    Your stainless steel sink ideas are fantastic. They seamlessly work into the mid-century kitchen counters. I especially liked the Elkay. Just gorgeous!

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