Kitchen Design: Laminate Cabinet Guide

Why we love Today’s Laminates

It can be glossy and bright, or textured and subtle. Building kitchen cabinets with laminate offers limitless options, and Designers love that!. Laminate has been around a long time – it was developed in the United States in the early 1900s, and has been used in kitchens almost ever since.

1950s laminate cabinets

First, let talk about just what laminate is. This is not the same laminate Grandma had in her kitchen. The materials and technology are cutting edge.

There are 2 types of laminate used in furnishings, and each has advantages and limitations. Both are similar in their layered construction:


  1. LPL – Low Pressure Laminate, also called Melamine

If you have ever purchased those assemble-it-yourself bookshelves for your dorm or child’s room, then you have owned melamine furniture. The layers are fused together under low pressure (300-400 psi) and high heat (300-400 degrees). The final product ranges from 0.2 to 0.6 mm thick. Melamine is available in a myriad of colors and patterns, including the newest trend: textured.

  1. HPL – High Pressure Laminate

We know it best by the brand name Formica, though there are many laminate manufacturers. Compared to LPL, this material is manufactured using pressure over 1000 psi, and heat approaching 300 degrees. The final product is from 0.71 to 1.22 mm thick. Generally, the thicker the product, the costlier it will be.

Laminate is great in many ways. For starters, laminates are easy to maintain and in Consumer Reports’ tests of 14 materials, laminate resisted stains, heat, and impact almost as well as materials that cost much more.

Other qualities we love:

  • Non-porous, so it doesn’t absorb liquids
  • Resistant to impact and scratches
  • Durable
  • Resistant to heat, steam and humidity
  • Hygienic and easy to clean
  • Flammable only if it comes in direct contact with fire
  • Resistant to stains
  • It doesn’t attract dust
  • Cost effective

And then there are the colors and patterns and textures!! There are so many to choose from that we can compliment any color palette, in any application. From that contemporary ‘classic’ high-gloss white, to the modern textured wood looks, to dramatic metallics, to a rainbow of colors both new and retro, laminate is amazingly versatile.

If that isn’t enough, laminate can be custom printed!

If you would like to know more details, here is a great guide: