Laminate Sheets: The Ultimate Guide

Laminate Sheets: The Ultimate Guide

Whether you are an architect looking to design a new building or someone who just wants to redesign the kitchen, you will have heard about the wonders of laminate sheets. 

From commercial buildings to residential homes, these wonderful surface solutions have the ability to save you money whilst providing thousands of different styles to choose from.

At Geaves Surfaces, we understand that laminate sheets - both high pressure laminates and melamine board - have a real impact on design. They can make or break any room. They are more popular than ever for both commercial and residential design and it’s easy to see why: they’re highly professional, extremely durable, effortlessly stylish and wonderfully economic. 

These premium quality surfaces can seamlessly suit any type of design. From retro and rustic to modern and minimal, this surface solution provides everything you need regardless of budget.

But what are laminate sheets and what do you need to know before you choose the right one? Well, due to their versatility and huge array of colours, designs and styles, there is a lot to understand about this innovative material. 

However, we are here to break this down into all of the possible options, from colour schemes to fittings and everything in-between.

This guide will cover everything you could possibly need to know about laminate surfaces to ensure that you can make a well-informed decision.

To jump to each section please click a chapter below:

 Budget for Laminate Surfaces

 Laminate Colours

 Natural-Looking Laminate Sheets

 Low Cost Laminate Sheets 

 Tile-Effect Laminate

 Bathroom Laminate

 Kitchen Laminate

 Breakfast Bar Laminate

 Commercial Laminate

Budget for Laminate Products

Let’s begin where all projects start; the budget. 

This will usually determine the scale of the project, the type of materials you can and can’t use as well as the style. You may not think that the budget would have a huge impact on the style but it's hugely influential. 

A lot of people who prefer the retro, vintage style would look to woodgrains to reflect the old and rustic trend - but simply can’t afford it. As such, they have to opt for a different style altogether in order to stay within budget.

Firstly, it’s crucial to plan out an appropriate and realistic budget. This ensures that you stick to what you can afford, as it’s very easy to rack up high costs when you don’t plan ahead. 

The good news is that due to the diverse selection of laminates available, there are plenty of options that suit all types of budgets. From cheap high-pressure laminate to expensive Lami Gloss melamine board, laminate surfaces provide you with the freedom and ability to achieve any type of style within any type of budget. 

Whether you have a large commercial budget for a retail development, or a smaller purse to simply redesign a bathroom, choosing to work with laminate sheets means you have the biggest selection of styles to choose from. All of which range in price and size.

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Laminate Colours

You might still be surprised to see just how many different colour options are available in laminate sheets. From the most modern shades to the more classic bolds, laminates have multiple shades of every colour to choose from.

An example of some brightly coloured laminates.

Although you might be spoiled for choice, there are some things to consider when deciding on colour, whether it’s for a large area or small space.

The Size

When approaching colour scheme, the first thing to consider is how big the room is. 

Colours have the ability to provide a room with a sense of space, but can also make a room seem smaller and more intimate. 

For example, if you have a small space in which you are working then avoid warm and dark colours, as these tend to make a room seem smaller by providing a cosy and homey feel. Instead, you may wish to try using lighter, natural colours - like beige's or a light oak. These bright and fresh colour laminates can really open up a room without the need to change the layout or furniture.

The Effect of Colours

Colours are arguably one of the most important design aspects of any building as they go hand-in-hand with whatever style you've finalised. 

However, a lot of us don’t consider the effect on our mind. Colours can not only impact the atmosphere of the room, but also evoke emotion, bring back memories and dramatically change our mood. 

The purpose of the room will determine the colour you choose, but it’s worth knowing that light colours like yellow and light grey provide a sense of happiness, optimism and fun. Whereas darker colours, like red and burgundy, deliver a feeling of love, comfort and warmth which might be better suited for a cosy coffee shop or romantic bar.

The Lighting

This might not be something you consider when choosing the laminate sheet colour, but it’s worth thinking about. The lighting throughout the day will change constantly, so checking a laminate sample in the morning when the sun is shining will look very different to the evening, when the room will be likely be lit through artificial lighting. 

Consider how much natural light floods into the room, how strong the artificial lighting is and whether or not you want the laminate material to reflect this or not.

Consider the Bigger Picture

Whether you are looking at high pressure laminate or melamine board for a large commercial space or a small residential room, it’s important to think about the bigger picture; the style and decor. 

Never choose the laminate without thinking of what colour and style the furniture will be, as these should complement one another to create a flow and style.

An example of different colour laminates

The colour you decide to go with can often be seen as a true reflection of your personality. Bubbly individuals might go with brighter colours, whilst more relaxed people will normally choose a more serene tone such as a warm brown or relaxing cream. 

It is also worth thinking about how this can add value to your property.

A strong and stylish laminate surface can add a lot of value to any commercial, retail or residential property. If you are considering selling the property in the future, then ask yourself if the colour you chose could potentially risk decreasing the value? 

Replacing a laminate surface is an expensive task, so this might turn potential buyers away.

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Natural-Looking Laminates

Commercial, retail and domestic designs can all benefit from a natural surface, whether it’s the warmth of rustic wood that you desire or the elegant beauty of stone, natural surfaces provide something truly special. 

However, these are often not a viable option. They can be expensive and in some cases impractical. The good news is that advancements in technology - the creation of high pressure laminate and melamine board - can now replicate the real thing at the lowest prices. Many can not tell the difference due to their seamless style, smooth surface area and fantastic durability.

If you are looking for the strength of stone or metal but cannot afford the high cost, then the laminate version is perfect for you. A lot of people tend to underestimate the strength and resistance of laminate products, but they can offer incredible strength thanks to the advanced heating method in which they are created. 

Geaves offer a range of natural-looking laminates, seen below:

These four styles of laminate sheeting cover every possible style you could need, from retro chic to modern minimalism and everything in-between.

minimalist laminate design

Example of minimalist laminate design

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Laminate Sheets - Lower Costs

It’s also important not to see laminates as something that people only use when they can’t afford the real thing. They are the cheaper option, yes, and can potentially save you thousands of pounds, but they are also often the more practical option. 

Even if you have a large budget, by investing in this surface solution you can save money to spend elsewhere on design. Spend it on the furniture, lighting or simply just trim the cost. Either way, the laminate option provides you with extra freedom to invest more time and money elsewhere. Cheaper laminate sheets are cheap in price, but not in design. They still maintain their style and class.

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Tile-Effect Laminate Sheets

The tile-effect laminate sheets option is a very popular choice for both commercial and residential buildings. One of the main reasons for this is how much cheaper it is than actual stone tiles. Thanks once again to the incredible advancements in laminate design technology, tile-effect laminates look identical to authentic stone or marble tiles.

In some cases, laminate tile sheeting is even better than the real material, as they boast astonishing durability and are less likely to crack and chip - unlike the real thing. Thanks to the choice in design, you can also have your tiles as high-gloss as you want.

They can also have the same kind of shine and glossy finish as regular marble tiles, too, which helps to create an extremely professional looking surface which suits all types of styles and designs.

Just like with regular tiles, there are many different tile-effect options to choose from. Here are a few examples:

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Bathroom Laminate

Bathroom laminate is another popular use of laminates thanks to their non-porous qualities, durability and elegant style. They are also fantastically hygienic, easy to clean and are perfectly at home in any type of bathroom. 

Having a surface in the bathroom that can easily be wiped clean, won’t stain and won’t chip is highly practical for family homes, bars, restaurants and other commercial properties. You can also arrange to have high gloss laminate where necessary.

If you are thinking of including bathroom laminate sheets then there are a few things to consider.

The first thing to consider is the size of the room. As bathrooms are generally smaller than most other rooms, it would be wise to go for a bright, fresh colour instead of a rich, dark colour. This will then help to provide the bathroom with a sense of space and not make it feel too small and cramped.

Another thing to consider when looking into bathroom laminates is the colour of your bathroom appliances. For example, if your bath tub and sink are both white, then don’t be afraid to be a little creative with the colour as they will work with most other shades. 

However, if you decide to go for something quite bright, such as a light oak, then make sure you have some other items in the room to compliment this colour. Even if it’s just towels, this extra injection of colour will offset the laminate perfectly and help to maintain a distinct style.

The final thing to consider here is what type of bathroom laminate surface you should choose.

Should you have a plain, patterned, textured or tiled design? Tiled and patterned products certainly look great, but suit a large bathroom better than a smaller one. If you decide to go with the wood effect or plain colour, then make sure your walls and appliances don’t clash as this can often get overlooked.

An example of how laminate can be used for a modern bathroom style Back to top

Laminate Kitchen Surfaces

Regardless of size or style, any type of kitchen can benefit from a new laminate surface thanks to the powerful impact they can have. Laminate kitchen sheets have the potential to breathe new life into any counter top.

From bold and striking colours to subtle and serene patterns, laminate kitchen surfaces are often the first thing someone will notice when walking into this particular area, so it’s important this is done right. 

However, it’s important you keep in mind the following things:

Kitchen layout – Straight runs are cheaper and easier to fit. However, if your kitchen is not straight, then seamless materials such as composites might be the better option if you have lots of corners.

Added costs – This can be avoided when having a professional team fit your laminate sheet, but always factor in possible hidden costs as if you are fitting it yourself then you could damage the kitchen appliances, floor or walls.

Consider depth – You will be surprised at how much the depth of your laminate will change the look of your kitchen. The standard thickness for this is 30mm, but thicker surfaces have become more popular recently for their bolder presence, rather than very fine sheets.

Daylight – How much daylight does your kitchen get a day? If the answer is a lot, then do you want a radiance finish  when the sun hits? High pressure laminate sheets and melamine board can already brighten up a room, so it's important to think about 

Function over fashion – It may seem a little obvious, especially in the kitchen, but it’s so easy to get carried away with beautiful glossy surface, when in reality a wood laminate sheet would be more practical.

An example of bold colour laminate to create this modern and stylish design

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Breakfast Bar Laminate

A breakfast bar is very common in most modern kitchens. They generally receive their fair share of appliances, crockery and other tools that may cause marks or stains. As such, it can be well worth investing in a laminate surface for your breakfast bar. 

For instance, you can bring the natural beauty of wood into your kitchen without having to pay the big prices. It's also more practical, as natural wood can scratch and chip easily if you are preparing food on it. Whereas a laminate surface will likely be a much greater, more hygienic investment. There are even self-adhesive laminating options for manual appliance.

An example of a laminate breakfast bar

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Commercial Laminates

As briefly mentioned earlier, architects and interior designers are using HPL and melamine board more and more thanks to its unique versatility and incredible economic value. 

It offers a cost-effective solution to the expensive natural materials. Therefore, laminate is fast becoming the number one choice for furnishing projects. You have the variety of options – high gloss, wooded, plastic laminate sheets etc. - that give designers the ultimate flexibility with their creative plan.

If you are currently working on a commercial building redesign and looking at surface options, then laminate products might be the perfect choice for you.

commercial laminate design

Example of commercial laminate design

Laminate sheets provide the designer with the freedom and materials to be able to create any type of style they want. Inexpensive, versatile and wonderfully practical, this surface solution has so much to offer that it's easy to see why it's fast becoming the number one choice for designers, architects and homeowners all over the world.

See more on why high pressure laminates can work in commercial design here.

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