This Material Is on the Brink of a Major Comeback, Says Leanne Ford
Her latest DIY project is proof.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 7:20 AM
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Like all great design trends of the past, Formica is poised for a comeback. The easy-to-clean material that once comprised almost every private and public countertop in America is in the middle of a renaissance, and guess what? It’s honestly more beautiful than ever. In lieu of pricey stone and granite, laminate is quickly becoming the It material for budget-conscious home renovators. Just ask designer and renovation expert Leanne Ford of HGTV’s Restored by the Fords, who collaborated with Formica on a curated capsule collection that launches this month. “I blame landlords for giving laminate a bad name,” Ford says with a grin. “There are really modern, clean options to play with outside what we think of.”
Aside from its obvious benefits—both affordable and nearly indestructible—today’s laminate designs are endlessly versatile, offering up a new material for almost any DIY project you can imagine. “My favorite perk is what I can make with it,” says Ford, who has been experimenting with styles and shapes that she says couldn’t be created with real marble or wood. Still need to be convinced? Just take a look at some of the remarkable designs.
In a deep, edgy black cut with stark white, Formica’s new Nero Marquina laminate design has the look of sexy black marble. “I see this as a dining table or coffee table,” she says. “I also love the idea of using this pattern as cabinet fronts.” Marbleized cabinetry? Yes, please.
The brushed-steel finishes found in the brand’s new DecoMetal line are great for bringing a cool, raw sensibility to spaces like the kitchen and bath. For a recent project, Ford paired one of her brushed aluminums with concrete. “It’s all about mixing elements together,” she says.
Just Like Leather
Made up of 70 percent recycled and reused leather pieces (castoffs from old cars and other large items), this leather veneer is not only a great example of upcycling, but its coffee-toned croc pattern also makes for a fashion-forward statement. Not to mention that it’s created with fewer seams for use on practically anything. Are you dreaming of a leather-drenched room yet?
Against the Grain
Most of us love the idea of butcher-block surfaces, but the maintenance kind of turns us off. As Ford puts it: “I’m more the kind of gal who rearranges furniture when I’m supposed to be cleaning the house.” Same. With Formica laminate in a wood-grain finish, skip the high-maintenance waxes and oils and simply wipe down with a cloth and cleaner.
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