15 Lustrous Kitchens That Make Smart Use of Laminate Cabinets
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15 Lustrous Kitchens That Make Smart Use of Laminate Cabinets

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
Budget-friendly and versatile, laminate is a popular choice for kitchen cabinets.

The right combination of kitchen cabinet and countertop materials can create an upscale vibe without busting the budget. Considering major factors like durability, aesthetics, and cost, laminate kitchen cabinets offer a lot of bang for your buck: laminate is relative inexpensive, comes in a wide range of styles and colors, and quality-wise, holds its own compared to wood cabinets.

"In my Alpine Noir project, we used laminate kitchen cabinets because of the ease of maintenance and cost savings," explains interior designer Casey Keasler of Casework. The vintage Moroccan checkerboard runner is from Kat + Maouche.

Laminate, a synthetic material fused to particleboard (compressed wood), comes in high-pressure and low-pressure varieties. High-pressure laminates (HPLs), like Formica and Pionite, are higher quality and come in a wider range of color options. High-design brands like Reform and Henrybuilt also offer some beautiful HPL options. Low-pressure laminates, like melamine, are less durable.

"I use laminate cabinets as a less expensive option [compared] to custom wood cabinets from time to time," explains interior designer Casey Keasler of Casework. Keasler also points out that laminate kitchen cabinets are also easy to clean and maintain: "I don't recommend laminates as a countertop surface in a kitchen—but as cabinet fronts, they are perfect."

The design of this Australian houseboat features a soft, modern color palette. Here, light sage laminate kitchen cabinets are paired with leather recessed pulls.

However, laminate cabinet fronts don’t lend themselves to some styles. As Keasler points out, "The edges need to be finished if you want a seamless look, which makes it more difficult to achieve a more traditional or detailed cabinet front." Laminate can also suffer heat or water damage, and chips can be difficult to repair.

Another consideration is your kitchen’s long-term value.  Kitchen cabinetry can take up a significant part of your new-build or renovation budget, and installation expenses are the same no matter what type of cabinets you choose, so it may be worth it to consider the highest-quality cabinetry that you can afford in the long run. However, if you need to keep costs down—because we all know how renovation costs can quickly skyrocket beyond even the most realistic quotations—it is definitely worthwhile to consider laminates. Here, we round up some of our favorite laminate looks that break outdated stereotypes. 

Here, laminate kitchen cabinets are topped with Corian in Glacier White for a fresh and fun colorblocked look.

A dark concrete countertop is paired with blue laminate cabinets in architect Janet Bloomberg’s kitchen.

This remodeled kitchen features Silestone countertops and backsplashes paired wood cabinetry with laminates.

These custom laminate kitchen cabinets—built by local manufacturer Beech Tree Woodworks— add a pop of color to this Seattle kitchen.
Photo by Rafael Soldi

For this kitchen, the architects paired slate-gray HPL (high-pressure laminate) cabinets by Henrybuilt, cool Basaltina countertops, with custom shelving and a white Corian backsplash. 

Builder Jason Miars fabricated the walnut-paneled walls and kitchen cabinetry, which is accented by stainless-steel Linnea drawer pulls.

Some laminate cabinets offer the sleek appearance of wood at a fraction of the cost. 

This kitchen features a sleek Henrybuilt kitchen system in white.

This kitchen features a high-low mix of marble paired with laminate cabinetry by Lignum Cabinets.

The entire kitchen wall by Lignum Cabinets is made from laminates and features functional peg board-like shelving above the sink, allowing it to be customized to the homeowner's needs.

This open kitchen is fitted with black granite counters, a ceramic backsplash, and melamine cabinetry, which is a type of laminate.

This lovely kitchen features laminate cabinets by Danish brand Reform.

White laminate cabinets are the perfect solution to keep costs down for the small, open kitchen in this Madrid apartment.

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