Laminates are versatile and innovative surfacing materials, that are manufactured by compressing layers of decorative paper and overlay under high pressure. They have a protective appliqué layer on top that can be textured, matte or glossy. Waterproof and very easy to maintain, laminates are available in a wide variety of colours, designs and textures.
Wondering how to use laminates to advantage in your home décor? Here’s a guide that will answer all your queries.
Features of Laminates
- Popular brands available include Sunmica, Greenlam, Durian, Century, Merina, Sundek
- Laminates are available in glossy, matte and textured finishes
- These decorative surfacing materials come in sheets of a standard size of 8’ x 4’. A few manufacturers offer custom sizes of sheets as well.
- They are available in a wide range of solid colours, digital prints and patterns, wood-finish and metallic prints.
- You can get pre-laminated MDF or plywood, but the finishes available are limited.
- Laminates are easy to clean and can be maintained with just regular dusting and wiping with a damp towel. If the surface is very dirty, you may need to use a mild cleaning agent or soap solution, but it’s best to avoid chemicals.
- Laminates are scratch-resistant (except when scored with a sharp instrument), and are durable.
- Edge band tapes are available to match the most common laminate colours.
- The edges of laminated surfaces are prone to chipping if not handled with care. This can look ugly after a period of time, as the substrate will show through, and such damage cannot be repaired.
- Laminate surfaces should be protected from direct sunlight and high humidity.
Where All Can You Use Laminates?
Laminates are durable, cost-effective and hard-wearing and as such as perfect for use in almost every area in your home. You can use laminates for making:
- Furniture such as tables, beds, sofas and entertainment units
- Kitchen cabinets and wardrobes, lofts, wall shelves in bathrooms, and other storage units
- Wall panelling and partitions
- False ceilings
- Laminate flooring
Do note that laminates used in kitchens and bathrooms should be of higher quality, as these rooms are subject to a lot of moisture and heat.
Pro Tip: Low-grade laminates can end up looking very plastic and tacky, and can diminish the appearance of your interior. Make your choices with caution and discretion!
How to Choose the Right Laminates?
Based on Usage
Select a laminate based on where it will be used. In the kitchen, while high gloss or textured laminates look very stylish, they are high on maintenance as they show up every fingerprint or stain. Matte laminates are easy to clean and do not show dirt easily. For high touch surfaces, matte laminates in darker shades are ideal, while light coloured laminates in high gloss finishes can be used in areas that are less frequently used.
Based on Your Budget
Decorative laminates can give you high quality looks at a fraction of the cost of real marble or solid wood. While they will never match up to the aesthetics of natural materials, they score higher on ease of maintenance and cost-effectiveness. Textured wood-finish laminates are often surprisingly hard to distinguish from the natural material, and can be only distinguished by the repetitions in the grain patterns.
Based on Your Décor Theme
High gloss laminates go very well with sleek, contemporary décor themes, while traditional patterns and prints would add interest to abstract, eclectic décor styles. You can always mix and match solid colours with wood grains to get a two-toned effect that is very popular in kitchens.
Pick your laminate colours and finishes based on the colour palette you have chosen. Keep in mind that light colours open up compact spaces, while dark shades tend to make a room look closed-in.
Pro tip: Always ask for a catalogue that has small samples affixed, and not just printed designs. A printed catalogue will not do justice to the actual finishes and textures of the laminate surface, and you could end up with swathes of material in a colour that you don’t even like!
Looking for more support with your home interiors? Whether you’re looking to refurbish your home or start on a brand new interior, the HomeLane team has got you covered. Check out our design books, or contact a HomeLane designer to co-create the interiors of your dreams!