The advantages of laminate in the kitchen

Rebecca Jones, marketing manager – UK, Ireland & Central Europe at Formica Group, explains the advantages of laminate in the kitchen environment.

With our changing lifestyles, we have seen the kitchen area evolve. It is the heart of the home, a space where people socialise and entertain. The kitchen is merging with other rooms in the house, and what has previously been a single purpose room has become the main social hub, with things traditionally found in the living area, like TVs and bookshelves, finding their way into this space.

Kitchen worktops, which have traditionally played just a practical role, are now looked at not only from the functional point of view, but also for their aesthetics, adding interest and character to the kitchen environment.

Laminate worktops, splashbacks and upstands fit the bill on all accounts. They are not only easy to clean and maintain, they are also cost-effective and offer an incredible variety of decors, allowing homemakers to create the kitchen of their dreams.

When choosing your kitchen worktop or accessories, aim for the ‘top end’ of the material selection that fits your budget – it guarantees quality and longevity. It is also worth considering factors such as:

Cost and durability
Laminate worktops offer a cost effective solution. They are hard-wearing, scratch resistant as well as heat and moisture resistant, providing you with a worktop that lasts.

Installation
Laminate worktops and accessories provide many advantages against heavy wood and stone worktops in terms of lifting, cutting and on-site installation.

Colour/texture/pattern
This is an obvious factor as the design needs to fit with the look and feel of the overall space. In an open living space, colours can visually unite the kitchen together with the dining and living area, or be used to create ‘zones’. Texture can be used to add depth to enhance a simple, monochrome colour palette. Laminate worktops have come a long way in terms of design development. Using innovative print technologies, some laminates can now replicate natural materials such as stone or wood at a fraction of the price of such materials.

Maintenance
Worktops generally come with care and maintenance information and should be followed carefully by the consumer. Wood for example is more high maintenance than laminate as it needs regular oil treatment. Laminate worktops and accessories are inherently hygienic and require minimal maintenance: they can simply be wiped clean with a damp cloth and a mild detergent. It’s important to keep these qualities in mind as other materials such as wood or stone are porous and can require special attention to keep up their appearance and ensure a high standard of hygiene.

Finishing touches
Upstands can be used to create clean, uncluttered lines between your wall and worktop for the perfect finish. Splashbacks are a stylish alternative to tiles in the kitchen and provide elegance and practicality for a coordinated look. Easy to install, laminate splashbacks can also be used in a creative way; while they are usually used above a worktop, they can be also used to clad the area underneath a breakfast bar, demonstrating the flexibility and versatility of laminate worktop’s design and application potential.

Besides their practicality and durability, laminate worktops and splashbacks allow homeowners to create a bespoke look by using contrasting and complementary designs on the breakfast bar to the worktop or by using feature splashbacks, and mixing and matching colours and textures. Surface textures are a stylish way to create depth and dimension when designing your dream kitchen. Current trends favour low-gloss textures for a subtle but dramatic statement. Distressed and rustic textures have also become more popular.

Eva Hoernisch, design manager – Europe, Formica Group, comments:

“After many years of all-white and neutral schemes, colour has returned to interior design. It is all about colour blocking. Today, in the kitchen sector, colour is more than just an accent; it is now mixed in with other materials like wood and metal for dramatic effect. Colour schemes combine warm neutrals with highlights in brighter tones. These are especially used for accessory products such as splashbacks. Minimal was yesterday – today everything is possible, it‘s a happy mix-and-match of patterns, colour, materials, styles, shapes and proportions.”