Remember when kitchen counters came in two patterns -- boomerang shapes on a solid background or gold glitter on white? Then came fake wood grains -- driftwood to walnut -- soon followed by plastic laminate kitchens, which were overtaken by all-white kitchens, which gave way to an explosion of color that has yet to end.

Metal cabinets are seeing a revival, as are real wood cabinets in natural tones with waterproof finishes. At the same time, however, plastic laminates are forging new design directions and are no longer relegated to kitchen counters and cabinets. Pictured here are just a few of the newer, higher-priced textures and tones.

The leather and slate textures come in several colors and although not as cold to the touch as slate, or as soft as leather, provide a credible substitute, even if the cost runs about 15 percent more. In response to the now popular lacquer look in furniture, a new line of glossy laminates has come out in designer shades, like this deep red lacquer surface. The lacquer-look laminate costs about 50 percent more than plain laminate.

A line of pin stripes and checks in designer shades brings the tailored look to furniture. It costs about 120 percent more than a white matte finish laminate.