What Sheen is Best for Kitchen Cabinets?

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When remodeling or updating your kitchen, one of the important decisions you’ll have to make is what sheen for Kitchen Cabinets. The sheen of your kitchen cabinets not only affects their appearance but also their durability and ease of maintenance. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to decide which sheen is best for your kitchen. In this article, we will explore different sheen options for kitchen cabinets and help you determine the best choice for your space.

Sheen is Best for Kitchen Cabinets
Sheen is Best for Kitchen Cabinets

What Sheen for Kitchen Cabinets Sherwin Williams Offers

One of the leading paint manufacturers, Sherwin Williams, provides a comprehensive sheen guide for kitchen cabinets. They offer a range of options to suit various preferences and needs. Let’s take a closer look at each sheen offered by Sherwin Williams:


Flat sheen provides a matte finish with minimal light reflection. It gives a smooth and subtle look to your cabinets and can conceal surface imperfections. However, flat sheen may be more prone to staining and may not be the most practical choice for high-traffic kitchens.


Matte sheen is similar to flat, but with a slightly higher light reflectance. It offers a soft and understated look that is popular in modern and contemporary kitchens. Like flat, it can hide surface imperfections but may require more effort to clean.


Eggshell is a low-sheen finish with a subtle sheen that falls between flat and satin. It provides a slightly more polished look than flat or matte while still being easy to clean. The eggshell sheen is a great option for kitchens with moderate foot traffic.

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Satin sheen offers a mid-level sheen that balances durability with ease of cleaning. It provides a smooth and velvety finish and is a popular choice for kitchen cabinets. Satin sheen has a noticeable shine, making it a great option for adding depth and contrast to your kitchen.


Semi-gloss sheen offers a glossy finish that reflects more light, creating a more polished and contemporary look. It is easier to clean and resists stains better than lower sheen levels, making it a suitable choice for busy kitchens. However, the increased shine may also highlight imperfections on the cabinet surface.


Gloss sheen is the highest level of sheen, providing the most light reflectivity. It gives a sleek and modern appearance to your kitchen cabinets. However, it requires regular cleaning to maintain its shine and may not be the most practical choice for everyday use.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Sheen for Your Kitchen Cabinets

Now that we’ve explored the different sheen options, let’s take a look at the factors you should consider when deciding which sheen is best for your kitchen cabinets:

Style and Aesthetics

The sheen of your kitchen cabinets can greatly impact the overall style and aesthetics of your space. If you prefer a more traditional or rustic look, a flat or matte sheen may be the best choice. On the other hand, if you want a modern and contemporary feel, a gloss or semi-gloss sheen can achieve that. Consider the style and design of your kitchen and choose a sheen that complements it.


The higher the sheen, the more durable the finish will be. Gloss sheens tend to be the most durable, followed by semi-gloss and satin. These higher sheen levels are less likely to show wear and tear and are easier to clean. If you have a busy kitchen or young children, a gloss or semi-gloss sheen may be more suitable to withstand daily use.

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Lighting in Your Kitchen

The lighting in your kitchen can affect how the sheen of your cabinets looks. If you have a well-lit kitchen with natural or artificial light, a higher sheen may appear too shiny and reflective. In this case, a satin or eggshell sheen may be a better choice. However, if your kitchen has limited lighting, a gloss or semi-gloss sheen can help brighten up the space and give it a more open and airy feel.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Different sheen levels require different levels of maintenance and cleaning. While gloss and semi-gloss sheens are easy to wipe clean, they may also show fingerprints and smudges more easily. Flat and matte sheens, on the other hand, may be harder to clean and may require more frequent touch-ups. Consider your lifestyle and how much time and effort you are willing to put into maintaining your kitchen cabinets before choosing a sheen.


Another factor to consider is your budget. Higher sheen levels are generally more expensive, and you may need more coats to achieve the desired look. Consider the cost of the sheen, as well as the cost of any additional paint required, before making your final decision.

Best Paint Sheen for Kitchen Cabinets Based on Room Type

Apart from personal preference and functionality, the type of room can also play a role in determining the best paint sheen for your kitchen cabinets. Here are some recommendations based on the type of room:

High-Traffic Kitchen

If you have a busy kitchen with lots of foot traffic and constant use, it is best to go for a highly durable sheen such as gloss or semi-gloss. The higher sheen will also resist stains and grease buildup, making them easier to clean.

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Small Kitchen

In smaller kitchens, it is best to avoid high-gloss finishes as they can make the space feel cramped and shiny. Opt for a lower sheen, such as eggshell or satin, to reflect light and give the illusion of a bigger space.

Dark Kitchen

If your kitchen lacks natural light and feels dark and gloomy, a gloss or semi-gloss sheen can help reflect light and brighten up the space. These higher sheen levels can also add depth and contrast to dark-colored cabinets.


Choosing the right sheen for your kitchen cabinets is crucial in creating a cohesive and appealing space. Consider the style of your kitchen, the amount of use and natural light, and your budget before deciding on a sheen. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and what may work for one person may not work for another. Explore the different sheen options and choose the one that best fits your needs and preferences. With the right sheen, your kitchen cabinets can enhance the overall look and functionality of your kitchen.