Global Inspired – Design Tricks to Get that European Look

When looking around the globe for design inspiration, Europe is ripe with ideas to borrow. Its long-lasting influences, timelessness, and ability to complement many different architectural styles make it a favorite among interior designers and architects.

However, the thing with a “European” look is that it is not just one style. You must first decide if the countryside elegance found in corners of Sweden, the hills of Switzerland, lush Tuscany, or fragrant Provence is what you want. Or perhaps, the bustling streets of Barcelona, London, and Berlin are more rousing to influence your next project. Whichever you choose, here are a few design tricks to keep in mind.

Arclin TFL - Gray Designs in The Harvest CollectionDesign Trick 1: Nuanced Colors

European-styled homes tend to use a color palette filled with a variety of warmer shades. Nuanced colors like sandstone, coffee, or sweeping grays can help create a rich and sophisticated feel.

Design Trick 2: Experiment With Texture

Adding different textures to the floors and walls adds instant character. For example, a Nordic-styled home might use wide oak-colored panels paired with delicate patterned fabrics to instantly create a welcoming, but worldly feel.

Design Trick 3: Form Meets Function

European style furniture and buildings tend to use good quality material and is well-made. In other words, it’s not only looks great, but it works great too. Objects are appreciated for their lines and materials just as much as the purpose they serve.

Arclin TFL - European StyleDesign Trick 4: Give It a Lived-In Feel

A lived-in feel goes a long way for creating a welcoming space. It is why hygge (the Danish quality of coziness and comfort) is taking the world by storm. Depth and warmth are achieved through patinas, antiquing – and yes, textures. Display everyday items – collectables on a simple shelving or photographs in aged frames help finish the mood.

Design Trick 5: It’s All in the Details

And there is no better way to encourage that lived-in feel than with design details. Whether it is the subtle coloring on trim or thoughtfully placed object d’art, European style often plays elements against one another — think clean lines of a modern Italian kitchen counters against a large pop of color or loft style furniture in a rustic Spanish-style stone interior.

Now – your turn. What do you think creates a European feel?

What’s Hot in the Kitchen

We’ve highlighted some of our newest kitchen designs to show off the versatility of the trends!

Like a lot of you, we just got back from the Kitchen & Bath Show in Orlando, one of the many places we go to stay on top of design and surface trends. Here are our Top 8 trends we’re seeing in kitchen design. What strikes your fancy?

Kitchen Design Trends - Surface Design
Materials — Mix & Match
Marble with reclaimed or rustic woods, modern mixed with retro, classic designs matched with bold, fresh colors and textures. Wood on wood. Concrete with anything. Kitchen design is more flexible, more eclectic, more dynamic than ever.
Charles Bridge & Skyline Dark - Great for kitchen design
Black & White
This combo never goes out of style. In kitchens, we’re seeing a shift from all white (which we still love, by the way) to white plus…a little drama. Black pops against white cabinets and walls. White counters over black cabinets…stunning.
Cambridge Bronze, Noce Moscato, Kinabalu Teak - Great for kitchen design
Splash of Color
A chartreuse sink? Blue cabinets? Why not! Pantone’s 2017 color of the year, Greenery, is a great example of color bringing energy to warm wood tones or simple whites. We’re also seeing a lot of blue. Which is beautiful matched with gray grains, light warm woods and yes, white.
Skyline Dawn, Stinson Trail, Silver Glance, Platinum Glance - Great for kitchen design
Open Shelving
Above and below, we see more designs dispensing with the cabinet doors. That means more attention paid to shelving materials.

Gray for Days
We saw grays start to take prominence in kitchens several years ago — and it’s a trend that doesn’t seem to be fading anytime fast. Just look at our options — there’s so much to choose from, so many kitchen design directions to go.
Skyline Dusk, Stinson Gray, Jackson Barn, Angkor Stone, Charles Bridge - Great for kitchen design
Industrial Chic - Papa's Loft, Sunrise Impression, Lead Glance, Skyline Dark - Great for kitchen design
Industrial Chic
Some designers are starting to express their weariness with this sustaining trend, which has taken over restaurants, retail, offices and hospitality over the last decade+. But now we’re seeing it take on a new life in kitchens and more. Much as rustic has become more sophisticated, industrial kitchens are featuring more advanced engineered surfaces as a showcase for modern industrialism.

Copper Goes with… Anything

As we’re seeing, frankly… everywhere.
Cerused Wood - Great for kitchen design
Cerused Wood
Once popular during the Art Deco era, “cerusing” — accenting grains for contrast — creates an elegant look in any kitchen style, whether rustic, modern or a combination of the two.

What’s in a Name?

Despite rumors to the contrary, design names are not actually created during marijuana-fueled brainstorming sessions atop fog-covered mountains.)

Arclin’s new Harvest Collection of decorative overlays for TFL was curated from influences around the world. The names were selected to reflect those influences — and to capture the essence of each design. In case you were wondering…

Midtown Harvest

The Midtown Harvest Collection takes us from uptown to Main Street, urban sophistication to hometown warmth. The names reflect their Americana inspirations.

shutterstock_274194053Cambridge Classic & Cambridge Bronze – regal, rich, hand-hewn, historic. That took us to one of the country’s most historic and regal cities: Boston.  We imagined these designs on the rich wood walls of Harvard Library in Cambridge.



Jackson Buff & Jackson Barn — these rustic designs conjured old world charm to us…visually transporting us to picturesque Jackson, Wyoming. And a name was born.



shutterstock_49123285Papa’s Loft – rustic, sea-weathered reclaimed barn wood, with more than a touch of gray. Think Old Man & The Sea…and author, Hemingway whose nickname was, in fact, Papa.




Skyline Dawn, Skyline Dusk, Skyline Dark – this concrete-finish structure brought to mind urban settings and tall buildings…and the way city colors change as the daylight progresses.




Stinson Gray, Stinson Trail, Stinson Umber – cool to warm, lineal, earthy. We thought of the trails to Stinson Beach in Muir Woods National Forest — full of tall straight trees and sandy trails.

Global Harvest                                  

Designs culled from global influences and a diversity of textures, colors and surface.

shutterstock_396111676Alexandria Walnut – The Port of Alexandria in Egypt was the world’s first and largest trading post for spices. And this is one spicy walnut.



shutterstock_263676302Angkor Stone & Angkor Root – exotic, old world and textured, the structure and colors of this design evoked, for us, the ancient Cambodian temples.




Charles Bridge – we see water, winter, movement, drama. The picturesque Charles Bridge in Prague is…all that.



shutterstock_186199775Platinum Glance, Silver Glance, Lead Glance – this metallic, patterned abstract plays to the interlocking crystals of the galena ore. Also called “lead glance,” galena is a leading source of silver. You do the math.


shutterstock_239009716Kinabalu Teak – subtle cracks, knots and wide grains follow the terrain of Malaysia’s first national park.



shutterstock_71441794Noce Moscato – Noce = Walnut, Moscato = an Italian sparkling wine. There’s almost an aroma to this one.



shutterstock_262929725Sunrise Impression – you might see stone…marble…concrete…or even an impressionist painting. Monet’s first impressionist painting — which actually sparked use of the word “impressionism” — was called Impression, Soleil Levant or…Impression, Sunrise.


More than a Sales Pitch


Granted, we’re all in business to sell our products. That said, Arclin’s overarching strategy with our Reinventing TFL marketing effort is to support the entire value chain — not just ourselves — through education on TFL and other surfacing options. What product, what place, to what advantage. Our aim is to grow the industry by bringing more people to the table for all of us.

To that end, we’re going to continue to use our social media channels to try to reach downstream — to architects, interior designers and specifiers who present our greatest opportunities for market growth and who are, too, heavy users of social media for information, inspiration and idea-gathering.

Our Facebook page plays on our theme but with a market-focused twist: Reinventing Surfaces. We’ll continue to build Instagram and Pinterest galleries that inspire but also educate our followers. Our blog will continue to become a repository for telling different parts of the TFL and surfacing story.

Our content is yours to share. And if there are subjects you’d like us to cover, please let us know!

In the meantime, follow us:


Close Up – Q&A with Reed Singleton

Q: You’ve been heavily involved in Arclin’s recent efforts to revamp its TFL design portfolio. Where do you see opportunity for Arclin’s customers with the new designs and approach?
A: From a design standpoint, a tremendous amount of forethought and effort — with the help of Arclin’s printer partners and Loop9 Marketing — went into the selection of the new designs. The result is a collection of designs that is both modern and relevant. They’ve been extremely well received by our customers and their downstream customers.

We’ve also shifted our marketing approach to support overall TFL market growth. It’s our hope that, with a more fine-tuned portfolio and greater tools, Arclin’s customers will be able to increase market size and share.  We think the key to growing the TFL market is in reaching downstream, to designers and specifiers, with surface designs that can replace or enhance traditional surface materials.

Q: Partly under your direction, Arclin has been shifting its sales and technical support approach toward a “One Arclin” strategy — that is, enabling customers to work with one team for both its resin and surface overlay support. How is the transition going and how is it benefiting customers?
A: Arclin is the only surfaces producer in the U.S. and Canada that also produces resin. This is a tremendous advantage to our customers, as we can provide better product quality, more support and greater opportunity for innovation.  Our “One Arclin” approach is going very well, improving our communication and service both to and from Arclin’s customer base.


Q: You’ve been with Arclin nearly 20 years, first in Winnfield, Louisiana and now based out of its Springfield, Oregon location. What’s been the biggest change for you, making the move to the left coast?  
A: Obviously there are cultural differences that took some getting used to after moving from the deep south of Louisiana to the Pacific North West. That aside, I have made a lot of great new friends and have enjoyed the inherent beauty of that part of the country.  I’ve also really enjoyed getting to know Arclin’s customers along the West Coast and look forward to building lasting relationships there. In the short year I have lived in Oregon, I’ve developed a lasting love for the region and the people. My only real struggle is convincing folks that THEY are the ones who talk funny.

Surfacing Trends in Hospitality

New Twists Abound

Yet another trends list?? Well…yes. Because we haven’t seen one that covers our unique niche. We’re taking a look at decorative surfacing trends for the hospitality industry — what we’re seeing on furniture, fixtures, walls and more at restaurants and hotels across the country.

We’re excited to see where things are headed in hospitality design. Because, truth is, they’re headed in a number of different directions. Which makes it all kinds of fun for those of us who get to pick the surface designs to offer up to the industry. We see lots of variety, imaginative spaces and a continued push toward ever greater design complexity and sophistication.

Sure, many of the examples we give here are our products, but the trends apply to the whole spectrum of surfacing options.

  1. Rustics, reclaimed and industrial chic —

I had a designer tell me just last week that she was “so over” industrial chic. I could see that only if you limited the options to a moment in time. But restaurants and hotels are continuing to claim forgotten spaces and creating their own “raw” interiors that combine repurposed elements and pure, rustic themes. The staying power is in the warmth of the environments, the smart use of resources, and the enormous variety of design possibilities. The trend continues to evolve as designers get more and more creative. From a materials standpoint, the options are seemingly endless!

Decorative surfaces are heeding the call, with highly realistic designs that capture the spirit without sacrificing the barn, so to speak — or the budget. Our recently introduced Papa’s Loft design for TFL is a prime example. Reclaimed, weathered and perfect for everything from counter faces to headboards to architectural walls. Or check out Jackson Barn and Jackson Buff. The concrete-inspired Skyline series of Skyline Dawn, Skyline Dusk and Skyline Dark is turning heads, too.

  1. Elegance is back.


Call it Hollywood glamour or the New Elegance, rich, sophisticated interiors have made a comeback. Lush fabrics and ballgown-worthy interiors are made all the more vibrant with surfaces that embody the intensity of the space. Arclin’s Cambridge Classic design evokes hand-hewn surfaces you might’ve found in, say, an estate library a century ago.

  1. Modern reimagined.


What might’ve once been called “transitional” design — a blend of old and new — is now taking on new life as modern interiors are infused with a variety of styles, interpretations, materials and inspiration. Imagine paring this fresh Stinson Trail design with an animal patterned fabric or a nature-themed interior (it does take its name from a path through Muir Woods to Stinson Beach!). At the same time, Cambridge Bronze transitions well from classic to contemporary when you use its bold features to make a statement. Lines aren’t so clearly drawn anymore, which gives us a lot of freedom to reimagine spaces.

  1. Global inspirations.


Bohemian, Mediterranean, Italianate, French Provincial…we’ve long experienced their style inspirations in the environments we frequent. Designers are now combining styles and materials in single interiors to evoke a sense of worldly adventure. Can’t imagine how a simple surface structure could contribute? Think again. Jackson Barn and Jackson Buff took us mentally to vast prairies and towering mountains. We’re introducing an entire globally-inspired selection of designs later this year, with designs that conjure thoughts of Cambodian temples, Middle Eastern ports of call and fog-enshrouded bridges.

  1. No boundaries.


One of the things we’ve always loved about creating designs for decorative surfaces is that we’re not bound by the same laws of nature that define solid woods, veneers or stone. If you can imagine it, we can create it. Concrete textures with a hint of woodgrain. The feeling of wide planks that aren’t really planks at all. A color play that can turn an abstract neutral into a sleek metallic. The ability to craft surfaces from virtually any material we can get our hands on, “playing” until we get just the right look. Hospitality spaces work hard to create experiences, to comfort and to inspire. Decorative surfaces can be the perfect solution when the creative sky is the limit.




The Dunes Collection – A Value Chain Partnership

Arclin is proud to work with many of the surfaces industry’s most reputable — and creative — printers. And our customers continue to show us just how much fun we can have working together to grow the market. The recent introduction of Arclin’s Dunes Collection is one great example (and we’ll share many more over the coming months) of a value chain partnership that netted a new set of designs right for the market, right now. Says Jim Ryan, Duramine Business Manager at Roseburg, who helped drive selection of the designs for Arclin’s portfolio — and theirs, “These designs address the growing demand from our customers for lineal patterns in modern colors. And they’re flexible, appropriate for use in nearly every market segment.” Ryan notes other criteria the designs met in making the cut for their small, targeted design portfolio:

  • They complement and work well with others in their collection
  • Can be used both horizontally and vertically
  • Will work well using texture plates, but are equally strong without

The U.S. creative team at Interprint worked with Arclin and Roseburg to identify the designs for this addition, selecting these four for that met multiple criteria for design and functionality.

The Right Surface for the Right Space

Let’s show them how it works!

You know it, we know it — TFL is one of the most versatile decorative surface options available in the market today. High performing, design-forward, versatile, cost effective and environmentally safe. And perfect for a wide variety of environments and applications.

Arclin is creating tools to help all of us in the TFL value chain. Tools that can help educate your customers and theirs by demonstrating the attributes and benefits of the product in a wide variety of applications. We’re creating an online gallery to showcase thermally fused laminates in their natural habitats. And that is, virtually everywhere. Share photos, ideas, customer applications…anything you think will help us, together, bring more people to the TFL table.


Dark to light, traditional to contemporary, wood grains to abstracts, TFL fits any retail environment, any brand on store fixtures, shelving, POP displays, closets, walls and counters.

What’s your favorite retail application? Share it with us and we’ll share with the industry!


The perfect office combines durability and design. Just like TFL. For desks, cabinets, shelving, credenzas and walls.

What new applications are you seeing in the office industry for TFL? Is it in designs? Applications? Textures?


Designs made to heal. Germ-resistant surfaces. Zero-emitting panels. Use TFL on workstations, lockers, cabinets and furniture, in waiting areas, workspaces and patient rooms.

We’re seeing a lot more creativity in healthcare environments, as the market gets more competitive and designers are looking for design-forward and healthy surfaces. What trends do you see driving TFL use in healthcare? Can you give us an example?


On trend and in budget. TFL adorns walls, furniture, fixtures and more in hotels, restaurants and clubs around the world.

Restaurants and hotels are more and more becoming havens and drivers of design versus merely places for comfort and sustenance. Where do you see opportunities to integrate TFL that maybe even the industry isn’t thinking of yet?


The smart solution — TFL is durable and easy to clean and comes in designs and colors suited for any educational environment. For furniture (classroom, library, dorm), closets and desks.

Budgets are often among the biggest drivers in building materials decisions for educational spaces. But we know you can get a hot new TFL for no more investment than the same old, same old. What designs do you see showing potential in education? Traditional woods? Lineals? Reclaimed materials-inspired?


Durable, stain resistant and available in a wide variety of designs — from wood grains to abstracts, solid colors and more — TFL is ideal for kitchens, cabinets, closets, organizational systems, furniture, garages…even the man cave.

We’re excited about what we’re seeing in residential interiors. Because we’re seeing a little bit of everything! Show us your favorites — a photo, a link…an example of something you’re finding in the market.

Meet Scot Johnson

Q: You’ve got a long history at Arclin overseeing its industrial surfaces business — everything from concrete surfacing to roof and wall sheathing. What unique perspective do you bring to decorative surfaces side of the business — how do you see influencing its growth going forward?
A: I plan to bring the same approach to decorative surfaces that we’ve long employed for industrial — that is, meshing customer and market needs with Arclin’s constant pursuit of developing new chemistries and new application opportunities. For example, we’re constantly looking at creating better-performing products we can offer at lower costs…we’re looking at several opportunities now. And I’m very focused on finding new products that can open whole new doors for Arclin and our customers. I’m excited about our possibilities in the decorative space.

Q: You’ve overseen introduction at Arclin of a number of pretty innovative industrial products. Do you see opportunity for innovation in the decorative surfaces industry? Can you tell us about anything in the works?
A: Yes! We’re working on a lower cost, higher opacity overlay…and at the possibility of an exterior-grade decorative surface — UV resistant, durable and one that can stand up to the elements. It’s in concept phase at this stage, but it’s a product with some pretty cool application possibilities (THAT part, I’ll have to keep secret for bit longer).

Q:  How does a guy who’s been used to dealing with concrete and exterior building products turn his sights to a design-focused product line? Is there a learning curve for you?
A: Hey — concrete can be decorative! Seriously, there’s not much of a learning curve on the chemistry and applications side of the business; they share many of the same characteristics. But I’ve been focused on understanding the design side of it. As we’ve been preparing this portfolio launch for next year, in fact, I’m learning that the design options can be endless and we need to make sure we’re matching our approach to the best opportunities in the market.

Meet Teong Tan

Q:  From a quality standpoint, what is your primary focus for Arclin’s decorative surface overlays?
A: Arclin has always been known for our willingness and ability to tackle challenging products — and we have a lot of great products out there. But obviously, that is only beneficial for our customers if we can consistently deliver to our product specifications and performance. We’ve focused on reducing variation from all sources, from raw materials to our own processes to finished goods. Our aim is to deliver on spec, every time.

Q:  What has been your biggest quality improvement accomplishment so far?
A: We’re tenacious about getting to root causes when we have a quality issue. We’ve made that a hallmark of our quality culture. Most recently, we’ve tackled some issues with “blocking” — when TFL overlays absorb moisture from the environment and begin to stick together. We’re hearing from our customers now that we’re surpassing our competitors in eliminating this problem.

Q:  You’ve been with Arclin for 14 years. What has been your path to this position?
A: I started out as a resin chemist. I eventually moved to lead one of the technical teams, ultimately expanding that into a leadership role in overall quality control. I now lead the technical team for all of Arclin’s surfaces (which includes industrial overlays, in addition to decorative). This opportunity to take the TFL business to the next level has been an exciting part of the ride!

Q:  Tell us something about yourself that your coworkers might not even know.
A: I have a newborn and a 2 1/2 year old. I spend any moment I’m not working with them and my wife. Before I had kids, I was an avid watercolor artist; I’ve exhibited in some small scale shows. I love music and play the piano. I ran a couple of marathons…but now I spend my days running after my toddler.

Why TFL. And Why Now.


Decorative surfaces have been around since the ancient Egyptians began using wood veneers to coat their furniture and sarcophagi. They’ve come a long way. Today, the market offers a variety of decorative surface options (there’s a good primer here), from veneers to High Pressure Laminates (HPL), from foils to perhaps one of the most overlooked and high performing surfaces available: Thermally Fused Laminates, or TFL. Every surface option has a distinct sweet spot — that is, uses and applications for which it’s most appropriate and effective. Here’s a quick summary of the properties and benefits of TFL. And a thing or two you might not have known about this advanced surface option that is quickly growing in popularity.

For the right applications, TFL is high performing at a lower cost than many of its sister products. Resin-coated papers are thermoset, under high heat and pressure, directly to a substrate (typically particleboard, plywood or MDF), which eliminates the need for multiple layers of base paper and creates a very uniform, strong surface — at a lower production cost than many other options.

TFL is just as design-forward as HPL has become, matching the graphic intensity and fidelity of woods, stone, metals, abstracts and more. Advancements in design and printing technologies and expanding market interests have driven TFL manufacturers to create increasingly realistic, beautiful and varied decors. Advanced laminating technologies have made textures possible, as well, adding yet another dimension to TFL’s life-like design properties.

TFL is an environmentally friendly alternative to solid woods and veneers. TFL uses paper derived from sustainably harvested sources. And through sophisticated design, TFL can realistically mimic the look and, increasingly, even the feel of any wood or abstract material without depleting valuable natural resources. Arclin TFL can contribute to LEED credits for improved indoor air quality and is manufactured in FSC chain of custody-certified facilities.

TFL’s consistency and durability makes it ideal for a wide variety of industries and applications.

Industries: Residential, Retail, Healthcare, Office, Education, Government and more. Applications: Cabinets, Furniture, Closets, Desks, Architectural Features and more.

TFL: Countless Shades of Green


In our building industry travels, we’ll sometimes hear push-back against the use of any type of wood-related products — from specifiers and buyers rightfully charged with finding the most environmentally responsible products available for their interiors projects. We couldn’t agree more that the careful use of our natural resources is the responsibility of everyone in the design and build industries. The truth is, Thermally Fused Laminates, or TFL, are one of the smartest environmental choices for a wide variety of applications, from furniture and fixtures to architectural features, closets and cabinets.

What makes it green?

  1. Quite simply, wood use has evolved. For many applications, we’ve moved from using solid woods (and cutting down lots of old-growth trees) to an environmentally preferable substrate with veneer to, now, a substrate with a decorate surface overlay that enables us to mimic all the design properties of real wood but is made with papers derived from tree fibers grown on controlled, fast-growing plantations. TFL spares old growth and exotic woods while capturing all of its graphic qualities. Read more about the evolution of wood.
  2. We’re certified (not to be confused with certifiable). Arclin TFL is manufactured in FSC® chain of custody-certified facilities. Panels made with Arclin TFL are ultra low-emitting and may contribute to LEED EQ Credit 4.4 for improved air quality. And Arclin applies its own E-Gen® designation to its TFL products, a proprietary designation that it applies only to products expressly engineered for exceptional product performance and to reduce manufacturing and downstream environmental impact.
  3. Arclin also manufactures low- to zero-emitting resins for wood panels. Those substrate panels can be combined with Arclin TFL for an extra layer of…green.

Compare TFL to solid woods, veneers, plastics, concrete and more to discover the right shade of green for your next project.