Why Laminate Countertops Are Making a Big Comeback

Why Laminate Countertops Are Making a Big Comeback

Laminate is making a comeback! While some of us may cringe when we think of this countertop choice for the kitchen, it's changed a lot over the years. Now, you have tons of pattern and edge options to choose from, so you get the look you want really want, but still at a fraction of the price of other materials.

Countertops are a real focal point of your kitchen and change how your space feels — which is important for a room that is the heart of a home. Since laminate countertops really give you a wide variety of choice, you can put your kitchen counter dreams into action at a fairly low price.

Laminate Countertops of the Past

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

In the past, laminate was a low cost choice with limited appeal. Often made with bright colors, or very specific patterns (think the boomerang), they packed in a lot of personality, when in the right context. But, they definitely didn't work in a wide range of kitchens.

(But first, if you do like this retro look, you are in luck. Formica still makes a series of laminate that's a throwback to mid-century design, including a handsome crosshatch pattern available at Home Depot in a bunch of sizes.)

How They Look Today

(Image credit: Centsational Girl)

Moving on from the retro, you can now get laminate that replicates the look of granite, marble, and butcher block so closely that it's often impossible to tell the difference until you're close up. You also have a variety of finishes to choose from, including a satin sheen, matte, and textured.

It's also easy to find at common home remodel retailers such as The Home Depot and Lowes. For example, the marble pattern in Centsational Girl's kitchen is available from both Wilsonart and Formica at Home Depot, and is an affordable $16 per foot.

Even IKEA is getting in on the laminate countertop trend with many pattern options, including the white EKBACKEN aboe, priced $99 for just over 6 feet. They also have a dark "concrete" and marble options. Above, laminate in action in a Brooklyn office designed by Float Studios (formerly B Sherman Workshop). Also lead image above.

Why You Should Give Them a Second Look

(Image credit: Elizabeth Burns)

Laminate has many pros to consider when revamping your kitchen:

  • There are a variety of patterns that match just about any look, including natural stone.
  • You can also easily choose different edges to give your counters an eye catching detail that sets your kitchen apart. These also eliminate the tell-tale seam that usually nails laminate as laminate. Above, you can see a rounded edge in Elizabeth Burns' kitchen above.
  • Laminate can be cut to fit ton of different shapes, which is a great option if you have some wonky corners in your kitchen.
  • This material lets you stretch your remodel budget since it can be three or four times less expensive than marble or granite.
  • Once you have your laminate countertops installed, they are low maintenance since they don't need the frequent treatments natural material countertops require to stay in good shape.
  • Laminate is also easy to clean, which can make a difference when tidying up after cooking.
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