To choose the right sheen for painting your kitchen cabinets, first ask yourself, “What is your desired end result?”   It’s all about the look!

High gloss kitchen cabinetsA high gloss finish is very contemporary, slick and high tech looking.  It also is very durable and cleanable.   But, high gloss shows every imperfection in the surface or application.  It requires using a spray gun, it cannot tolerate being applied with a brush.  A high sheen, lacquer like finish takes a lot of effort to make it look smooth.  It is very time intensive and thus more expensive.

And a high gloss sheen is not always the look you want.  It looks rich and fancy – you may want your kitchen to look softer and more casual.

Benjamin Moore Advance  has a high gloss version of their enamel paint that is like oil paint in looks and durability.  (See our blog article for more on why Arteriors does not use oil paint.)

A satin sheen, in our opinion, the best of all worlds.  It is forgiving to brush strokes, so it is less time consuming to apply and therefore less expensive.  You can either use a brush or spray.  A satin finish has a uniform look, with a soft sheen so that it doesn’t look flat.   It is also very resistant to scrubbing, making it a perfect choice for kitchen cabinets.

Satin finish paint

These new paint formulas designed especially for painting cabinets are currently competing to become #1 – with the most important attribute being who can produce a super professional look that levels the best.

The Benjamin Moore Advance paint described above is also available in a satin finish.  Other paints Arteriors has used for kitchen cabinets are Cabinet Coat by Insl-x  and California Paints’ Ultraplate  – these brands only come in a satin finish because they believe it to be the best sheen for the purpose.   For example, most factory finishes for cabinets is in a satin sheen.   A satin sheen is more friendly on the eye and on the user of the product.  These two companies don’t even do high gloss.

There is one more option in our paint box – a Matte finish is gorgeous.  Traditional matte paint is not durable enough, so we came up with using one of the cabinet specialty paints mentioned above, and then applying a top coat of Benjamin Moore Stay Clear Flat water based urethane.

When you want an antique look, like an old piece of furniture, a matte finish is appropriate.  We have used it on distressed looks, like this island, to give it a furniture quality look.  The Stay Clear Flat dries to a beautiful, hard finish with a slight sheen.  It’s designed to be a floor sealer so you are guaranteed it to be very durable as a top coat.

Painted and distressed kitchen cabinetsIn addition, to achieve success in painting kitchen cabinets, it’s important to not only use the right paint but also meticulous prep and the right primer.  The new coats of paint need to adhere strongly to the existing finish in order to be durable and long lasting for many years to come.  You can read more about our kitchen cabinet painting process here.

Contact Arteriors today at 508-655-1942, and turn your old kitchen into a brand new look!