BlogThe Pros and Cons of a Matte Cabinet Door Finish

April 18, 2023

The Pros and Cons of a Matte Cabinet Door Finish

An important decision in designing your custom kitchen is to clarify what type of cabinet door finishes will best suit your own personal style and work best with your kitchen space and layout. The kitchen gets used every day, and you should enjoy spending time there. Give the question some real thought and try to see examples of the different finishes before committing to one. 

There are so many options to choose from today. If you prefer something different than the standard high gloss or wood finish, matte kitchen cabinets could be just what you are looking for.

If you are remodeling your kitchen, new cabinet doors can bring life back to an outdated kitchen look. It's possible to completely change the personality of your kitchen by replacing the cabinet doors. Matte finishes are popular today, and they might just fit your needs perfectly.

Here are some considerations.

Materials  Used for Matte Kitchen Cabinets

There are two popular choices for matte cabinet doors, and there are some good reasons to choose one over the other. Continue reading to see the differences between laminate doors and painted cabinet doors. 

1. Laminate Cabinet Doors

Laminate doors are formed from thin layers of compressed plastic that create a solid surface. They can mimic the look of a variety of wood grains and can also be made in flat white, black, or a variety of colors. 

This is a great choice if you like the look of traditional wood with the added advantage of easy care. The matte finish can make them almost indistinguishable from real wood. This is an advantage that glossy finishes don't always have. 

Laminate cabinet doors are sturdy and water-resistant. They are easy to clean and retain their good looks for many years.

They might be the best choice if you like the look of wood, but low maintenance is one of your deciding factors. 

2. Painted Cabinet Doors

Traditional wooden millwork doors can be painted in nearly any color. This gives the designer a lot of leeway in creating a unique kitchen look. 

There's no end to the number of ways that color can be used in the kitchen. Two or more complementary or contrasting colors can be used to create a one-of-a-kind kitchen. The cabinets can blend into the walls, or they can stand out.

Both acrylic and polyurethane paints give some protection against scratches and fingerprints. Polyurethane is a little bit shinier, and acrylic is a little bit more resistant to scratching. 

Advantages of a Matte Finish on Kitchen Cabinets

A matte finish absorbs light instead of reflecting it. This looks more natural in a rustic kitchen, and it also works very well in modern-style kitchens. It's a versatile choice that blends into many styles. 

It also has a way of making a space feel warmer and more inviting. We spend a lot of time in our kitchens and too much shine can be hard on the eyes. The glare from glossy cabinets can be uncomfortable after a while. A matte finish gives the kitchen a calmer vibe. 

Some other advantages are worth looking into. Here are the ones most mentioned by consumers.

Matte Finishes Are Better at Hiding Fingerprints

Kitchen cabinets get opened and closed a lot. Fingerprints show up on shiny surfaces more than on matte surfaces. Unless they are greasy fingerprints, you won't need to be wiping those prints off all the time. Regular cleaning will be sufficient to keep your cabinets looking good. 

And scratches aren't as apparent on a matte surface, either.

Matte Finishes Give a Textured Look

Without a little texture, kitchens can look sterile and clinical. The textured look of matte cabinets is subtle but makes a real difference in how a kitchen feels. 

If you are going for a cozy look, matte cabinets are the way to go. It's just a more relaxing and inviting look than the high gloss alternative. 

A matte finish on Shaker-style cabinet doors adds even more of a textured feel because of the shadows created by the panels. That can break up a large expanse of cabinet which can look commercial. 

Another way to add texture to your kitchen cabinets is to be intentional with the hardware you choose. Hammered brass hinges or colored glass drawer pulls make statements. You can choose what statement to make with such a seemingly simple choice. 

They Define Your Space

While glossy cabinets can make a small kitchen look larger, matte does not have to mean dark. Consider how color affects the illusion of room size before committing to a darker matte finish. 

At the same time, matte finishes can add depth and weight to a large space. In an open floor plan, they visually separate the kitchen from the other areas of the living space. 

An inviting kitchen can draw people in when you are entertaining. Let your guests know where the action is happening by using color and finish to define the kitchen area. Make it welcoming. It's a kitchen, not a laboratory! 

A Few Disadvantages of Matte Cabinet Doors

Some people just prefer the reflected light of glossy cabinets. Others think matte finishes are boring. While those things are a matter of preference, there are only two small disadvantages to using a matte finish in the kitchen, both of which are related to those fingerprints mentioned above.

Concealment, Not Prevention

Although fingerprints are harder to see on a matte surface, they will still accumulate with use. It's nice to hide them during a dinner party, but they will need to be cleaned off. The sooner you do so, the easier it will be. 

Children and pets are notorious for leaving grime on the lower cabinet doors. But because those things are not glaringly apparent, as they would be on a glossy surface,  you may require a little more attention to detail while cleaning up. 

But just like any other cabinet doors, your kitchen cleaning schedule will depend on how many people and pets access your cabinets, and how messy they are. 

Matte Finishes Can Be a Little Harder to Clean

Routine kitchen cleaning is just good housekeeping. Touching up high-use areas regularly can keep fingerprints under control. A good all-purpose cleaner and a little bit of elbow grease should be all that's needed. Choose one that's safe for your laminate or painted doors. 

In comparison to glossy cabinets, the matte finish may need a little bit of scrubbing from time to time. The natural qualities of the finish leave tiny crevasses on the surface which can attract dirt and grime.

Kitchen grease can also build up on cabinet doors, especially over and around the stovetop. A regular quick swipe with the dishrag can go a long way toward preventing grease from setting.


The choices you make in designing your kitchen should be the ones that bring you happiness. You should love the colors and the surfaces that you spend time with every day. There are a lot of good reasons to go with matte kitchen cabinet doors. 

Your personality can shine through with the custom colors that you choose. Dare to be a little different! Get creative. Make the space truly yours. 

Your practicality will be evident in the warm and inviting space you create. Everyone loves to gather in the kitchen. Make yours a special place to create happy memories by choosing all the details with an eye toward both beauty and usefulness. 

Upkeep isn't that hard. Matte finishes are generally low maintenance. You won't need any special equipment or chemicals to keep your cabinets clean and looking good. Here are a few tips to guide you. 

Tips To Keep Your Matte Cabinet Doors Looking Great

  1. To avoid scratching the surface, use a microfiber cloth with warm, soapy water to clean up before grease and fingerprints have a chance to stain the doors.
  2. Dry with a soft cloth when you finish cleaning. 
  3. When more cleaning power is needed, use an all-purpose cleaner that is safe for your surfaces.
  4. Scrub carefully with a non-abrasive sponge. "Eraser" style sponges are micro-abrasive sponges and can ware down any finish quickly. Be sure to avoid these on your cabinetry. Be sure to rinse well with water and then dry with a cloth. It doesn't take much time to do it right. 
  5. Use your exhaust system when cooking to minimize the amount of grease that gets on the cabinets. Cook on medium heat when frying with oil, and use splatter guards. 
  6. Areas around the sink and stove will need more frequent cleaning than lesser-used cabinets. Clean up drips and spills as they happen. 
  7. On matte doors, you may need to clean an entire door to avoid leaving streaks on the surface. It only takes a few seconds to do a thorough job. 
  8. Be careful not to scratch the surfaces. But it's not the end of the world when it happens. Accept that a well-used kitchen over a decade may have a few imperfections. 
  9. Use your kitchen with pride! Nothing says home quite like a well-loved and often-used kitchen. Don't be afraid to make it a working kitchen. Matte-finished cabinet doors can take it. 

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