Countertop Series, Part 1 – Laminate

…and speaking of kitchens:

I got a comment from a reader named Claire the other day that inspired a series of posts about my favorite countertops. Her comment read:

After reading this post last night, I thought about your counter top decision and your style all day. What kind of countertops do you like? I have Formica countertops and need to replace them. I do not really love the look of granite and I can’t see spending that much on something I don’t like, just because other people do, on the off chance it would help me sell my house. I do not have a high end house. Just curious what you like. I love your style.

Since she mentioned laminate in her comment, I thought I’d start by talking about my favorite laminate countertops today.

I’m a big fan of black and white laminate countertops. I think white laminates look really great when paired with black kitchen cabinets:


Here’s a photo of a kitchen with black kitchen cabinets and white marble countertops:


I held up this (Wilsonart® HD® High Definition® Laminate) Carrara Santorini sample against some distressed black cabinets at Lowes so you could (kind of) see how easy it would be to replicate that look:


Especially because you can order them with a similar edge as the marble countertop above:


Here’s another photo I found that shows laminate with an Ogee edge:


Pretty sharp, huh? I definitely think any of the white colors above would be a lovely and cost effective alternative to marble or quartz if they’re not your style, or in the budget.

I also like black laminate on top of white cabinets.


I’m holding up Wilsonart‘s “Oiled Soapstone” in the photo below:


Here’s a photo of a kitchen that has white cabinets and (real) black soapstone countertops:



That’s another look that would be super easy to replicate with Oiled Soapstone laminate, and some black subway tile.

Last but not least, here’s one more photo I found online that shows how chic black and white (or light gray) laminate can look if you decide to go that route:


The only other thing I would add is that when you’re choosing laminates- I’ve read that matte finishes and lighter colors are better at hiding wear and tear. But if you do go with a darker color, just make sure it has a bit of a pattern on it, so that if it does get scratched, it won’t show as much. That said, Kevin and I have had (smooth, minimally patterned) laminate counters in all of our previous homes, and we don’t remember ever seeing any scratches on them- even after cutting things directly on them. (Shhhh!)

I’ll be back with a post about another one of my favorite types of countertops soon!

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Countertop Series, Part 2 - Concrete
Kitchen Cabinets

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  1. Claire says

    Eeeeek! I am just now seeing this and your series on countertops! I am tickled you do not disapprove of laminate. I think it just the best choice for my house. I had been leaning towards a black or charcoal laminate countertop to go with my white cabinets, open top cabinets (I took the doors off and painted the back to match the walls), and chalkboard wall. It’s affordable and practical and doable. Thank you for the series. I read every word!

  2. says

    Hi Layla,

    This past Fall we did a low budget reno on our tiny kitchen and used a product called Formica 180fx in Calacatta Marble. Our little 1600 sqft-er would not have upheld the value of anything besides laminate. So I convinced the hubby and our handyman that replacing laminate with updated laminate was, in fact, a good idea. Here’s the final product:

    Glad you mentioned laminate as an option, we love ours! As for resale value, our house recently sold in 7 hours… so there’s that. 😉

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