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Comparing different finishes (e.g., matte vs. glossy)

The Pros and Cons of Matte Finishes for Kitchen Cabinets

The Pros and Cons of Matte Finishes for Kitchen Cabinets

The finish of kitchen cabinets can impact the overall aesthetic of a kitchen. When choosing a finish for kitchen cabinets, homeowners have a variety of options to choose from, including matte finishes. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of choosing matte finishes for kitchen cabinets.


1. Hides Imperfections

Matte finishes are great at hiding imperfections in the wood. These finishes do not reflect light as much as glossy finishes, which means that scratches and dents are less noticeable. This is a great benefit for families who plan on using their kitchen regularly, as it will hide any wear and tear that can happen over time.

2. Modern Look

Matte finishes have a modern look that is not as flashy as glossy finishes. This makes them perfect for homeowners who want a sleek and contemporary look. The subdued finish of matte cabinets is perfect for a minimalist design or a kitchen with a neutral color scheme.

3. Less Smudging

Glossy finishes tend to smudge easily, which can be an annoyance for many homeowners. Matte finishes, on the other hand, do not reflect as much light, which means they do not pick up fingerprints or other smudges as easily. This makes maintaining matte finish cabinets much easier than maintaining glossy finishes.

4. Versatility

Matte finishes can be applied to a variety of materials, including wood, metal, and even lacquer. This means that homeowners can incorporate matte finishes into a variety of design styles, from industrial to traditional. These finishes are also available in a variety of colors, giving homeowners even more design flexibility.


1. Less Reflectivity

One of the main appeals of glossy finishes is their reflective quality, which can make any room look brighter. However, the less reflective quality of matte finishes can make a kitchen look darker. This can be an unappealing aspect for some homeowners who want a kitchen that looks bright and open.

2. Prone to Staining

Matte finishes tend to absorb more liquid than glossy finishes. This means that they are more prone to staining from spills or water damage. Homeowners who choose matte finishes should be aware of this and take precautions to clean up spills as soon as possible.

3. Not as Durable

Matte finishes do not have the same protective layer that glossy finishes do. This means that they are more susceptible to damage over time. They are more prone to scratches, dents, and chips, which means that homeowners who choose matte finishes should be prepared for them to show signs of wear and tear over time.

4. Limited Availability

Matte finishes are not as commonly found as glossy finishes. This means that homeowners who choose them may have limited options when it comes to choosing the exact color or material they want. They may also be more expensive than other finish options due to their limited availability.


Matte finishes are a great option for homeowners who want a modern look that hides imperfections and requires less maintenance than glossy finishes. However, they do have some downsides, including being prone to staining and not being as durable as other finishes. Homeowners should consider their design preferences and lifestyle when considering a matte finish for their kitchen cabinets.

Matte vs. Glossy Cabinets FAQ

1. What is the difference between matte and glossy cabinets?

Matte cabinets have a flat, non-shiny finish, while glossy cabinets have a shiny, reflective surface. The finish is achieved through different manufacturing processes and materials used.

2. What are the benefits of matte cabinets?

Matte cabinets are less likely to show smudges, fingerprints, and scratches. They are a good choice for a modern, minimalist style and can complement other textures and finishes in a room.

3. What are the benefits of glossy cabinets?

Glossy cabinets reflect light, making a smaller space appear larger and brighter. They are easy to clean and maintain and can give a modern, sleek appearance that fits well in contemporary homes.

4. Do matte cabinets come in different colors?

Yes, matte cabinets are available in a wide range of colors, including light and dark shades, pastels, and bold hues.

5. What are the best situations for using matte cabinets?

Matte cabinets are a good choice for busy households where the cabinets will see a lot of wear and tear. They are also a popular choice for contemporary design schemes, where the flat finish complements other textures and finishes.

6. What are the best situations for using glossy cabinets?

Glossy cabinets are a good choice for smaller spaces where light reflection can make a significant difference in the overall appearance of the room. They are also well-suited for modern, minimalist designs that emphasize clean lines and simplicity.

7. How do you clean matte cabinets?

To clean matte cabinets, use a microfiber cloth or sponge and mild soap and water. Avoid abrasive or acidic cleaners and tools, as they can damage or scratch the finish.

8. How do you clean glossy cabinets?

To clean glossy cabinets, use a soft cloth or sponge and a mild, non-abrasive cleaner. Avoid ammonia-based or acidic cleaners, as they can damage or dull the finish.

9. Do matte cabinets require more maintenance than glossy cabinets?

Not necessarily. While matte cabinets may show less dirt and wear and tear, they still require basic cleaning and maintenance to keep them looking their best.

10. Do glossy cabinets scratch more easily than matte cabinets?

Glossy cabinets can show scratches and other imperfections more easily than matte cabinets, due to their reflective surface. However, proper cleaning and maintenance can help minimize the appearance of scratches and other damage.

Matte vs. Glossy Cabinets: Related Resources and Products

  • Matte Finish Cabinets: Matte finish cabinets are a great choice if you want a more subtle and understated look for your kitchen or bathroom. They have a non-reflective surface and are a popular choice for modern and contemporary spaces. Some recommended products on Amazon include:
    • John Boos WALKCT-BL6025-O Blended Walnut Counter Top with Oil Finish, 1.5″ Thickness, 60″ x 25″ | Matte Finish Kitchen Countertop
    • DecoBros Kitchen Counter and Cabinet Pan Organizer Shelf Rack, 2 Pack | Matte Black Finish
    • Broan-NuTone BCSD136BL Glacier Range Hood, 36-Inch, Matte Black | Matte Finish Range Hood
  • Glossy Finish Cabinets: Glossy finish cabinets have a shiny, reflective surface and are great for adding a touch of glamour to your kitchen or bathroom. They reflect light and make a space feel brighter and more open. Some recommended products on Amazon include:
    • Yaheetech Bathroom Cabinet Wall-Mounted Storage Cabinet with Double Mirror Doors Adjustable Shelf, White | Glossy Finish Bathroom Cabinet
    • Ameriwood Home Aaron Lane Bookcase with Sliding Glass Doors, Soft Gray | Glossy Finish Bookcase
    • Monarch Specialties I Bookcase with Tempered Glass, Glossy White | Glossy Finish Bookcase
  • Matte vs. Glossy Cleaning: It’s important to keep your cabinets clean, regardless of the finish. However, there are some differences in how to clean matte vs. glossy cabinets. Some recommended products on Amazon include:
    • Pledge Multi-Surface Furniture Polish Spray, Works on Wood, Granite, and Leather, Shines and Protects, Orange, 9.7 oz | Multi-Surface Cleaner for Matte Cabinets
    • SuperClean Foaming Cleaner-Degreaser for Automotive Detailing, 16 oz. Aerosol | Heavy Duty Cleaner for Glossy Cabinets
    • Microfiber Cleaning Cloth – Pack of 24 | Cleaning Cloth for Both Matte and Glossy Cabinets
  • Matte vs. Glossy Countertops: It’s important to consider the finish of your cabinets when selecting your countertops as well. While you can mix and match matte and glossy finishes, it’s important to ensure they complement each other. Some recommended products on Amazon include:
    • Yenhome Marble Contact Paper 24″ x 196″ White Peel and Stick Wallpaper for Kitchen Countertop | Matte Finish Countertop Paper
    • Livelynine Brushed Nickel Vinyl Peel and Stick Wallpaper Decorative Stainless Steel Wall Paper for Countertops Kitchen Cabinets Appliances Dishwasher Fridge Refrigerator Stove Covers 15.8×78.8 Inch | Glossy Finish Countertop Paper
    • Instant Granite Counter Top Self-Adhesive Vinyl Laminate Sheets, Great As Kitchen, Wall, Bathroom, Cabinet, Shelf Covers (36” x 216” Inches, Fossil) | Matte Finish Countertop Laminate

Matte vs. Glossy Cabinets Pros & Cons

  • Pros of Matte Cabinets:

    Matte cabinets are becoming increasingly popular in modern kitchen designs, and it is easy to see why:

    • Matte finishes hide fingerprints and smudges: Unlike glossy cabinets, matte cabinets do not reflect as much light, which makes them excellent at camouflaging fingerprints and smudges.
    • Matte finishes are scratch-resistant: Matte finishes are great at hiding scratches and blemishes, thanks to their subtle texture. This makes them ideal for busy households with children and pets.
    • Matte finishes are easy to clean: Matte cabinets are low-maintenance and easy to clean compared to their shiny glossy counterparts. They come in various finishes which make them easy to wipe down and keep clean.
    • Matte finishes have more color options: Popular color options for matte cabinets include whites, greys and blacks as well as inviting vibrant hues say red, orange, and even blue. They look nice in most kitchen designs and stand out beautifully with chrome appliances and quartz countertops.
  • Cons of Matte Cabinets:

    While matte cabinets have a lot of benefits, there are also some drawbacks to consider:

    • Matte finishes can make your kitchen look dark: Matte finishes tend to absorb light, making them a less optimal choice for dark kitchens. They can make your kitchen space look smaller and less inviting.
    • Matte finishes can make your cabinets look dated: Similar to colors that go in and out of style, matte finishes can go out of vogue relatively quick and quickly date a space. It’s a good idea to consider investing in a neutral color or installing a substitute decorative finish to ensure that your matte cabinets remain timeless.
    • Matte finishes might require a little more upkeep: While matte finishes generally require less maintenance than glossy finishes, the subtle texture can make it slightly more difficult to wipe down. It can require a little grunge and elbow grease when trying to get unsightly permanent marks out of the cabinet.
  • Pros of Glossy Cabinets:

    Glossy cabinets remain a classic choice for a reason, and here are some of the reasons why:

    • Glossy cabinets are easy to clean: Due to their smooth surface, glossy cabinets are simple to maintain and clean when done regularly.
    • Glossy finishes reflect light: Glossy cabinets are great at reflecting light and can give the illusion of a brighter kitchen space.
    • Glossy finishes make any kitchen look modern: Their sleek appearance can add a futuristic vibe to any kitchen space.
  • Cons of Glossy Cabinets:

    Although glossy cabinets have a few advantages, there are also some concerns that come along with them:

    • Glossy finishes show blemishes: The highly reflective surface of a glossy cabinet ( Revolutionize Your Kitchen with Genius Cabinet and Drawer Space Maximization Tips ) will accentuate anything on the surface, including smudges, dust, and fingerprints.
    • Glossy finishes scratch easily: Glossy finishes are more prone to scratches since they do not have an underlying texture to hide any imperfections.
    • Glossy cabinets have limited color options: Unlike matte finishes, glossy finishes offer a limited amount of color options.

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