Choosing Countertops: Laminate

Budget-friendly laminate sheds its dowdy reputation thanks to new, stylish prints and patterns.
By: Alice Daniel
Wood Laminate Countertop

Wood Laminate Countertop

The light wood color found in the trim and ceiling is picked up again in the laminate countertop, which is durable and keeps the space feeling airy. A chrome faucet, stainless steel sink and galvanized aluminum backsplash reflect light around the kitchen.

Photo by: Don Hamilton Studio

Don Hamilton Studio

Once considered dowdy by designers, laminate has come a long way and is one of the best options for the budget conscious buyer. "I think it's a great product. There are some beautiful styles out now; you can't even tell they're laminate," says designer Jennifer Gilmer, of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath, Ltd. in Chevy Chase, Md. Known by its brand names – including Formica, Wilsonart and Nevamar — you can even install laminate yourself.

Design Tip:

Scratches tend to be more visible with dark colors. If you love a rich color, find a pattern that will help disguise scratches. The boomerang style looks great in a retro kitchen.

Maintenance:

Rinse after cleaning to avoid soap rings. Laminate is susceptible to heat and standing water. No sealing is required.

Cost:

$25-$60/lin. ft., installed.

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