What Paint Finish Is Best for Kitchen Walls and Ceilings?

When it comes to painting your kitchen, choosing the right paint finish can make a big impact on both the look and durability of your space. So what paint finish is best for kitchen walls and ceilings?

The best paint finishes for kitchen walls and ceilings are high-gloss, semi-gloss, or satin. These finishes are easy to clean, making them great options for high-traffic areas like the kitchen. Not only do they provide a beautiful sheen without being too reflective, but their superior durability makes them the ideal choice.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • The 7 factors to consider when choosing a paint finish
  • The 3 best paint finishes for kitchens
  • How to prep your kitchen and choose the right color

7 Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Paint Finish

Here’s a look at seven of the most important things to remember when selecting a paint finish.

Amount of natural lighting

The amount of natural light in your kitchen can play a significant role in the type of paint finish you choose. Glossy paints reflect more light around the room, while flatter finishes absorb some of the light and create a softer, more muted look.


Be sure to choose a paint finish that is easy to clean. Kitchen walls and ceilings are prone to grease splatters and spills, so you want something that can be easily wiped down without damaging the surface.


Another important factor to consider is durability. The kitchen can be one of the messiest rooms in the house, so you’ll want to ensure that your chosen paint finish can withstand wear and tear from cooking splatters, steam from boiling pots, and accidental spills.

Mold and mildew resistance

Be sure to select a paint finish that is resistant to mold and mildew. Kitchens are often prone to high humidity levels, which can cause mold and mildew growth on walls and ceilings.

Choosing a paint that is specially formulated with mold and mildew-resistant ingredients will help to reduce the potential for this growth.

Tolerance to high-humidity

In addition to being resistant to mold and mildew, you also want to choose a paint finish that can tolerate high humidity. This is especially important if there is a lack of ventilation in your kitchen. Water-resistant paints help protect your walls and ceilings from damage caused by moisture and condensation.

VOC levels

Always choose low-VOC or no-VOC paints whenever possible. These emit fewer volatile organic compounds during the application, reducing bad odors in your home and helping maintain good indoor air quality over time.


Consider your budget when selecting a paint finish. Generally, high-gloss paints tend to be more expensive than other options, while flatter finishes are typically less expensive. Choose one that fits into your budget and still gives you the desired look for your kitchen.

The 3 Best Paint Finishes for Kitchen Walls

Paint sheen measures the light reflection and glossiness of a painted surface. It is usually expressed as a percentage, with 100% being the highest level of sheen and 0% completely flat.

The calculation for paint sheen is based on several factors, including the type of pigment used in the paint, its chemical composition, and how it interacts with light.

It also considers how well the binder holds onto pigments and what types of additives are included to modify properties like surface tension and viscosity.


Painting your kitchen with semi-gloss is the most popular choice among homeowners. This finish offers a pleasing balance between a satin look and a high-gloss shine, creating a stylish yet subtle effect.

With its 40-50% reflectivity, semi-gloss paint is highly durable, resistant to moisture, and wipes clean easily while still looking great. Its reflective sheen helps brighten the room to create an inviting atmosphere and give the space a larger feel.

With Glidden Essentials Interior PaintOpens in a new tab., you’ll be able to confidently take on interior paint projects with ease. Boasting a classic, ultra-smooth finish that dazzles from every angle, this paint is specially formulated to provide uniform coverage and hide.

Buttery smooth application and a scrubbable finish mean it’s easy to use and maintain, which is perfect for kitchens. Plus, with the added bonus of being both a paint and primer in one, you can guarantee lasting beauty in your space without the hassle of using multiple products.


  • Highly durable
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Moisture resistant
  • Dries quickly


  • Generally more expensive than other paint finishes
  • May require multiple coats for full coverage


The second most popular choice for homeowners is to use high-gloss paint in their kitchens. High-gloss paint provides a glass-like appearance that visually brightens up the space.

The reflective nature of this finish adds dimension and depth to any room, creating an eye-catching effect. High-gloss paint has a reflectivity of 70-80%.

Despite the extra cost, this paint type still offers excellent durability and stain-resistance characteristics. Its tough surface can withstand serious scrubbing with minimal wear and tear, making it ideal for kitchens prone to spills and splatters.

High-gloss paint can be more challenging than other varieties due to its ultra-smooth surface. As a result, any touched-up areas are highly visible on the wall, so it is important to take extra care during the painting process. Despite this challenge, the end result is often worth the effort.

Farrow & Ball Full GlossOpens in a new tab. is the ideal solution if you’re looking for a high-gloss paint for your home decor needs thanks to its water-based, quick-drying formula that contains low levels of odor and VOCs.

Not only does it offer a beautiful high-gloss finish, but it is also washable, so you can enjoy its luster for years to come.

On top of all this, this paint has achieved the highest ratings for indoor air quality and is proven to remain intact without flaking, peeling, fading, or chalking for up to six years.


  • Highly resistant to scratches and stains
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Moisture resistant
  • Dries quickly
  • Provides a bright and shiny look


  • Requires extra care during the painting process
  • Generally more expensive than other paint finishes


The third and final choice is to use a satin finish in your kitchen. Satin’s vibrant color and subtle gloss bring a delicate shimmer to the surface, with a 20-25% reflectivity.

It has an almost eggshell-like texture that is perfect for applying on kitchen walls—adding both sophistication and charm to your home decor.

This finish offers a long-lasting, durable finish that is resistant to stains and moisture. Plus, its low reflectivity helps mask surface imperfections for the perfect end result.

However, it’s important to note that satin paint does not hold up to cleaning and scrubbing as well as glossier finishes.

Modernizing your kitchen with Benjamin Moore AdvanceOpens in a new tab. in satin is an excellent choice. The satin finish of this paint is remarkably easy to apply, offers remarkable color retention, remains mildew resistant even when high humidity levels, and does not require priming on most surfaces. All while ensuring a safe home environment with its low VOCs.


  • Durable
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Visually appealing


  • May require multiple coats for full coverage
  • Generally more expensive than flat paint finishes

The 3 Best Paint Finishes for Kitchen Ceilings

A good ceiling paint finish will add an elegant touch of sophistication to your kitchen, while a bad one can look unsightly and detract from the overall aesthetic. So, what’s the best option for your kitchen ceilings? Let’s take a look.

Semi-gloss paint

Semi-gloss is an excellent choice for kitchen ceilings, offering both strength and style. Its reflective level falls between satin and high gloss paints, resulting in a subtle sheen that will brighten the room.

Not only is this paint incredibly durable, but it is also highly resistant to moisture, making it ideal for kitchens where cooking can generate lots of steam.

An extra coat of paint may be needed compared to other finishes. However, its durability will make the effort worthwhile in the long run if you adequately prepare before application.

If you desire a superior paint that guarantees excellent coverage without running the risk of color rub-off, AURA Interior PaintOpens in a new tab. in Semi-gloss is your perfect pick.

Thanks to its exclusive Color Lock technology and proprietary Gennex pigments, its alluring hue will last longer than ever before.

Plus, it boasts enhanced durability due to an innovative acrylic resin formula found only within AURA paints. And don’t fret if grease gets on your ceilings, AURA’s washable property ensures easy stain removal with minimal effort.


  • Highly durable and moisture resistant
  • Wipes clean easily
  • Brightens up any space with its slight sheen
  • Handles higher levels of moisture well


  • Requires more coats than other paints
  • This type of finish will highlight blemishes
  • Can be costly

High-gloss paint

High-gloss paint is highly reflective, and its shine brightens up the space, giving it a glass-like appearance that adds a touch of sophistication to any kitchen.

The glossy finish is also incredibly resilient and durable, helping it stand up against dirt, stains, and scrubbing over time.

One of the main benefits of using a high-gloss sheen on kitchen ceilings is the ease of maintaining its appearance. Unlike flatter paints, wiping off splatters won’t damage the finish as easily.

This makes it ideal for homes with very active kitchens. In addition, gloss paint is more resistant to staining than other finishes. 

Although high-gloss paint initially costs more than flat paint, its longevity, and ability to stand up to everyday wear and tear mean that it pays for itself in the long run by not needing to be repainted as often.

The downside is that applying high-gloss paint requires more skill than flatter finishes. Any imperfections will be more noticeable with this type of finish, making it important to hire an experienced painter who knows what they are doing when it comes time to redo your kitchen ceiling. 

Farrow & Ball Full GlossOpens in a new tab. is a great choice for ceilings. This high-gloss paint is long-lasting and will create a sleek and modern look for your kitchen. It has superior coverage, low VOCs, and an ultra-smooth finish that provides an excellent finish every time.


  • Incredibly resilient and durable
  • Easy to maintain its appearance
  • More resistant to staining than other finishes


  • Costs more initially
  • Needs more time to dry
  • Requires more skill to apply than matte paints
  • It can highlight imperfections, so you must use an experienced painter

Satin paint

Satin paint is a good choice for kitchen ceilings. Its strong color and slight sheen add a luxurious touch.

Although satin finish paints may be more costly than flat paint due to the need for multiple coats, it is durable and flexible with moderate moisture-resistant properties.

Satin finishes provide just the right balance between glossiness and matte. Although simple to look after and keep clean, a bit more effort is required when performing touch-ups, as its glossiness makes touch-ups more noticeable.

Transform your kitchen with Prestige White Interior Paint & PrimerOpens in a new tab., an ultra-premium paint and primer combo that is ideal for ceilings.

Expertly designed to glide on smoothly, this acrylic latex blend can be easily cleaned up with soap and water, making it both long-lasting and washable. Plus, you don’t have to worry about odors as it has a low VOC level.


  • Luxurious look and feel
  • Durable and flexible
  • Medium moisture-resistant properties


  • Requires more coats for full coverage
  • It can be tricky to touch up
  • Costs more than flat paint initially

Can Low-Sheen Paints Be Used in Kitchens?

Flat, matte, and eggshell paints are the least ideal choice for kitchens. This is because of their lack of durability, making them easily susceptible to scratches and scuffs. In addition, these types of paint finishes do not clean up well and can trap grease and dirt particles. 

These finishes do not hold up to moisture either and can be more prone to fading. For this reason, these paints are not recommended for areas with high humidity levels, such as kitchens.

Specially-formulated low-sheen paints

Thanks to current advances in technology, paints like AURA Interior Paint provide a low-sheen finish with increased durability.

Kitchens are often subject to moisture, grease, and food splatter from cooking, all of which can lead to the walls of a kitchen being stained and discolored over time.

These specially-formulated low-sheen paints are made to resist color rub-off, making them an ideal choice for busy kitchens. Aura Interior Paint offers superior hide compared to traditional flat or matte paint finishes. 

These paints hold their sheen even after being exposed to heavy washing and cleaning. This makes them an excellent option for busy kitchens where spills occur often.

AURA Interior Paint, with its exceptional Color Lock technology, ensures that your walls will stay vibrant and stunning for many years to come. The pigments in the paint are securely locked-in so they won’t fade or deteriorate over time.

Oil-Based vs. Water-Based (Latex) vs. Acrylic Paints

When it comes to painting your walls, a wide variety of different kinds of paint are available. But which type should you choose? Let’s look at each one’s pros and cons to help you decide which is best.


Oil-based paint is a popular choice for trim and moldings, but it’s not the best choice for kitchens. Oil-based paints are more durable than latex, but they take longer to dry between coats.

They are also more likely to chip and yellow over time. Above all, they contain higher levels of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which can be hazardous when breathed in.

Oil-based paints do provide good coverage and are scratch and fingerprint-resistant, but that doesn’t make them suitable for a kitchen setting.

Heat, steam, and grease from cooking create an environment that can make oil-based paints challenging to clean and prone to discoloration.

Water-based (latex)

Water-based paint, also known as latex, is an excellent choice for many painting projects. It is thinner and easier to use than oil-based paints, making it perfect for novice painters looking to take on smaller projects.

Latex is available in two different finishes: matte and glossy. When applying the paint, the drying time can usually take 1-2 hours. Primer is not always required when using latex paint. 

Latex paints are known for their durability. While they are more easily stained than oil-based paints, they do not crack or peel with age. The odor of latex paints is fairly light, which makes it ideal for home projects where ventilation may be limited.

The toxicity level of latex paint is also very low. Most products on the market today are non-toxic and safe for adults and children. Because of this, latex is the best choice for painting interior walls.


Acrylic paint is an excellent choice for interior projects due to its fast drying time, water-resistant qualities, and strong adhesive properties. This versatile paint can be used on various surfaces, including walls, ceilings, trim, and cabinets.

It forms a protective coating that resists scuffs and cracking with fluctuating temperatures. Plus, it is UV-resistant, meaning it won’t fade in direct sunlight.

Unlike latex paint which can take several hours to dry completely, acrylic paint dries in as little as 15 minutes. While this speed makes it ideal for quick touch-ups or large painting projects, you must work quickly before the paint dries.

How to Choose the Right Paint Color for Your Kitchen

How do you know which color will best suit your needs? Here are some tips for picking the perfect paint color for your kitchen. 

Start with a mood board 

The best way to start is by creating a mood board, a collection of images, textures, and colors that inspire you and give you some direction as you select a paint color. You can look through interior design magazines or websites like Pinterest for ideas.

Think about your style goals 

Before you start sifting through swatches, take a step back and think about what kind of atmosphere you’re hoping to create in your kitchen.

Do you want it to feel cozy and homey or bright and airy? Are there specific colors that make you happy or certain hues that bring out the best in your fixtures and fittings? Narrowing down your style goals will help make choosing a paint color much easier. 

Consider how much natural light you have

Lighting plays an important role when it comes to selecting a paint color. If your kitchen is well-lit by natural light, then darker colors will work well since they’ll contrast against the brightness of the sunlight streaming in through the windows.

On the other hand, if natural light is scarce in your kitchen, then lighter hues like white or pale yellow will help brighten up the space without overpowering it. 

Test out paint samples 

Once you have chosen several potential colors, buy sample pots to test each shade in your home before committing. Test out each sample on different walls to get an accurate idea of how they look under different lighting conditions throughout the day and night.

Consider your personal preferences

Lastly, don’t forget to factor in personal preference when selecting a paint color for your kitchen. After all, it will be your space, and you should be happy with how it looks and feels.

6 Preparations to Consider Before Painting Your Kitchen

Painting your kitchen can be a great way to give it a makeover without breaking the bank. However, there are some steps you should take before you start painting. Here’s how to properly prepare your kitchen for a new coat of paint and what items you’ll need to gather beforehand. 

1. Choose your tools – Gather your paint supplies before you begin. Depending on the finish you’re looking for, you may need a roller, brush, and/or sprayer to get the job done. Be sure to have drop cloths or tarps available in case of accidental spills.

2. Prepare the room – Take the time to properly prepare the room for painting. Remove furniture, dishes, and other items from the kitchen so that you have a clean workspace. Cover any surfaces you don’t want to be painted with painter’s tape or drop cloths to protect them from paint splatter.

3. Clean the walls – Once your surfaces are cleared, it’s time to start cleaning them. This can involve anything from wiping down countertops and cabinets with a damp cloth to scrubbing walls with soap and water. Before starting your project, ensure all surfaces are clean and free of dust, grease, grime, and mildew. 

4. Prepare the walls – Before you pick up the paintbrush, ensure your walls are in optimal condition. Patch any holes with joint compound. Once dry, use sandpaper to make a smooth finish before filling cracks with caulk.

Finally, wipe down all surfaces using a damp cloth for a sealed surface prior to priming or painting. This ensures that every spot is flat and completely free of imperfections.

5. Prime – To guarantee your walls receive even coverage, be sure to apply a coat of primer prior to painting. If you’re using oil-based paint, opt for an oil-based primer. Allow the primer ample time to dry before starting the painting process.

Joshua Milton

I want to share everything I know about home improvement in order to help you. Whether you're a home enthusiast or an industry professional, I have the information that you need.

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