If you are overwhelmed by the sheer variety of material choices for your kitchen cabinetry, you are not alone. Many of our customers opt for high-quality laminate finishes, which look great in a contemporary décor setting. Having decided on a laminate finished kitchen, here are the things you should keep in mind when making your final selection.
Choose the Colours with Care
Remember, the colours you pick will play a large part in the overall aesthetics of your kitchen, so take your time and make the right choice. That stunning red that you loved in your friend’s spacious house could very well make your tiny kitchen look even smaller. Make your colour selection based on the size of the room, the amount of natural light that’s available, your style of cooking and your taste, of course. Remember, white and light colours make a room look larger but are also more challenging to keep clean. Also, remember that scratches are far more visible on dark rather than on light surfaces.
Opt for High-Pressure Laminates
High-pressure laminates are bonded to the substrate at very high pressure and temperature. They are much more durable than low-pressure laminates. This is especially important in the kitchen as all surfaces must be able to withstand moisture and heat. These laminates are typically 0.7 to 1.22 mm in thickness. Having said that, even when using a high-pressure laminate, prolonged exposure to water and dampness is not advised.
Flame-Resistant and Anti-Bacterial Laminates
To ensure durability and hygiene, do check to ensure that the brands you choose have flame-resistant and anti-bacterial properties. Flame-resistant surfaces do not catch fire easily. They are also more resistant to smoke and heat. Anti-bacterial surfaces discourage the growth of germs and bacteria, which is a huge plus anywhere in your home.
Edge Banding for Laminates
Regardless of the laminate, you choose for your modular kitchen, your cabinetry will usually have an edge banded finish. Edge bands are thin strips of laminate used to finish the exposed sides of your shutters, giving a neat look as well as adding to the dimensional stability of your shutters. The edge band seals in the surfaces of the shutters, protecting the core materials from humidity. The edge band laminate strip is picked to match the thickness and colour of the shutter.
Which Surface Finish is Best?
There are various kinds of finishes available. To help you narrow down your choices, here’s the lowdown on each of them.
High Gloss Finish
High gloss finished laminate, as the name indicates, has a polished surface that is almost as reflective as a mirror. If you use lighter colours, your cabinets will bounce around the light and make your kitchen appear brighter than it is. However, if you don’t have the time to keep cleaning, don’t opt for this finish; it is high maintenance, requiring regular cleaning with a spray, as even fingerprints show up easily. These surfaces will also show up scratches easily, which means careful handling is crucial.
Matte-finished laminates are medium reflective and easier to keep clean than high gloss surfaces. They are functional, durable and do not show scratches or dirt very easily. The inside cabinets and drawers are usually finished with a matte laminate. You can opt for a thicker laminate, at least 1 mm thick, on the outside as well.
Laminates with textured finishes are available that closely resemble the appearance and grains of real wood surfaces, making your kitchen look like it has been finished in natural wood. You can also choose ribbed and dotted textures and leather finishes. Do keep in mind that textured surfaces can trap oil and dust, and will need to be wiped with soapy water at least once a month to prevent the build-up of dirt. These laminates are very durable and do not show up scratches or dirt easily (all the more reason to schedule a regular cleaning.)
All of us have seen and love the peppy colours that some kitchens come in; bright yellow, green, blue and red being popular colour choices. If you like this style, choose shades that complement each other and add vibrancy to your room. There’s a whole spectrum of shades to choose from, so do try off-beat colours that suit your personality. Solid colour laminates are available in both glossy and matte finish.
Laminates are also available in metal finishes like stainless steel, brushed steel, silver, gold and copper tones. These are considerably more expensive than other laminate options but when used judiciously, impart a richness to your kitchen that makes the extra cost worthwhile. Steel and white, or a warm wood finish and copper, are lovely combinations. Play around with the shades until you find a combination that you like.
Do remember that you can mix and match the surface finishes as well. You can opt for a dual-tone kitchen that combines colours and finishes, or even laminate shutters juxtaposed with glass. The cabinets below the counter could be in a darker colour that does not show up dirt. While the ones above the counter could be in glass or a lighter colour, or even a mix of both. Confused? Our designers can work with your kitchen size and preferences and show you 3D images of how your finished kitchen will look to help you make your choice.