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  • Writer's pictureTyler Johnson

Factors to Consider When Choosing Paint for Cabinets

Updated: Aug 29, 2022

Freshly painted white kitchen cabinets

One of the most cost-effective ways to breathe new life into your kitchen décor is to renovate the kitchen cabinets. Kitchen cabinets catch the eye as soon as people step into the room.

New cabinet colors can turn a drab kitchen into an exciting focal point for your interior design scheme.

The best paint for cabinets depends on many factors, such as:

  • The amount of natural light

  • The layout of the kitchen

  • The amount of traffic in the kitchen

  • Renovation cost

Know Your Paint Options

Before developing a design strategy for your kitchen remodel, consider the full range of paints. There is no one specific type of paint that is perfect for all homeowners. Success in interior design often involves being bold enough to go beyond the conventional to find the ideal solution for your unique circumstances.

Paint Type

Each type of paint has its own characteristics. Even if the color looks perfect on the side of the can, choosing a paint more suited to exterior surfaces or other rooms in the house could result in the wrong look.

Talk to a professional designer for a detailed discussion of paint for cabinets and their application to your kitchen.


Enamel is a long-lasting, low-maintenance cabinet paint material that can withstand dynamic kitchen environments without developing unsightly scratches.


Gray side kitchen cabinets

Water-based latex paints are common for interior cabinets. One advantage of latex paints is that they have lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), potentially toxic chemicals. If you frequently cook in your kitchen, use non-toxic building materials and paints.


Alkyd paints are preferred for glossy finishes, mainly when durability is a high priority.

Hybrid Enamel

Water-based paints with alkyd resins have many benefits over enamel paints, such as durability. They also release lower concentrations of VOCs.


Sheen refers to the extent to which the paint has a smooth surface and reflects light. Low-sheen paints are rougher and scatter light, while paints with higher sheen have a smoother surface that reflects light more, giving the paint more of a shine.


Flat paints have a very low sheen. The rough texture hides blemishes, but the paint won’t be pristine for long unless you treat your kitchen like a museum exhibit. Use flat paint for your kitchen ceiling but avoid it for the surfaces you use often.


Matte paint gives you the stark look of flat paint but is more durable. If you don’t cook every day, matte paint can be a stylish look.


Satin paints and glossier paints are good color choices for bright colors and kitchen areas with a high risk of stains.

Color Choice

Array of different color cabinet doors

One of the first questions that homeowners ask when they start to plan a kitchen remodel is which color to use. Do not make the decision lightly, as it might be harder to redo the paint for cabinets after completing other design elements such as the backsplash and fixtures.

Monochromatic Color Schemes

Black, white, and grey color schemes reflect modern aesthetics. This meshes well with the stark lines and angles of minimalist lacquered furniture or the sleek curves of the computer age. A modern style is an effective counterpoint to naturalistic earth tones or the bright colors of a child’s play area.

New construction and refurbished houses often use a neutral gray color scheme to appeal to the widest segment of home buyers.

Warm Colors

Splashes of red, orange, and yellow bring vibrancy and energy to the kitchen. Together with browns, warm colors suggest prosperity. They catch the yellow color of natural sunlight, candlelight, and incandescent light. Choose warm colors for your kitchen cabinets if cooking is a lively, family affair.

Cool Colors

Blue kitchen cabinets are a good choice for people who cook and bake to relax and contemplate culinary perfection. Navy blue is one of the most popular color choices. Blue suggests sophistication, wisdom, and the fluidity of water.

Factors Affecting the Optimal Cabinet Paint Choices

Kitchen with white and gray kitchen cabinets

Once you have a clear sense of interior design fundamentals, you can apply design principles to your project. Keep track of the constraints and goals for your project when you decide on your paints.


Flat paints have less luster, making their appearance less bright, especially when there is a lot of natural light. In some cases, a more subdued color works well, particularly if the kitchen is part of an open concept with a formal aesthetic or in situations where light reflecting off the cabinet is unappealing.

Low-sheen paint conceals brush lines or other flaws, but the rough surface texture makes it harder to clean. Some people prefer the feel of flat or satin paint.


Glossy paints cost more than flat paints in most cases. However, the smoother texture means that they will be easier to clean. So, you can save time and energy (and money from having to repaint) if splashes from cooking stain your kitchen cabinets.

For durability, add more than one coat of paint for cabinet surfaces or paint slower if you use a power sprayer. The additional coat of paint will increase durability.

Resistance to Scratches

Consider who will be using your kitchen. If you plan on cooking with your young children, hosting large parties, or have an enthusiastic cooking style, be sure that your paints can stand up to the challenge.

So, What Is The Best Paint For Kitchen Cabinets?

Overall, latex, glossy, and high-sheen paint finishes are more scratch-resistant and easier to clean. However, some paints with lower sheen have enhanced scuff resistance.

It mostly comes down to your lifestyle, the color scheme you want, and how glossy you want your cabinets to look.

Finding Paint in Baltimore, Maryland

If you live in the Baltimore, Maryland, area, call Aurora Painting for professional knowledge of paint and interior design. You can use our knowledge to help decide what paint and paint colors best suit your kitchen and lifestyle.

Fill out our contact form to speak with a design professional from Aurora Painting about paint for cabinets or any other paint job you have in mind.

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