2024 Kitchen & Bath Design Trend: Texture

We go to KBIS so you don’t have to!

Just kidding, of course! The National Kitchen and Bath Show, KBIS, is the annual industry gathering where cabinetry, appliance, fixtures, electronics and every other manufacturer or distributor of things that go into your kitchen and bathroom gather to show their latest wares.

During our 2024 pilgrimage to the National Kitchen and Bath Show, the Mother Hubbard’s Custom Cabinetry team came away with three observations on design trends that dominated the show for 2024.  These were texture, color and the deepening integration of “smart” features into fixtures and appliances.

In this blog post we’re going to focus on the explosion of texture that we saw at the NKBA Show, especially with respect to cabinetry and wall coverings. Rather than start with words, let’s look at an obvious example of cabinetry with tambour-style treatments on the door panels.

As you look at the photo above you may be struck by a nagging sensation that you’ve seen this sort of design element before. You probably have if you’ve even seen a roll-top desk or an antique tambour rolling cabinet door! 

Wikipemedia - Roll Top Desk

When used in its historic sense, “tambour” refers to a furniture making technique where a flexible panel composed of slats of wood or other materials are glued on to a flexible backing, usually cloth. This design allows the “tambour” panel to roll up and down or slide horizontally, which makes it an excellent way to hide furniture doors when open.

In the context of design today, you can see that the tambour panels are most often fixed, rather than rolling, and it’s the visual element of ridges that reflect the inspiration of tambour.

We saw three main uses of the tambour style at KBIS. First, cabinet makers were most definitely using the tambour technique to create floating door panels full of visual and tactile texture. Whether half-rounds seemingly glued together to form a panel, or thin vertical channels routed into a flat panel, the visual sensation was the same. 

Second, we saw the tambour style trim in accents pieces and backdrops on walls.  In the photo below, bathroom mirrors are mounted on tambour-inspired wall accents made of what appears to be faux marble or other man-made material.

Third, we saw a growing body of architectural and furniture elements that featured the tambour effect.  In the example below, a massive columnar table pedestal uses tambour styling to turn what would otherwise be a boring cylinder into something unique and interesting. 

Will the use of tambour be a lasting design element, or just another passing design fad? We can’t say for sure, but if one of our clients in Harrisburg, Carlisle or Lemoyne ask for us to integrate some texture into their cabinetry or kitchen and bath design, you can be sure we’ll have plenty of tambour images on hand to spark their imagination!