Is Semi-Gloss Paint Good for Kitchen Walls?

No one wants to have a dull and lifeless kitchen, but with so many paint options out there, how do you know which sheen is best?

Semi-gloss is an excellent choice for kitchen walls. Its protective sheen provides extreme durability, while its moisture-repellant nature keeps grease and splatter away. And with how easy it is to clean off, semi-gloss will provide you with a long-lasting finish that’ll stay looking great in any kitchen.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • The pros and cons of semi-gloss in kitchens
  • How semi-gloss compares to other finishes
  • Whether you need to prime your kitchen walls

4 Benefits of Using Semi-Gloss Paint on Your Kitchen Walls

Semi-gloss is one of the best paint finishes for kitchens. Here is a list of the 4 reasons why.


Semi-gloss paint has a much higher sheen than most other interior paints. This makes it more resistant to water and other liquids, which is great for kitchens that are prone to splashes and spills.

Easy to clean 

Semi-gloss paint is known for its durability, making it ideal for areas where there might be a lot of wear and tear, such as kitchens.

It’s easy to clean, so any food splatters or spills can easily be wiped away without damaging the finish. A damp cloth is all you need to clean semi-gloss paint.


When used on kitchen walls, semi-gloss paint can add a subtle shine and depth that makes your kitchen look more elegant and inviting.

The slightly glossy finish can also help hide any minor imperfections in your walls, giving them a polished look that brightens up your entire space.

Bring attention to design elements

In addition to making your walls look more inviting, semi-gloss paint can also be used to bring attention to any design elements you may have in your kitchen.

By highlighting textured or decorative features on the walls, semi-gloss paint can help make them stand out and give the room a unique, custom feel.

3 Drawbacks of Using Semi-Gloss Paint on Your Kitchen Walls

Although semi-gloss paint is a great choice for kitchens, it’s not without its drawbacks. Here are a few reasons why you might want to consider an alternative.

Light reflection and glare 

The high sheen of semi-gloss paint can cause light to reflect off the walls and create glare. If you have bright colors in your kitchen, this may be something to consider before opting for semi-gloss paint.

Imperfections are more visible

Another thing to keep in mind is that semi-gloss paint will highlight any imperfections in your walls. If they have bumps, dents, or cracks, they’ll be more visible with a semi-gloss finish.

Brush strokes are also more visible with semi-gloss paint, so it’s important to make sure your walls are properly prepared before you begin painting.

Touch-ups are difficult

Finally, touch-ups with semi-gloss paint can be tricky. If you try to patch up an area of your wall with semi-gloss paint, it may not match the existing finish and could end up looking much shinier than the rest of the wall. This is something to consider before taking on a painting project in your kitchen.

How Does Semi-Gloss Paint Compare to Other Finishes?

Ultimately, the choice of paint finish for your kitchen walls will come down to personal preference. But here’s a quick rundown of how semi-gloss compares to other finishes.


The most noticeable difference between high-gloss and semi-gloss paint is the amount of shine that each one has to offer. High-gloss paint has a very glossy finish that reflects light, while semi-gloss paint has a softer sheen with less reflection.

Durability-wise, both high-gloss and semi-gloss offer good protection from wear and tear, but using high-gloss paint in the kitchen tends to provide better protection. Its surface is smoother than semi-gloss, making it harder for dirt or liquids to stick.

Both are washable and can be easily wiped clean, making them both perfect for kitchen walls. However, both semi and high-gloss paint require careful preparation prior to application because any imperfections in the wall will be highlighted by its reflective finish.


Painting a kitchen with satin paint will provide a softer luster than a semi-gloss finish and won’t produce reflections in low light. However, satin does need more coats for full coverage.

This added cost can be worth it for a uniform finish and look that is still flexible and tough enough to handle the wear and tear associated with an active kitchen.

Semi-gloss is also tougher than satin but may not have as good of a coverage when applied. This means that it may need additional coats, which can be more time-consuming and costly.

Satin is also relatively easy to clean, and touch-ups are often not necessary because any imperfections in the original application will likely not be noticeable.

Semi-gloss paint has a much glossier finish than satin, which produces subtle reflections when exposed to even low natural light.

However, because of its glossy finish, semi-gloss is much easier to clean as dirt and liquids are less likely to stick to the surface.

Flat, matte, and eggshell

Flat, matte, and eggshell paints have a much less noticeable sheen than semi-gloss paint. They are much more forgiving when it comes to imperfections in the walls as they won’t reflect light as glossy finishes do.

They also require fewer coats of paint for full coverage, and touch-ups are often not necessary since any imperfections in the original application will likely not be noticeable.

However, due to their lack of shine, they won’t be able to handle scrubbing as well as semi-gloss paint would and will require more frequent touch-ups.

These types of finishes may not be suitable for areas with high humidity, such as kitchens, as they tend to absorb moisture more easily.

Kitchens Need a Special Primer

Primer acts as an adhesive, helping the paint stick to the wall and preventing it from peeling off over time. This added layer of protection is especially important, especially if you live in a humid area where moisture can easily seep through.

Even with all-in-one paint and primer products, it is highly recommended that you use a separate primer for maximum longevity. 

When choosing a primer for your kitchen project, look for formulas specifically designed to resist mildew growth. You can even find primers with added mildewcide additives, which will help guard against any potential damage due to high levels of humidity.

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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