Shopping for laminates for my home: Tips to take note of

I previously shared about the defect checking process after I collected keys to my new apartment.

While I was busy filing defects for rectification, I was also planning the design of my home with my interior designer concurrently. This helps ease the renovation process slightly as renovation works can begin as soon as defects rectification is complete, without any unnecessary delays. It is advisable to start looking for an interior designer (if you choose to work with one) early — before you even collect your keys — as this allows more time for exchange of design ideas, editing and approving of renderings, choosing of materials etc. 

Speaking of choosing of materials, I'll focus on how I chose the laminates for the cabinetry in my home in this post.

The first design renders I saw of my apartment were accompanied with a selection of laminate swatches, which my interior designer had shared. There were finishes and colours that I had wanted to change up but looking at these A4-sized samples didn't cut it — visualising the textures especially wood-look knots on certain laminate designs we had chosen was rather challenging.

It was essential to see the laminate in its entirety. I wanted to have a comprehensive view of what the laminate would look like as a large, full-height panel that I'll clad my cabinets with. Doing so will also help ease the discussion process with my interior designer as I'll have a better idea too about my personal preferences in the overall aesthetics.

Of course, I paid a visit to laminate showrooms Lamitak and EDL. With their extensive collection and range of full-sized panels, I was able to pull out different designs I had chosen and compare them side by side at each showroom.

Surely, that made the selection process much easier. Evidently from the pictures above, I was able to see and feel the textures, grains and the size of the wood-look knots.

I was also able to see a range of colours of similar designs, and that helped hasten the process further.

After reviewing the options, the next step was to take the swatches and put them under different lighting conditions to see how they will look in the day (under natural light) and at night (under warm-white light).

Yes, they do look very different.

(I made a switch to the piece on the left in this picture above, so focus on the grey laminate and the right wood-look piece for before/after comparision)

Don't be afraid to ask your interior designer or the laminate specialists in store for help if you're not sure how you should pair colours and textures. They would have the expertise to best advise you.

Once you've finalised your selection, remember to ask for sample of swatches so that you can take them along with you for the next step of your renovation journey — matching these finishes with other accessories in the home, including curtains and soft furnishings.

I spent a good two hours at each showroom comparing options, pairing and testing selections under light, so be sure to give yourself ample time when you're shopping for laminates. The last thing you'd want is to rush through the whole process. Enjoy the renovation journey, and reap the fruits of your labour when your beautiful home design comes together eventually.