In Praise of Laminate: Why You Should Give this Countertop Choice a Chance

In Praise of Laminate: Why You Should Give this Countertop Choice a Chance

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Nancy Mitchell
Oct 9, 2014
From Klikk via Planete Deco.
(Image credit: Klikk)

Laminate countertops get a bit of a bad rap. Before the Era of Granite, they were everywhere, but now laminate gets poo-pooed as the cheap choice, the one that you would only pick if you couldn't afford anything else. Laminate countertops have become the carnations of the kitchen world. But just as carnations can be surprisingly appealing, a laminate countertop, in the right kitchen, can be really beautiful. Here are three reasons to give this much-maligned material a chance.

A light and bright kitchen from My Old Country House.
(Image credit: My Old Country House)

1. It's budget-friendly.
The kitchen above, from My Old Country House, has a gorgeous marble countertop. Except that it doesn't. These countertops, although they look like stone, are actually a Formica patterned to look like Calacatta marble. The price for marble countertops in this kitchen would've been upwards of $5000 — the Formica came in at $850. That's a mere $14 a square foot. These homeowners chose to install the countertops themselves, but the installed price would've been only $30 a square foot, still quite wallet friendly.

A Formica countertop that looks like stone, from Places in the Home.
(Image credit: Places in the Home)

2. It's low-maintenance.
Two of the most popular choices for countertops right now are marble and butcher block, both of which require quite a bit of maintenance. Marble is notoriously finicky and can etch and stain if spills aren't cleaned up right away, and butcher block can stain and needs to be re-oiled periodically. What do you need to do to maintain your laminate countertop? Wipe it with a damp cloth every now and then. Perfect for lazy cooks like me.

A kitchen featuring laminate countertops from Martha Stewart.
(Image credit: Martha Stewart)

3. It's versatile and comes in a huge variety of finishes.
Whether you're looking for white or lime green or some kind of crazy retro pattern, laminate comes in a huge variety of finishes. If you can imagine it, you can probably make a countertop out of it. What's more, laminate can be cut into pretty much any shape and a huge variety of edge details. I like the detailing in this kitchen from Martha Stewart — the edges of this countertop are finished with a contrasting woodgrain pattern, which makes this kitchen just a little more interesting.

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