white satin lacquer kitchen

Gloss or Matt Kitchen: How do you decide which is best for you and your home?

Gloss or Matt Kitchen?

For some people whether they want a gloss or matt kitchen design is an easy decision and they have an immediate preference for the look and qualities of one over the other. But this is not the case for all! So if you have no immediate inclination based on looks, and like both matt and gloss, how do you decide whether a gloss or matt kitchen would be the best choice for you?

There has been a shift in the market toward matt kitchens, whereas gloss kitchens were previously much more popular.  This change can be attributed to a prevalence of high gloss kitchen manufacturers at the bottom end of the kitchen market, which have largely damaged the gloss kitchens reputation.

Matt grey kitchen

Anthracite matt kitchen with kitchen island

Key to achieving a successful look in both styles is choosing a retailer of a quality manufacturer, for a kitchen guaranteeing high quality timber and production process. Gloss and matt kitchens, as they should, can form the basis of visually stunning designs that are timeless in appearance, easy to maintain, and highly durable. But compromise on quality and you risk a kitchen with less visual appeal, a shorter lifespan and which is difficult to maintain.

So a high quality product is essential for a successful gloss or matt kitchen look within either style. But having established this it returns us to the problem of how to choose between a gloss and matt kitchen finish? An informed decision is essential so it is important to know and understand the nature and characteristics of each:

High Gloss Kitchens

German high gloss kitchen

High gloss cream kitchen. Low level units can appear less glossy depending on light source.

Quality of construction is essential to the kitchen’s appearance but it is also important to recognise that gloss kitchen colours can look slightly different in appearance within different settings. Eye level units usually receive and reflect more light but can also reflect other colours within the room, for example if you include orange lighting, or colour-changing LED lights this will alter the visual appearance of the door. Meanwhile in any kitchen area where the gloss finish is below waist-level it can be difficult to tell if it is gloss or not because there is less light hitting the surface to produce a reflection.

So from the offset it is strongly advisable to seek help from an experienced designer in determining the gloss colour and effect you want, and with establishing complimentary décor and essentially, kitchen lighting to effect this.

Accomplish this, and you will be able to fully appreciate the beauty of the high gloss kitchen! Its appeal lies in the polished lustre of the door’s smooth finish, reflecting light from both natural and artificial light sources for an elegant kitchen shine, and bright kitchen space. But in conjunction with its looks, the gloss kitchen possesses other qualities too:

High gloss kitchen qualities

Metallic gloss kitchen colour

Metallic gloss kitchen colour in Steel Blue

  • Highly polished gloss kitchen doors reflect light back across the kitchen, as apparent in the door’s visible surface reflections. The effect of this is an elegant look but the reflected light also creates the impression of a larger room, particularly within lighter gloss kitchen colours. The smoother the surface and lighter the colour tone, the more light is reflected and the bigger and brighter a kitchen space will appear. For this reason, a white gloss kitchen is the best choice for a small kitchen where it is essential to maximise the space, or for anyone else to whom a light bright kitchen space is a prerequisite.
  • two tone high gloss kitchen

    Dark gloss kitchen in blackberry design glass with contrasting white high gloss lacquer

    Gloss kitchens are available in a wide range of colours including some that are exclusive to gloss such as the metallic kitchen colour range within gloss acrylic or gloss lacquer.

  • The quality of the gloss finish is important within light gloss kitchen colours but of even greater significance within darker colours. High quality kitchen furniture within dark tones creates an impressive shine with deep reflections, but a cabinet of lesser quality risks showing up any surface imperfections. This does not apply to dark matt finishes but it does mean many companies won’t supply dark gloss colours in some of their finishes, so is worth bearing in mind when choosing gloss or matt colours, as well as in consideration of cost.
  • metallic high gloss kitchen colours

    Metallic gloss kitchen in Champagne. Metallic kitchen doors include a subtle shimmer for an elegant finish

    Gloss kitchens are easy to wipe clean with just an e-cloth and water, making them a stylish and practical choice for families, enthusiastic cooks, or pet owners who regularly have to mop up splashes and spills. However gloss finishes can show fingermarks which is something parents should consider. If you anticipate this occurring in your kitchen then a two tone kitchen arrangement with matt or textured base units, but high gloss wall units may prevent this being a problem.  (Please click here for more on how to clean gloss kitchen surfaces).

Gloss Kitchen Finish Materials

Gloss kitchen finishes are widely accessible in a range of materials, colours and prices too. At LWK Kitchens we supply gloss kitchens in Gloss laminate, Gloss Acrylic, Gloss Lacquer and Gloss Glass. The process of manufacture differs for each finish, creating a surface look that varies between materials. How much light is reflected also depends on the material finish and how it has been made, so how ‘glossy’ you want your kitchen to look is also something to think about. (Click here for more information on the manufacture process and properties of different gloss kitchen finishes).

Why choose handleless for a gloss kitchen finish?

Small high gloss acrylic kitchen

Small kitchen in white high gloss handleless finish


If struggling to decide between a gloss or matt kitchen finish it is also worth thinking about whether you want a handled or handleless kitchen, as gloss kitchens are always best in conjunction with the handleless kitchen style! The reason is that handled kitchens attract more dirt as it can gather in and around the handles, making them harder to clean. But what does this have to do with a gloss kitchen finish?

A Handleless kitchen means touching the door surface less frequently as you open by curving your fingers round the top edge of the door and pulling it forward. Essentially this means you aren’t touching the door’s surface, reducing the likelihood of fingerprints on the gloss! Similarly, handleless kitchens are typically nudged or even pushed shut with a knee or foot, so don’t actually require touching the door, meaning the base units will stay clean for longer.

Matt Kitchen Finishes

black matt glass german kitchen

Create a feature for your kitchen using black matt glass kitchen doors!

As with gloss kitchens, quality of construction is one of the leading requirements for achieving a successful matt kitchen design. Within a high quality finish, the matt kitchen can effect one of the most stunning possible looks for a kitchen. As suggested by its name, it differs in appearance from the gloss kitchen because it has a matt surface, absorbing rather than reflecting light, for a muted rather than shiny appearance.

But a lack of shine in no way means the matt kitchen is inferior to the gloss, and it too has many qualities that make it an excellent kitchen option.

Matt kitchen qualities

Grey and white kitchen, matt laminate doors

Grey and white kitchen design in matt laminate finish

  • The look of the matt kitchen can be described as one of understated elegance. The doors have a smooth texture and continuous even colour, creating a sense of refined luxury. The matt kitchen represents a more solid base of colour than a gloss kitchen as it is not dependent on light to maintain its definitive hue. For example, in low lighting the unit won’t appear black but you will still be able to see consistency of colour.
  • Matt doors are available in a wider range of colours than gloss doors, but like gloss, also work in successful combination with other materials and tones.
  • Grey matt lacquer kitchen

    Basalt grey matt lacquer kitchen doors

    The matt kitchen is durable, scratch resistant and like the gloss kitchen easy to clean, but with the added benefit of any fingerprint and smudge marks proving less noticeable.

  • As with gloss kitchens white is the most popular kitchen colour choice and like gloss, but to a lesser degree due to the lack of reflection, white matt tones will also contribute to a kitchen space feeling light and bright. Second to white colours, grey tones are the next most popular colour option within a matt kitchen finish.

Matt Kitchen Finish Materials

Grey matt kitchen units

Anthracite matt finish kitchen units

Like gloss kitchens, matt kitchen finishes are widely available in a range of materials, colours and at varying prices. The process of manufacture differs for each finish, creating a surface look that varies between materials, and holding different visual appeal. At LWK Kitchens we supply matt kitchens in matt laminate doors, matt lacquer kitchen doors, matt glass doors and matt satin lacquer doors. (Click here for more information on the manufacture process and properties of different matt kitchen finishes).

The latter finish, matt satin lacquer is a lesser known kitchen option, and if you still can’t make up your mind between a gloss or matt kitchen then this finish is worth knowing about as it just might solve the problem….

…Matt Satin Lacquer Kitchens

White satin lacquer german kitchen

White satin lacquer kitchen, creating a clean and fresh kitchen look.

The lesser known Matt Satin kitchen finish is only available in a lacquer option and offers a sophisticated compromise between gloss and matt kitchen finishes. With the light reflecting qualities of a gloss kitchen but without the reflection, the result of the satin lacquer kitchen finish is a silky smooth surface, for an understated kitchen configuration of the upmost elegance. Particularly within a white toned kitchen finish the satin lacquer kitchen look is clean, fresh and contemporary.

So is a gloss or matt kitchen best?

Ultimately, whether a gloss or matt kitchen finish is best still boils down to personal preference so it’s really not about what’s best, but what is right for you. Perhaps order a sample of each and place within your new kitchen area so you can draw a comparison, ideally with your chosen lighting in place. It pays to research the differences and understand the different properties, colours and finishes available within both and this should help you reach a decision. Above all, remember that high quality is key; even if not the lowest in cost, it is the quality of the kitchen that will remain when the price has long been forgotten!

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    • says

      Hi, Individually the door samples are very large and heavy, so do you have an idea of what colour you might like?…We have all matt satin lacquer colours on display in our showrooms if you are able to visit? Jen

  1. Kitchen Unit Cabinet says

    There has been a shift in the market toward matt kitchens, whereas gloss kitchens were previously much more popular. This change can be attributed to a prevalence of high gloss kitchen manufacturers at the bottom end of the kitchen market, which have largely damaged the gloss kitchens reputation.

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