Is Flat or Matte Paint Good for Kitchen Cabinets?

If you’re looking to give your kitchen a facelift, painting your cabinets is one of the quickest and most affordable options. So is flat or matte paint a good choice?

Flat and matte paints should be avoided when painting kitchen cabinets. This finish can hide small imperfections, but it is more likely to scratch and scuff than other finishes. Also, grease or food splatters will become embedded in the surface, making them harder to clean off easily.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • The drawbacks of using flat and matte paints
  • The 3 best finishes for kitchen cabinets
  • How to choose the right color

4 Reasons Why Flat and Matte Paint Isn’t the Best Choice


Compared to finishes such as satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss, flat and matte paints have limited durability, making them more vulnerable to the wear and tear experienced by kitchen cabinets.


The appearance of flat/matte paint on kitchen cabinets can be quite dull. Even when applied properly, this finish lacks the luster and sheen that many people want for their cabinet doors and drawers.

Semi-gloss and high gloss paints will give your cabinets a more contemporary look with added depth and clarity that flat finishes cannot provide.  

Low-light reflectivity

When it comes to flat and matte paint, one of its major drawbacks is the lack of light reflectivity. As opposed to reflecting more light into your kitchen and making it look brighter, this kind of paint absorbs most of the light instead. This creates the illusion that the space is smaller than it really is.


Finally, one of the main issues when it comes to flat paint is that it can be difficult to clean. The porous nature of this type of finish means that dirt and grime can easily accumulate in corners and crevices.

This makes it hard to remove without harsh chemicals or abrasive scrubbing brushes, which could further damage the finish.

For this reason, many people choose glossier finishes instead since they are easier to keep clean and tend not to show fingerprints as easily as matte finishes do.  

Specially Formulated Flat Paint for Kitchen Cabinets

Traditional flat paints have been used in homes for many years; however, they are not the best choice for kitchen cabinets.

Flat paint is notoriously difficult to clean and its lack of durability means that it can be quickly damaged by moisture or wear and tear. This can leave kitchen cabinets looking faded, scuffed, and looking tired. 

Fortunately, modern advances in paint technology have created specially formulated flat paints. These are specifically designed with better durability and resilience in mind.

Unlike regular flat paint, these special formulas feature superior protection against scratches, fading, and mildewing.

Homeowners who choose to use specially formulated flat paint can expect a longer life span of their paint job compared to traditional flat paints.

This type of paint also typically boasts greater washability, ensuring that any smears or drips during cooking can be easily wiped away without causing any damage or discoloration.

Furthermore, most specially formulated paints come in numerous colors and hues, allowing you to truly customize the look of your kitchen cabinets while still having the assurance of robust protection. 

The 3 Best Paint Finishes for Kitchen Cabinets


High-gloss paint stands out among all cabinet finishes as it creates an ultra-sleek look with its brilliant shine.

This coat of paint gives cabinets a glossy appearance that’s highly reflective and adds impactful visual appeal to any kitchen space. It also provides lasting durability against scratches, scuffs, and even water damage.

The main downside to this type of finish is that it can be too reflective for some people’s tastes. It can also create too much contrast with other materials, such as stainless steel appliances. 


Semi-gloss paint is the perfect compromise between matte and high-gloss finishes for kitchen cabinets. It reflects enough light to create depth in the paint color’s hue but still provides a subtle sheen that won’t overpower the design of your kitchen.

Semi-gloss also offers great durability against wear and tear while resisting moisture more than matte finish paints.


Satin is a popular finish for kitchen cabinets and other wood furniture because it creates a smooth, subtle luster. Its low-sheen finish has a luxurious look, making it an ideal choice for modern and traditional styles.

Satin is also durable, resisting scratches, scuffs, and stains better than finishes with lower levels of shine. Its slight sheen helps to hide fingerprints and dirt compared to matte finishes that can reveal every smudge.

How to Choose the Right Color for Your Kitchen Cabinets

Finding the perfect color for your kitchen cabinets can be manageable if you know what to look for. Let’s dive into how to pick the best color for your kitchen cabinets. 

Consider your existing kitchen

The first thing you should take into account is how your existing kitchen looks. From there, you can start creating a theme or a color palette that will suit your current kitchen aesthetic and appliances.

Analyze your lighting 

Take note of the amount of natural and artificial lighting in your kitchen. This will help you determine which colors will work best for your cabinets.

If you have plenty of sunlight, bold hues can look stunning. However, muted tones are better if your space has less natural light.

Choose colors that you love 

Although analyzing design elements and lighting should be taken into account when painting your cabinets, ultimately, you want to choose a color that resonates with you emotionally and captures your style.

Don’t be afraid to go bold with vibrant hues or subtle with neutrals. You can always use lighter or darker shades of any color that appeal to you, so don’t feel you have to stick to certain boundaries when selecting paint colors.  

Test out the color

Once you’ve narrowed your options to just a few colors you like, it’s time to test them out. Get some sample paint swatches and tape them up in different spots throughout your kitchen so you can get an idea of how they’ll look once they’re painted on the walls and cabinets.

Be sure to let the samples sit overnight before making any decisions so you have time to see how they look in different types of lighting throughout the day.

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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