2019 Cabinet Trends: Alternative Surfaces

One of the fastest-growing trends in kitchen design is the use of wood alternatives for cabinets and shelving. While the wood-grain look is popular for any type of kitchen, the price point and upkeep leaves stained and painted wood products looking undesirable for many. Alternative surfaces like laminates, thermo-structured surfaces, and high-gloss coatings can give the visual effect of wood with higher durability and a lower price–but what do these terms really mean? Check out the 2019 Cabinet Trends and our guide to the basics of alternative surfaces to see if one of these lines is right for your kitchen.


Laminate is a general term for any alternative surface materials, whether wood-imitation or glossy styles. These surfaces are cheaper and easier to install than typical wood panels, and they also create cabinets that last longer, are less prone to discoloration, and can be cleaned more easily and less often. Conestoga’s standard line is known as Decorative Laminate Veneer, and offers prices as low as 55% under similar wood surfaces.

Thermo-Structured Surfaces

Many wood alternatives are created through a process called thermo-fusing, which creates a variety of customized patterns by merging decorative paper with composite panels. Conestoga’s thermo-structured surface (also called TSS) line uses this process to create two-sided panels, with a deeper impression and texture than normal laminates. These surfaces can imitate the appearance of wood without warping or fading, and require less upkeep and replacement than natural wood surfaces. Conestoga offers two TSS lines, with a wide variety of colors, patterns and sizes, which you can browse here.


High-gloss cabinets take thermo-fusing to the next level with three levels of coating on a laminate base. Rather than fusing this base with paper or vinyl, these materials create a glossy effect with UV lacquer and a glass-like material called PET-G. If you’re going for a classic vinyl look with your kitchen design, high-gloss cabinets also provide heat and chemical resistance that leaves them looking new for longer. Cabinetmaker’s Choice carries the Synchronicity line, which you can find on our website.

You can browse all the surface and finish options in Conestoga’s Alternative Materials here, and check out the new Vogue and Allure collections to see the different ways these surfaces can be used in traditional and contemporary kitchens alike.