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Pros & Cons of Matte Cabinets and Countertops

By: Carrie on Apr 13, 2017

A few months back we posted a blog about Trendy vs. Timeless Kitchen Design. It's hard to resist trends because design websites splash them around in picture-perfect galleries where flowers never wilt, kids clean up their messes and there's nary a water spot to be seen.

The problem with this is that homeowners become convinced that certain trends are exactly what they want - when, in fact, it's only a matter of having seen the same trend over and over again in pictures.

Are Chic Matte Cabinet & Countertop Finishes Right for Your Home?

Matte cabinets and countertops are a good example of a trend that has taken the kitchen design world by storm - and left several homeowners behind - wondering whether a matte finish was really the best choice for their household.

Before making any final decisions on kitchen selections, it's always a good idea to familiarize yourself with "the good, the bad and the ugly." That way, you'll be prepared for any potential "cons," or will have the opportunity to choose a different selection that works better for your lifestyle or - especially if you prefer a kitchen that is lighter on cleaning and maintenance requirements.

The Good

First, we'll start with the positives.

Matte cabinets have been around for a while but they started making serious headlines about five or so years ago. They're considered chic and "modern." This is ironic since gloss and shine are also marks of more contemporary or modern kitchens - so you can see how "trend" factors are in play here.

Since high-gloss finishes are the quickest to show stains, smudges or scratches, matte finishes became popular for those who don't want to clean their cabinet surfaces as often. In a kitchen that has lots of gloss and shine, matte finishes on the countertops (called honed) and cabinets can be a way to add a little textural difference as well.

Homeowners with larger kitchens or open floor plans are also drawn to matte cabinet finishes because they feel large expanses of glossy cabinetry can be "too much" gloss when shared between living, dining and (potentially) living areas.

The Bad

Matte finishes don't reflect as much light, and this can work as a camouflage of sorts. So, the public story is that matte cabinet finishes hide more of the dust, grime and general kitchen scurfuffles than polished or glossy finishes. The problem is that, as a kitchen remodeling company who sees the before-during-and-afters of these finishes, we're not so sure that's entirely true.

It seems as if the greasy and oily genre of fingerprints and pet smudges might even show up more - or at least that's the case when you try to clean them.

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The Ugly

Cleaning matte finishes is not as easy or straightforward as cleaning a glossy or semi-glossy finish. While the initial smudges, bumps and scratches might not show up as readily to begin with, they're more difficult to eliminate when they do show up.

Cleaning greasy fingerprints or smears is tricky on matte surfaces because it's hard to do without leaving streaks or other evidence behind. The matte finish may even seem to absorb the stain, making it difficult to eliminate completely.

Also, while the literature and science behind matte finishes says they don't show as much, some of our clients feel the opposite is true - and that they're cleaning cabinets more often than they have in the past with previous, glossier finishes.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is to have honest, realistic conversations with your kitchen design team to ensure you choose finishes that make sense for your lifestyle and kitchen use.

It may be that a semi-gloss finish - that meets in the middle in terms of shine but is still easier to clean when compared with matte - is a safe middle ground.

Want to work with a kitchen designer who will be honest and up front with the good, the bad, and the ugly about potential kitchen design ideas? Schedule a consultation with Kitchen Magic.

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