When it comes to new casework, whether for a front entry reception desk, back-of-the-house workroom, or even your kitchen countertops, we all love those hard surface countertops. The beautiful patterns of granites and marbles, or the depth and sparkle of quartz… even the simplicity and minimalism of some of those solid surface color options. Let’s face it though, budget doesn’t always allow for these materials and often we start looking at laminate.
But don’t feel like you’re settling for laminate. Laminate patterns and finishes have come such a long way from 30, 20, even 5 years ago! There’s some truly stunning options for laminate and if used in the right way can make a great impact in any space.
There’s some very convincing laminates out there that mimic the appearance of natural stone. Formica’s new 180fx laminate line has some remarkable patterns – Ferro Grafite, shown above, is just one of my favorites. Formica uses true-to-scale high res images to pull off that realistic look and the great thing about this line of laminate is the glossy finish that’s durable enough to be used on horizontal surfaces – a feature hard to find with other manufacturers.
Scandinavian, minimalist inspired interiors are trending in the residential world and are soon to follow in commercial, and we’re starting to see some soft-colored monochromatic wood laminates to compliment these schemes. From smoky gray tones to beautiful crisp blonds, laminates such as Formica’s Winter Sky Birchply or Danish Maple, are executed beautifully with such depth and detail of a smooth woodgrain finish.
Pattern, Pattern, Pattern
Laminates come in a vast array of patterns, but one of my favorites at the moment are the wood tile emulating patterns. Wood tiles come in a variety of shapes, colors, and textures and when used on a vertical plane, such as a wall niche or bar front, can make a great focal point. Though beautiful, wood tiles can get expensive and can be labor intensive depending on the pattern. Wilsonart has released a line of laminates that capture a similar movement and design of those wood tile applications. These patterns are bold, so a little can go a long way, so I suggest to use it sparingly.