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Formica Decision Help

Christina
last month

Decided to use Formica in our kitchen for at least a few years due to all the other expenses with our fixer upper. I wanted something a little different and not too classic looking. Our walls are Behr frost, upper cabinets will be IKEA white Ringhult gloss and bottom cabinets will be Askersund. I took these pictures in the only room that has the floor and paint so far. The kitchen is galley style, no walls on either end and both sides of the galley are open to the living room and another room that's pretty much going to be a sitting area. It's odd I know, we don't have a lot of uppers so that's why I want white to kind of blend in more but the counters will be seen everywhere and there will be bar stools on the larger living room side. My style is Scandinavian, Mid Century Modern but less walnut and more light woods. I've gotten just about every sample from Formica and Wilsonart and I really like Quartz Composite but no one else seems to. My husband liked some of the black samples for contrast and we both comprised on Watercolor Steel. Baseboards and doors and doorways will be Behr Silver City. We have some grey samples that looked okay but looked off with Silver City and I'd rather keep the same trim color. Sorry I can't post more pictures of the house, the layout is changing, everything hasn't been painted yet and our furniture is all over the place and we're getting some new items. First two pictures are of Quartz Composite, other two are of Watercolor Steel. Our appliances are all stainless steel if that makes a different. Any thoughts are appreciated.

Comments (54)

  • Christina
    Original Author
    last month

    June- I see what you're saying. I don't think I could bring myself to have it that retro, though I know most people were horrified with my first choice 😂 I honestly didn't even know it was based off a real quartz, I thought both choices were so obviously not trying to look like real stone but apparently I was wrong.

  • Wildcat Blue
    last month

    Of the two you’ve shown I vote for the darker one. Good luck!

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  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    last month
    last modified: last month

    if you can DIY, look into doing the Ardex cement countertops.

    or, why not go w/the wood butcher block countertops? they aren't that expensive and would fit into your design




    this Ikea Barkaboda (walnut) would be pretty. it's less than $300 and much better looking than formica. and you can cut it yourself if need be.


  • Christina
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks for the suggestions, Beth. I'll look into Ardex. We watched some YouTube videos on doing full cement countertops and considered that for a while but didn't look too much into upkeep. We had butcherblock at the last house, bought a maple one fron Lumber Liquidators and cut it but we definitely had to baby it because we didn't seal it and just oiled it. It's a very pretty look but I'm walking a fine line with rustic I feel because of the floors so all the other woods I'm bringing in are going to be closer to the Askersund color, light and ashy.

  • HU-187528210
    last month

    I vote cement!! If your doing diy

  • calidesign
    last month

    I'd choose a laminate that has some subtle variation, like the backgrounds of your lighter option, but without the strong veining.

  • tozmo1
    last month

    I like the second one. It looks like a watercolor painting.

  • HU-187528210
    last month

    Agreed. If your picking of the two Formica I would go with the second as well

  • parasol1
    last month

    Hi Christina! Way to go with the laminate countertops! Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about them. Have you considered using the laminate IKEA offers? The Ekbacken dark or light concrete look ones are both really cool looking and they have a nice texture. Either one would look good with Ringhult/Askersund. They also make an ash effect Ekbacken that matches Askersund that you might like.

    They come in 74” and 98” lengths, so if that’s long enough for you I’d highly recommend them over DIY laminate or even custom laminate because the edges are finished in a really nice way that eliminates that ugly black seam. They’re also very inexpensive!

    I looked at tons of laminates from a few different companies and found some really cool modern designs that don’t mimic stone. I’ll try to take a look through my samples tomorrow to see if there are any I could suggest.

  • Christina
    Original Author
    last month

    June- Very good and informative post, thanks for sharing that!

    Parosol- I'd appreciate it! I did look at IKEA's tops, I really like them but I need 12ft and 5ft wide on one side.

    I've ordered more samples from Formica and Wilsonart (I'm surprised they haven't just mailed me a bag of dog sh-- considering how many I've ordered) in the grey family. I originally wanted grey but it's very hard finding one in the right hue. So far out of the samples I have I do like Pietra Grafite, it's got enough variation to where it will match my trim.

  • apple_pie_order
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Ikea's countertops, including the one suggested by Beth H., are likely to be plug and play for quick installation. Choose a warm color or a bright color for the best look with your other choices. The blue-grays and true grays look out of place with your other choices.


    https://www.ikea.com/us/en/cat/kitchen-countertops-24264

  • crcollins1_gw
    last month

    I agree with not using this as a stop gap but embrace the laminate and plan for it to last 20 years, because it will if you don't cut on it or set a hot pot on it. I had laminate in last house on our perimeter counters and it was so easy to clean and I loved the bright retro pattern I chose. I also am not a fan of laminate trying to look like stone or wood. I like the Pietra better than your first two choices by a mile. Out of the other million samples you've ordered, are there any lighter colors that have a very subtle pattern to them? What others have you considered?

  • ILoveMod
    last month
    last modified: last month

    another vote for no to #1. I actually kind of like #2 though, it's pretty in the picture (no idea how it looks IRL, and that's the biggest risk). as for the Pietra sample you just posted, that might look the best of all of your choices, but it's super hard to tell. honestly, I would not make any purchase without seeing a large display of it in real life. it's just so difficult to really tell from sample pieces and online photos.

    my suggestion? if you like the scandanavian look, get plain formica in white or off white with no pattern at all. it's a very crisp look.

  • Christina
    Original Author
    last month

    Crcollins- All of them are granite, concrete, soapstone, marble, quartz looking. I got the black one shown in the picture that's basically charcoal watercolor look which is the most unrealistic one I have. I have issues with all of the Calacata ones because they're just very off white looking but not in a good way compared to my walls and upper cabinets, they just look dusty or dingy. There's a few others that are more monotone but they're the wrong tone, too yellow or too blue.

    ILoveMod- My mom has a ton of white samples I sent her so I'll probably take them when I visit for Thanksgiving, I also considered a soft, warm off white color for the tops AFTER I placed the last order of course so I'll just wait until I see her and bring them home.

    Does anyone know if Formica's Ideal Edge only comes in the 180FX collection?

  • Christina
    Original Author
    last month

    I can take some pictures of the samples after work, I've got a box full of them in case anyone wants to see some options and get any ideas but I'll just leave out the ones I won't consider like Dolce Vita which I just got out of curiosity. There were a couple that would look okay but I would need to change the trim color to warmer color, I'm open to it just not thrilled to change it.

  • ILoveMod
    last month
    last modified: last month

    oh also, I saw that you're doing the lamination yourself? that's awesome! a suggestion: allow the plywood edge to show. it's a look I personally LOVE and want to do in my own kitchen. I feel like it's just about the coolest way to deal with laminate edges in a modern space. instructions here.





  • shwshw
    last month

    I have 25 year old white laminate counter tops. I think they still look good. I would get laminate again. Looking forward to seeing what you choose.

  • Christina
    Original Author
    last month

    ILoveMod, I never would have thought of that, it looks really cool!

  • Christina
    Original Author
    last month

    Listed left to right:
    Ferro Grafite - Formica
    Pierra Grafite - Formica
    Pearl Soapstone - Wilsonart
    Pearl Sequoia - Wilsonart
    Calacatta Marble - Formica
    Serrania - Wilsonart
    Cote D'azur - Wilsonart

  • HU-187528210
    last month

    They’re all very nice. I think I like the third from the right the best.

  • Design Girl
    last month

    I like the Calacatta Marble from Formica the best. Looks nice with the paint and floor.

  • Christina
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you guys, my sister and husband both liked the white marble samples as well but I'm so neurotic about matching whites. I'm already overwhelmed with the white paint, white uppers, white backsplash and not looking forward to finding white drapes that I feel will "match". I do have to do white backsplash because I'll hardly have any walls so any splash of color will just look weird on a tiny area. It's really hard to tell in the picture but that Formica Calacatta Marble has a very greyish base to it but doesn't look grey, just compared to the walls and Ringhult door. I'm also worried the marble ones will look too classic in the kitchen which I'm trying to keep Modern and Scandinavian. I'll have to give it some more thought, though.

    You'll all be glad I've nixed the first one in the post lol

  • HU-187528210
    last month

    @christina remember that for the hardware you can bring in a lot of style. So I think it’ll balance off all that white.
    It’s all gonna turn out beautiful!! No sweat lol. I’m excited for you guys

  • Christina
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you! I'm excited to get this house in order. We've had homes that needed work but this is another level. My kitchen is currently in 1972, had the old contact paper still on the shelves and all and currently still using a brown double wall oven.

  • HU-187528210
    last month

    Omgg lolllll!! Time for a change!! Sounds soo cool and vintage tho! Grandma chic vibes

  • njmomma
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I had the Pierra Grafite - Formica at one point in my life with white cabinets.

    I love it!!!

    Then I moved.

  • herbflavor
    last month

    pierra grafite is my fave

  • Christina
    Original Author
    last month

    Not even chic grandma, just grandma kitchen who never updated and never got things fixed when they broke lol

    Pietra Grafite is number one for me so far but I'm still trying to figure out if I want my counters to pop or just be there and blend.

  • calidesign
    last month

    The Grafite looks okay, but I wouldn't limit your selections to gray. You could try a light taupe/beige color that is similar to your molding color. That would also be more in line with your MCM and Scandinavian style.

  • Missi (4b IA)
    last month

    We got Formica for our redo. I wanted white solid surface, dislike a swirly/splotchy look, and then randomly found a swirl/splotchy that I really liked. (River Gold)


    With so much white, I would want to add something more than more gray/white. Dont know what exactly, tho.

  • Christina
    Original Author
    last month

    calidesign - that's not molding that's the Askersund drawer lol I bought a small piece to make sure I'd look okay with my floors.

    Missi - Yeah my husband really wants something bold. I ordered a Wilsonart sample of oiled soapstone (black) so we'll see. I also like nero marquina by Formica, it's soo 80s though and no one else likes it lol River Gold is very pretty. I think I'm trying to stay away from patterns that have too much single directional flow since my floors and the lower cabinets will be doing that if that makes sense.

  • HU-187528210
    last month

    Lolll!!
    And yes I think I agree about the countertop flow... 👌👌

  • Christina
    Original Author
    last month

    Also, I've always been so against black countertops but I find myself drawn to charcoal and black countertops 😫

  • parasol1
    last month

    Pietra Grafite looks pretty. I’m assuming you’ve seen all of the concrete looks out there? The first pic shows a few from my collection :)

    Or for something very different... would you be interested in any of the patterns in the second photo?

  • HU-187528210
    last month

    Lol styles and tastes change. Mine recently did loll

  • Christina
    Original Author
    last month

    I have not seen all of them. What brand are those? Could you tell me the names of the ones I put a dot on please?

  • parasol1
    last month

    All are Wilsonart.
    Top three dots are Hale St. Concrete, Honed Concrete, and Milwaukee Jct. Zinc.
    Middle two are Mack Ave. Concrete, Detroit Concrete
    Bottom is Dubois St. Concrete

    Cookies & Cream by Pionite (small sample) and Elemental Concrete by Formica (large sample) are two another greys you might like. If you have a Menard’s near you it might be worth checking out their online countertop tool to find out the cost of having them made for you.

  • kathiebartel
    last month

    Pearl Soapstone

  • Christina
    Original Author
    last month

    Nice! Thanks parasol! I did look at Pionite's website but they hardly had any samples to order so i think I got 3 but can't remember the names.

  • Dawn Martinez
    last month
    last modified: last month


    Heirloom - Refined Grace with a touch of Glamour · More Info



    Industrial Kitchen · More Info


    Am liking the idea of a darker laminate...

    Mid-Century Modern Makeover · More Info


  • Christina
    Original Author
    last month

    Dawn - Me too! Gives it a sleek feel. I ordered some black and charcoal samples so hopefully I'll get them by the end of the week.

  • Dawn Martinez
    last month

    Post when you get the samples, it's fun to watch the process @Christina

  • Christina
    Original Author
    last month

    I will Dawn! Some may be terrible, it's hard to tell from pictures online lol

  • starterhouse
    last month

    Following

  • Christina
    Original Author
    last month

    Okay, bit of an update. All but the last Formica samples have come in. I ordered from Wilsonart and Panaolam aka Nevamar and Pionite. Most are awful but I've narrowed it down to four so far.

    Left to right is:
    Watercolor Steel - Formica
    White Painted Marble - Formica
    Pietra Grafite - Formica
    Chalk Imperiale Marble - Pionite

    Now, all of the Formica ones are satin finish which I really like, the Pionite one is a slightly textured matte finish. I keep changing my pattern preference depending on my mood. I like that the Watercolor Steel is dramatic but I would need to add some charcoal accents in my house to make it work. White Painted Marble has a really nice creaminess like the Chalk Imperiale marble but my sample has a lot of that oil spot in the print so I ordered some more last week to try to piece it together a bit and they should be here soon. Pietra Grafite is really nice and probably goes best with the rest of the house but I would also consider it the safest. I think I prefer the Chalk Imperiale Marble print and colors the most but the finish is so bleh. I'm considering buying a sheet and just using it in my guest bathroom if I don't use it in the kitchen because that bathroom has a custom built in vanity in an alcove.

    What do you guys think? I appreciate all of you hanging in there with me through this! Last pic is of the box I currently have of samples, it's not even all of them 😖 sorry Formica and Wilsonart!

  • Christina
    Original Author
    last month

    I can really only find manufacturer's pictures as examples, still in order of Watercolor Steel, White Painted Marble, Pietra Grafite and. Chalk Imperiale Marble.

  • Christina
    Original Author
    last month

    Oh, one more I forgot I'm considering is Istanbul Marble by Formica in Scovato texture. More samples of it are on the way. I like that it's dramatic but it's really hard to tell if it will go well in my house, some pictures it looks more subdued others look to have a lot of orange/rust color and more brown than grey. Husband's not much of a fan and it's not at the top of my list currently.

  • calidesign
    last month

    You first need to decide whether you like a light or dark countertop. Either can work in your case, but it will give the room a completely different feel. Personally, I hate working on dark counters. Once you decide on light or dark, your choices will be more clear. Of the light options, consider what colors you like to decorate with in adjacent rooms. A more white option gives you the ability to use any wall color, and coordinate with warmer tones nearby. Grayer countertops may limit your other options, and imo runs the risk of looking dated faster. I would stay away from the brown/gray option above and keep it simple, whatever color you choose.

  • Christina
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks Calidesign! That makes sense. I'm hoping to narrow it down to 3 and then display each one in my kitchen for a couple days independently and see if I gravitate towards one, it's easy to get in your head when there's so many options and appreciate people here keeping me grounded!