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Best Finish for Kitchen Cabinets: An In-depth Guide

by Gary Wade • December 04, 2023


In the intricate world of kitchen design, choosing the right finish for your cabinets is a crucial task. The finish not only defines the aesthetic appeal of your kitchen but also determines the longevity of your cabinets. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the various types of kitchen cabinet finishes, their pros and cons, and crucial factors to consider, ensuring you make an informed decision about the best finish for kitchen cabinets.

The Significance of a Cabinet Finish

A cabinet finish is the final touch applied to your kitchen cabinets, which imparts a distinct sheen or gloss. Besides providing an appealing shine, it also adds a protective layer that should ideally be robust and enduring. Thus, the finish plays a dual role – enhancing the aesthetic appeal while ensuring durability.

What is the best finish for kitchen cabinets?

Exploring Different Types of Cabinet Finishes

There are several types of cabinet finishes in the kitchen, each with its unique features and effects. Let's delve deeper into each of these.

1. Painted Finish

A painted finish offers remarkable versatility, with a wide assortment of colors to match any kitchen style. It’s an effective way to conceal any imperfections in the wood, granting a seamless and uniform look to your cabinets.

Subtypes of Painted Finish

1.1 Matte Paint

Matte paint, known for its flat and non-reflective finish, doesn't reflect light, which can make a space appear more enclosed. However, its lack of reflection gives colors a subtle, understated elegance, making it ideal for modern interior design styles.

1.2 Semi-Gloss Paint

If you're looking for a finish that shines and reflects light upon hitting it, a semi-gloss paint finish could be ideal. It provides a nice shine that's not overly flashy. Furthermore, it's considered the easiest to maintain, striking a balance between minimal light reflection and smudge visibility.

How to choose the best finish for kitchen cabinets?
1.3 High-Gloss Paint

High-gloss paint offers a reflective and noticeable shine on the surface, making it ideal for modern or business formal areas. While it enhances the spaciousness of the room, it also makes dirt or scratches more evident.

1.4 Satin Paint

Satin paint bears a velvet-like texture, easy to maintain and clean but requires careful application as brush strokes and roller marks can be visible when it dries.

2. Stained Finish

A stained finish is perfect for preserving and enhancing the natural appearance of your wood cabinets. It provides a protective layer while highlighting the wood's natural features.

3. Glazed Finish

A glazed finish is applied on top of paint or stain, accentuating the cabinets' details. It settles into the cabinet corners and edges, giving them a unique, antique look.

Best Color Finish for Kitchen Cabinets

4. Natural Finish

A natural wood finish retains the wood's natural color and doesn't use any stains or dyes. It provides a raw, unfiltered look, perfect for those who admire the natural beauty of wood.

5. Lacquered Finish

A lacquered finish creates a non-porous, protective layer that makes cabinetry easy to clean. It's available in multiple shine and gloss levels, offering a noticeable sheen that many find appealing.

6. Varnished Finish

Varnish is a blend of oil and resin that, when dry, forms a hard, solvent-resistant surface. It's ideal for natural wood cabinets, offering excellent resistance to age-related yellowing, heat, and corrosion.

7. Distressed Finish

Distressed finishes give new cabinets an aged appearance. The paint coat is made to look worn or scratched using techniques with stain, paint, or glaze, making it a perfect choice for a rustic or farmhouse kitchen.

Evaluating the Durability of Cabinet Finishes

When deciding on the best finish for kitchen cabinets, consider factors such as the frequency of cabinet usage, the kitchen's humidity, and your personal aesthetic preferences. If durability is a priority, a high gloss finish is an excellent choice, as it is long-lasting and easy to maintain.

Best Kitchen Cabinet Finish

Complementing Kitchen Design with Cabinet Finishes

Your choice of cabinet finish should also complement your kitchen's overall design. Use cohesive or contrasting color schemes and stick to a similar decorative style. Look around your kitchen and consider the following features:

  • The color of your appliances
  • The type, finish, and color of your countertops
  • The type of lighting you use
  • The amount of natural light available in the space
  • Accent pieces you love decorating with
  • The color of your kitchen walls and any connected rooms
  • Your house's overall architectural style

Best Kitchen Cabinet Finish

Your choice of cabinet finish will significantly influence the look and feel of your kitchen. Whether you prefer a gloss, semi-gloss, or satin finish, it's all about your personal preference. Keep in mind that the durability of your kitchen cabinet finish should be a high priority. If you're ready to start ordering new cabinets, don't hesitate to contact us for a free quote and design consultation.


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