Knock $500 or more off of the $2,500 average installed price of a granite countertop simply by choosing a square edge instead of a bullnose or other curved detail.
"The more complex the profile, the more grinding and polishing we have to do, sometimes by hand," says Rick Herrera, of Herrera Marble Design in the Los Angeles area.
A fancy Roman ogee could run $15 per linear foot more than a square, he says. Also avoid rare blue colors, which cost up to three times more than grays, whites, blacks, and earthy tones.
For small jobs, such as a kitchen island or bathroom vanity, proceed directly to the remnant area at your local stone yard. Scraps left over or rejected from big jobs often sell for half of what it would cost to slice the same-size section out of a virgin slab, including fabrication and installation, says Kirk Lytle, owner of Stonehenge Granite in Atlanta.
"Using a remnant piece, we can put granite in a powder room for about the same price as laminate," he says.
Just be sure to factor in standard cabinet depths--lengths can vary, but don't get anything shallower than 251/2 inches to top kitchen cabinets, or 221/2 inches for vanities.