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Cabinent Material Trends Blend Realism And Durability


When Thermally Fused Laminate (TFL) first appeared in the interior design world 25 years ago, the low-cost white, almond or gray decorative panels did not score points for aesthetic value. Developed as an efficient and durable alternative to High Pressure Laminate (HPL), the Melamine-infused panels were designed for form over function. A staple of student furniture, closet organizers and cabinet interiors, TFL screamed neither luxury nor craftsmanship.

An improved process of marrying the composite wood core to high-quality décor paper has since led to a growing spectrum of colors and realistic textures available, prompting apartment owners to look to TFL as an affordable, long-lasting way to include high-quality, attractive cabinetry in their units. These newer panels represent a growing movement toward accurately imitating real-life materials that would otherwise require expensive upkeep.


Maintaining pricey — and fragile — veneers like wood is neither appealing to residents looking for durability, nor to owners who are concerned about both their return on investment and lasting unit appeal. By using steel press plates that emboss a textured pattern overlay, modern TFL panels allow for heightened realism of wood grain and stone textures. The wide range of pattern choices has also sparked a trend in distressed or reclaimed wood overlays. Apartment owners can have the look of rare wood or minerals on their cabinets without the environmental impact, and TFL is scratch, stain, water and impact resistant, making it perfect for apartments that are meant to be lived in.

Anti-fingerprint surfaces have also grown in popularity, a feature of ultra matte acrylic panels. The smoother, opaque lacquer absorbs light reflection, creating a soft appearance and touch. Ultra matte acrylic panels have a contemporary feel ideal for kitchen, bathroom and storage cabinets, and the color options go beyond a traditional monochromatic palette. Like Melamine, these panels are resistant to heat, water and discoloration, as well as domestic cleaning products. Apartment owners have looked to ultra matte acrylic for a decorative panel that is both flawless and timeless and have used this material alongside TFL panels, complementing horizontal wood grain with bold, matte color.


For ultrarealism, Rigid Thermofoil (RTF) cabinets combine the wood grain textures of TFL panels with the option of bonding patterns to a wide variety of shapes. Cabinets can have a European feel, with intricate curves and ridges that look like actual carpentry or painted doors.

Multi-Housing Depot is at the cutting edge of all these trends, offering craftsmanship that makes a lasting impact on multifamily units in both quality and aesthetic. Apartment owners can look to Multi-Housing Depot as a partner in transforming their properties into comfortable, livable and unique spaces, without breaking the bank.

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