One of the most important decisions you'll make when remodeling your kitchen is what material to choose for the countertops. This is a choice that will have a huge impact on the look and functionality of your kitchen — and also the budget. If you're searching for a natural material at a reasonable price, allow me to suggest butcherblock. Butcherblock has the timeless warmth of wood, looks great in pretty much any style of kitchen, and is available at a price you can actually afford.
White has really dominated the kitchen space for a long time now, so it's not surprising that you often see butcherblock countertops in white kitchens, but, as evidenced by this kitchen from Bolig, it can also look really striking with black.
Butcherblock has a lot of versatility. It's been used as a work surface in kitchens for a very long time, and it pairs equally well with traditional or modern styles. This country-style kitchen is from Hus & Hem.
Here's another example of butcherblock in a black and white kitchen, from The Brauns. The countertops are complemented by the matching open shelving.
In this detail of the same kitchen, you can see how, in the corners, the countertops are cut to meet at an angle.
In this U-shaped kitchen from Smitten Studio, the joint between the countertops is handled a little differently. Most butcherblock countertops come in lengths that are only 24" deep, which necessitates some kind of seam between adjoining pieces at the corners. Here, the countertop surrounding the sink is turned so the wood runs parallel to the counters on the long legs of the U, which makes the seam between the pieces almost invisible.
In this small kitchen from Ladny Dom, butcherblock covers the countertops, as well as forming a small wall-mounted bar that can also be used for workspace in a pinch.
In this photo from Elle Decoration, butcherblock adds a little warmth to a very dark, modern kitchen.
In this little kitchen from Stadshem, via My Domaine, butcherblock forms the countertop, as well as a small run of open shelves — and a little bit of wine storage between cabinets. Note how the countertops meet at the corners — here they simply abut at 90 degrees.
From Skona Hem: proof that butcherblock can work in a colorful kitchen, too.
In this kitchen from A Couple Cooks, butcherblock is paired with stainless open shelves (and stainless appliances). The countertops here display the 45 degree joints.
This kitchen from Wit & Delight combines butcherblock with engineered stone countertops (made to look like marble) for the best of both worlds.
This kitchen from Vogue has an island covered in endgrain butcherblock, which is particularly beautiful — and unlike regular butcherblock, unfortunately more expensive.
IKEA sells butcherblock in 74" and 98" lengths (all 25 5/8" wide) in varying woods, between $118 and $289. To the left, their BARKABODA herringbone pattern, which has a ⅛" top layer of solid walnut over particleboard, and is pre-treated with hard wax oil for protection.
For a remarkably low prices, you can pick up unfinished birch countertops at Menards in three sizes: 25"W x 96"L x 1.5"H ($141); 25"W x 48"L x 1.5"H ($71); and 36"W x 72"L x 1.5"H ($158), currently on sale with a mail-in rebate.
For $229 you can order a solid maple work top from Amazon, which measures 36 x 24 x 1.8 inches (which is smaller than the IKEA option). Although it's listed as workbench top, multiple reviewers mention that they make nice solid wood countertops as well, at a great price.
Home Depot also has solid birch countertops in a variety of sizes, which you can customize as needed. They come unfinished so you'll have to seal it with a kitchen-safe lacquer, then maintain with oil.
Curious about things like care and maintenance? The Kitchn has a great guide to everything you need to know about butcherblock countertops.