Satin vs Semi Gloss Cabinets

To paint your kitchen cabinet, there are many considerations to keep in mind. What kind of hardware do you need? What type of paint do you prefer, oil-based or latex-based? What style of kitchen cabinetry will you choose for your home?

For your cabinet doors project, you’ll need to choose a paint color in addition to the other design options.

Painting kitchen cabinet is a great way to update the look and feel of a room, regardless of whether you’re trying for long-term durability or an appealing aesthetic.

Here, we’ll discuss the three most prevalent paint finishes for kitchen cabinetry: gloss, matte, and satin or semi gloss. This Kitchen Infinity article compares their advantages and disadvantages, giving you an idea of which finish is best for your kitchen cabinets.

Gloss finish

High gloss, often known as “100% gloss,” is a smooth, shining finish that will reflect light throughout the space and transform your kitchen cabinets into eye-catching focal points. When this style of kitchen finish became popular in the 1970s, it remained popular for decades to come.

The gloss has a lot of advantages.

There are numerous advantages to using a high-gloss finish. Small spaces benefit greatly from this type of flooring since glossy surfaces bounce light around the room and make it appear bright and spacious no matter how tiny it is. Mirrors in small rooms can create an illusion of space by reflecting light. It reduces surface imperfections too.

As soon as the first coat is dry, you’ll see it!

This color is the most popular of all the gloss colors because it maximizes light refraction in the kitchen. 100% gloss paint finishes, which have an almost futuristic aspect depending on the design, are particularly frequent in contemporary designs.

A semigloss paint/finish for your painted cabinets is the greatest option if you are looking to create an airy, spacious kitchen that is both eye-catching and a good choice. With the right lighting and colors, it’s probably the most stunning and impressive-looking finish for kitchen cabinets.

The drawbacks of glossy surfaces.

Even though semigloss paint is beautiful and dazzling, it is subject to chipping, breaking, and deterioration far more frequently than other finishes. The topcoat isn’t enough!

Regardless of whether you chose water-based or oil-based gloss paint, imperfections and scratches will be evident on gloss-painted cabinets. Cleaning them without harming the paint finish is also a challenge, making this a poor choice for low-upkeep kitchen cabinet designs.

Gloss and children don’t get along.

Gloss cabinets can still be used on higher-up cabinets away from curious hands and paws if you have youngsters or pets. However, be aware that gloss kitchen cabinets might appear sticky and fake if they are applied incorrectly.

For my kitchen cabinets, should I apply a glossy finish?

For folks who don’t have dogs or children to clean up after, glossy kitchen cupboards are great. The gloss might be an excellent choice for a kitchen if you want it to appear airy, light, and roomy.

When it comes to choosing kitchen cabinets, some people examine the contrast between the gloss surface and their favorite nonstick pans, which are frequently on display in the kitchen.

Matte Finish (Matt Finish)

According to where you live, this type of finish is referred to as matte or matt if you prefer a less reflective surface. Many modern and transitional kitchen cabinet designs use pastel-colored matt paint to great effect.

The advantages of using Matte

To begin with, matt paints allow you to explore and mix up your colors while painting kitchen cabinets.

With matt paint, you can have a vibrant kitchen without putting your eyes out of the joint!

Traditional, country and transitional kitchens all benefit from matte finishes. These wood paints can be used in a variety of ways, regardless of whether they’re oil- or latex-based. High-traffic areas and houses with small children or pets benefit greatly from matt finishes because scuffs and grime are less obvious on these surfaces.

Matte finishes have a calming effect on the atmosphere of your kitchen. They provide your home’s interior design decor with an entirely new look.

The drawbacks of using matte

It’s possible to make matte finishes look dreary and monotonous if you aren’t careful. When painting all of your kitchen cabinet doors with two coats of matte paint in the same color, it can look boring.

It’s all a matter of time and practice!

If your kitchen is small, to begin with, matte finish can exacerbate the problem. It’s not a good idea to make your kitchen appear small to make it appear more spacious when you put your house on the market in the future. Matt paint may make a small kitchen feel claustrophobic if two coats are applied.

The matte finish can look dreary if you’re working with mostly flat kitchen cabinetry. Shaker-style cabinets with recessed wooden surfaces that cast natural light and shadows on their doors can benefit from matt paint as a workaround.

Satin Finish/satin paint (Eggshell)

Satin and semi gloss, often known as eggshell, is a matt-like texture with a hint of the paint sheen. With a pearl-like gloss reminiscent of an eggshell, satin paints provides a silky smooth appearance (hence the other name). For a truly regal look, you can give your kitchen cabinet set a unique, regal appeal.

Satin finishes Advantages

It’s possible to achieve a flat-looking paint pattern without the space looking too dismal by using both satin paints finishes, which reflect more light than matt kitchen cabinets. Using both satin paints on the kitchen cabinets helps to provide a sense of depth without going overboard or making it obvious.

A thick coat of this multipurpose paint isn’t to be overlooked!

Homes with children or pets, kitchens that are prone to spills or have a high volume of foot activity benefit greatly from these types of finishes. When used in conjunction with the appropriate cabinet hardware and fittings, satin paint, which has a semi-gloss finish, maybe a stunning kitchen cabinet finish.

Satin finishes drawbacks

Satin paint has the drawback of requiring the PERFECT application to avoid looking bad. Satin paint has a pearl-like gloss designed to provide a rich and exquisite appearance. It will look a thousand times worse if this flat or eggshell paint is done incorrectly than if the paint was matte, for example.

As a result, skilled painters are required to apply eggshell finish paints to your kitchen cabinet doors in a precise and blemish-free manner. After all, you wouldn’t want to ruin your cabinet with visible brush strokes!

When painting my kitchen cabinets, should I use a satin finishes or a closely resembles flat paint color?

Choosing a satin paint finish for your kitchen cabinets is the perfect option if you want to experiment with color while maintaining an air of sophistication and vibrancy. It’s advisable to go with raw wood or anything else instead of a painted finish if you have children or can’t hire a professional painter.

Semi-Gloss Finishes/semi gloss paints

Semi-gloss may be the most common finish for kitchen cabinets, regardless of the type of kitchen you’re designing. For those who want semi gloss paints that is neither too glossy nor too flat, this half-shine, half-flat paint is a great option for semi gloss finishes and semi gloss paint.

Cons of Semi Gloss paint

Light-reflecting properties allow it to help make a room appear larger and brighter without going excessive and irritating your eyes. A wonderful option for those who wish to make a room appear larger while also experimenting with bold color palettes that would look garish and tacky in a high-gloss setting. A little too much gleaming wood might be overpowering.

It is easier to maintain uniformity of color and lighting in your kitchen when you choose semi gloss paints instead of flat paints. That is to say, the light bouncing off of your custom kitchen cabinets does not reflect in a variety of ways (which could make the space seem off-putting).

Benefits of Semi-Gloss paints/semi gloss finish

Even though high-semi gloss cabinets are a popular choice in kitchens, this can also be a drawback. If you’re looking to sell your house, these cabinets won’t do anything to distinguish your house from the competition. We have to be honest with each other!

When it comes to painting your cabinets, semi-gloss is the safest and most appetizing option, but glossy or flat finishes might be more striking. If your house is already very colorful and you want to soften the look of your kitchen, you might want to give a couple of coats of this paint a try.

When painting my wood kitchen cabinets, should I go with flat paints or semi-gloss paint?

For wood cabinets, this “best of both worlds” finish is ideal if you want a well-balanced, safe look that will last the test of time. Remember that your house won’t ever be “dramatic” or “eye-catching,” so look for alternative ways to draw people in.

Coating Kitchen Cabinets with the Best Clear Coating

What about the best clear coat for your cabinets now that we’ve looked at a variety of finishes?

As a refresher, a clear coat is a sort of paint, lacquer, or polyurethane that protects painted wood, makes it more durable, and provides a long-lasting shine. Polyurethane, lacquer, and clear coat paint are some of the most common clear coats, but there are many others.


For the kitchen cabinetry, oil-based polyurethane is a preferred clear base one thick coat. This oil-based polyurethane protects painted wood for a long time at a low cost, even though it takes some time to dry.

Protecting wood paint with oil-based paint polyurethane is a great way to ensure its long-term durability. It’s possible to salvage a bad paint job with a good polyurethane coating by professional painters


Lacquer, a term that is frequently misunderstood in the woodworking business, is a high-gloss protective coating for cabinetry. In the case of wood cabinet designs, lacquer is particularly important since it makes the wood appear bright and “healthy,” if that makes any sense.

Depending on the sort of wood you’re using, applying a clear finish to an entire set of wooden kitchen cabinets might either look stunning or tacky.

Questions and Answers regarding the Best Kitchen Cabinet Finishes

Are Satin finish or Semi-Gloss Cabinets Better?

Given the popularity of satin finish and semi-gloss as cabinet finishes, it’s understandable that consumers would like a clear winner in this debate. Satin or semi gloss are both durable paint for glossy surfaces and hides imperfections.

When it comes to creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere in your kitchen, an eggshell finish is an ideal option for you. It is also simpler to keep clean and better able to conceal scuffs and other hides imperfections.

What about the paint that has the best appearance of durability?

Oil-based paints may be long-lasting, but that doesn’t mean they look it. Perhaps an oil paint that isn’t too slick or glossy would be best for those who have pets, small children, or dirty spouses to contend with.

As a result of their lower absorb light refraction, matte and satin finish surfaces tend to hide more dirt and scratches better than glossy ones.

Use oil-based matte and satin finishes for kitchen cabinet painting if you want long-lasting paint that won’t show flaws. Semi-gloss may also be an option for you.

Satin and semi gloss are great options for fairly durable brush marks or brush strokes.

Final Thoughts

Which Paint Finishing Technique Is the Most Effective?

Indeed, there isn’t a single “best finish” for kitchen cabinets; it all comes down to your personal preferences in terms of design, durability, and how quickly your white cabinets will become dirty.