A Guide to Kitchen Finishes and Why They Matter

January 11, 2017
Posted in Kitchen


We keep hearing it, but it’s true. The kitchen really is the heart of the home. If you are embarking on a kitchen redesign project, you’ll be thinking about all sorts of design aspects from storage through to lighting and perhaps most importantly of all, what type of finish your new kitchen should have.

When it comes to styling (and that goes for anything from kitchens and bathrooms to designer outfits), it’s the finishing touches that really matter. The finish you choose for your kitchen really is the icing on the cake.

A kitchen redesign can be one of the trickiest home improvement projects to get right. There needs to be a whole host of practical matters addressed in the kitchen, and that includes the practicalities of keeping your kitchen looking at its best on a daily basis. What type of kitchen finish you choose should take into account your style preferences as well as your functional needs.

Dakota Murphey, independent content writer consulted with interior design specialists Halcyon Interiors, for the different types of kitchen finishes on offer to help you decide which one would suit you best. Finish really does matter. It’s the style statement of your home.

Getting started

Working with a kitchen designer is probably your best bet unless you know exactly what you want and you have a keen eye for design. Most good kitchen designers will go through a thorough design process with you. They’ll get to know you and make sure your individual style and all of your functional needs get built into the design. A kitchen designer will also advise you on the types of kitchen finishes available and what may suit you and your home best.

There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to choosing a kitchen finish. Be aware that the finish you choose can have a dramatic effect on the overall appearance of your kitchen. You’ll need to consider the worktops, as well as the cabinets. And you’ll want it to fit in with the overall style of your home.


Open plan living

Open plan living has been a recurring trend for over a decade. It’s still a preferred living design option, with the lost intimacy and cosiness of separate rooms recreated through clever design. Different colour shades and finishes are being used to define spaces and differentiate the living space from the food prep area. Choose colours and finishes that work well in combination. Sleek simple finishes with handleless furniture are great options when integrating the kitchen into the living space.


Classic or contemporary?

The overall style of your home will probably dictate your choice of kitchen. If you live in a contemporary apartment, you probably won’t want a classic style. Vice versa, historic buildings may not lend so much to an industrial, contemporary style.

Classic traditional styles can’t still have a modern edge. Shaker-style kitchens with handleless cabinets are proving popular. Equally contemporary designs can be tempered with a classic elegance. Be mindful that with open plan living you’ll want to choose a style that blends with the rest of your space. With clever design you can combine aspects of both classic and contemporary. There are no rules.


Matt or gloss?

Choosing a matt or gloss finish on cabinets and surfaces will largely depend on the overall style of your kitchen. High gloss gives a glorious gleam, but fingerprints and marks can be problematic, and not so practical if you have small children.

Darker colours in high gloss also show imperfections and finger marks more prominently. A compromise could be to use high gloss finish on higher cabinets, while using a matt or semi-gloss finish on lower cabinets. If you have your heart set on a dark colour gloss finish, consider mixing it with a lighter colour.

High gloss lends itself well to contemporary designs. It’s also a great reflector of light so can make smaller spaces appear roomier. Matt finishes don’t reflect light and give a flatter more muted feel. Matt finishes work well in both traditional and contemporary designs, but are especially suited to traditional and country-style kitchens.


Textured finishes

Textured finishes can create a real style statement and offer something different. Slightly structured surfaces work well on laminate cabinet doors when trying to create a wood effect. Textures can be used to accentuate a particular area of your kitchen. It’s a versatile option in any kitchen design.



Glass surfaces are an increasingly popular choice. Offering a scratch resistant, stain proof and durable template, glass surfaces can be tempered in matt or gloss finishes. Bespoke designs and different colour options make this a great choice in any modern kitchen. Matt glass surfaces with satin finishes are hugely popular and bang on trend.

Multi-lacquered, high gloss versions give a remarkable shine and have a cool elegance about them. Glass surfaces work well in combination with other finishes to create a contemporary edge.



Ceramic fronted doors and worktops are highly durable, scratch resistant and incredibly stylish. Ceramic finishes offer a distinctive aesthetic and this material is virtually indestructible. With subtle variations in its finish, it gives a unique feel to any kitchen. It’s a bold choice and can give a truly prestigious status to your kitchen redesign.



Wood brings a touch of class and nature into any kitchen. Wood exudes warmth and brings a real cosiness into the home. Wood can be used to create both contemporary and traditional styles. It’s a great choice in open spaces as it blends seamlessly with living room furniture.

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On trend combinations

Combining wood and high gloss can give a wow-factor touch. With open plan living staying firmly on trend, there’s a greater scope for mixing and contrasting materials and finishes. Wood-effect finishes and smoke glass doors are making a stylish appearance.

Blending textures, tones and finishes is a truly exciting aspect of kitchen design. It’s a magnificent way to make a style statement. Contemporary kitchens lend well to acrylic polymer surfaces, which can be joined seamlessly and moulded into limitless forms. Concrete is another modernist choice, giving a contemporary, industrial look.

With so many finishes to choose from, your kitchen is an exciting blank canvas on which to stamp your very own style. Be bold and go for it.


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