The New Look of Laminate

Don’t know who’s more excited about this trend–Mom or me. Mom’s been into laminate since the Sixties when our kitchen, like others on the block, got outfitted with a groovy laminate countertop. And although I could always see why she loved its durability and easy-care, I stayed somewhat less than impressed with laminate’s suburban mom styling.

Until now. I can’t get this ‘Blue Malachite’ laminate countertop by Jonathan Adler out of my head. Hands-down, this is the coolest countertop (laminate or otherwise) I’ve seen in years.

Adler’s first team-up with Formica®  is getting lots of buzz. It’s easy to see why.

Like ‘Orange Lacquered Linen’ (one of nine color and pattern combinations in the line), all of the laminates in Adler’s collection are design-driven. They’re hip, haute and the hottest thing going. And they look just as gorgeous when installed in less conventional ways like as a backsplash or as a veneer that gives cabinetry, a vanity, a desk or a folding screen some stylish lift. Best of all, designer laminates like these are affordable ways for anyone to add instant zing without breaking the bank.

Despite my self-professed obsession, Jonathan Adler’s collection isn’t the only laminate lovely to turn my head.

Wilsonart’s laminate continues to earn its seat at the table–quite literally. Top picks from their Laminate Chair Competition between college students (Samantha Lilly of Appalachian State University is shown here in her winning chair) were recently showcased at the 2015 International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York. Sure, these are extreme laminate applications but they illustrate well how versatile laminate is when you think outside the box.

Today’s laminate really does offer something for everyone.

‘Tuxedo Houndstooth’ is a preppy menswear look. ‘Big City’ is urban cool. And ‘Basketballs’ bounces high in sporty style.

With realistic veining and thick beveled edges, ‘Calcutta Marble’ is a rock solid lookalike.

Love granite but not the water spots, dust and fingerprints that show up so easily? ‘Cosmos Granite’  laminate delivers the luxe look in a more pristine way.

Laminate flooring is also in the style spotlight for its masterful mix of design, durability and easy care attributes. Mannington has one of the most interesting line-ups in the biz right now.

With its textured surface and natural color variations, ‘Mojave Slate’ looks amazingly like the real thing. A rustic, refined wood look, ‘Treeline Oak’ has rich graining, irregular bevel and contrasting color play from plank to plank. A particular stand-out is ‘Riviera Teak’.  It comes in 8″ wide planks and has the authentic color and grain pattern found in exotic teak.

Once I started looking, I was surprised to see all that laminate offers. To that, my mom said, “Told you so.”

To you, I say this. Whether you’re looking for a new countertop, backsplash or floor, now’s the time to take the laminate leap. You’ll be glad you did.