Should I Select a Gloss or Matte Cabinet Finish?

When renovating your new kitchen, cabinet finishes is probably one of the last things you would give thought to (if any), after deciding on the colours, handles, and styles. Maybe you didn’t even know there was a decision there to make. Nevertheless, we have you covered. Get in touch with one of our interior designers to discuss what cabinetry finishes are available in the materials and colours you want.


What is a gloss finish?

It is a shiny finish that reflects light (which is why white gloss kitchens are so popular and most requested). This style is more suited to a contemporary style kitchen with flat cabinet fronts.


What is a matte finish?

It is a finish that does not reflect ANY light and looks flat. This is perfectly suited for more traditional style kitchen cabinets that have routed fronts.


No matter what material you go for, you are able to select the finish of the cabinetry. There is a choice to be made between gloss, matte or semi-gloss for the finished look. Read our break down of the advantages and disadvantages for both glossy and matte cabinet finishes, the top tips on where and how to use them and when you may want to use a semi-gloss finish.

(Image Source: Character Cabinets Showroom)




  • It reflects light - making the space feel bigger and more open than it actually is (the paler the colour, the higher reflection of light! That is why white is the most popular shade for this)
  • It resists moisture - making the finish perfect for bathrooms where there are constant steam and condensation
  • It is simple to clean - a microfibre cloth can easily pick up any dust sitting on the surface



  • Due to the high gloss finish reflecting so much light, fingerprints, dirt and scratches are more noticeable if they are not wiped down often
  • Tiny imperfections (i.e scratches, fingerprints) are more noticeable on dark coloured gloss finishes than on paler coloured gloss finishes


Top Tips

  • Reflections on gloss cabinets are more visible on higher cabinets than below kitchen benchtops as they are more at eye level
  • If you have your heart set on high gloss cabinets but you are concerned about noticeable fingerprints, choose a high gloss finish on your upper cabinets and matte or semi-gloss for your lower cabinets


(Image Source: Swanbourne Photo Gallery)




  • Fingerprints, scratches and other imperfections are far LESS noticeable than on gloss finishes
  • Colour of matte finish cabinets look more consistent than gloss finish cabinets due to the fact there is no light reflection


  • Matte finishes absorb light rather than reflecting it, resulting in a more muted look
  • They are not as simple to clean as the surface is not as smooth as opposed to a gloss finish
  • Oil and smudges are not as easy to remove and are more apparent
  • You cannot buff out scratches


Top Tips

  • Select a door with a simple profile as it will cast different shadows on the cabinet fronts creating depth
  • Combine two colours/shades together to create contrast and a point of interest


Do you still feel like neither of these finishes will fit in with your kitchen? Semi-gloss is also an option. With the combination of the pros from both gloss and matte finishes, this finish reflects some degree of light, but as it is SEMI-gloss, it's not as highly reflective. You will also notice fewer fingerprints and is easy to wipe clean just like a gloss finish!


(Image Source: Rossmoyne Gallery)


(Check out the full article here, written by Kitchen designer at Kitchens by Kathie, Anne Ellard)

If you are looking to renovate your kitchen, bathroom or any space in your home, be sure to go here and contact us to speak to one of our friendly team members.