It’s the ultimate clash of styles – matt versus gloss kitchen. Should you go for the bright sheen of high gloss or the restrained elegance of matt?

History is marked by great clashes of taste, the Beatles versus Elvis, North versus South, East versus West and of course – gloss versus matt kitchens. At stake will be the final look and feel of your kitchen. Both options will have their advantages. Which one you choose will depend on your situation, your own tastes and what you’re looking to achieve.

Whether you love the look of a smooth handle-less high gloss kitchen unit, or want to enjoy the traditional shaker kitchen with a matt finish, there are a wealth of kitchen options available. But what should you choose based on your kitchen layout, preferences and style choice?

First, let’s look at the various strengths of each approach.

The benefits of matt kitchens

benefits matt kitchens

There are those who characterise matt as being the grown-up cousin. While gloss paint is shiny, and reflects light, matt finishes do the opposite. They absorb light and, in the eyes of some, will provide something of a more elegant finish. Matt finishes might contribute to a darker overall look to a kitchen which will be a turn off for some, but don’t let that make you miss it’s many upsides.

As with everything in life, though, beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder. What seems plain to some will be elegant, sophisticated, and professional looking to others. A matt finish kitchen will be smooth providing an even block of colour that looks uniform and solid from any angle. Surfaces will look cleaner and smoother than a surface which is reflective. It’s a crisp and bold look that can be the basis for a strong and dramatic kitchen design.

And for those who yearn for a minimal and sophisticated look, our matt acrylic kitchen units offer a made to measure product that can fit in any space.

Just because it will not reflect light in the same way as a gloss kitchen doesn’t mean it has to be dull. A matt kitchen can be light and vibrant, especially if you use brighter colours that compliment each other. For example, you can take bright red, yellow or blues to create a rich palette of strong, even, colour across your kitchen.

For a more refined approach, you could try blending whites, blacks or greys to enhance edges giving the kitchen more depth. As matt kitchens become more popular, designs are becoming more flexible adapting to fresh visions. While previously this might have been seen as a more functional alternative, the only real limit is your imagination.

And there’s no need for matt to feel “flat”. Take a look at our matt textured kitchen units, which offer an array of different materials and feels. From our Magma steel units which entice the eye with their metallic sleek and minimalistic design, to the stunning matt textured driftwood kitchen units which bring a sense of nature into your kitchen space.

magma steel matt kitchen

Added to this, you might want to consider how a kitchen will look with daily use. While pictures of glossy kitchens in magazines and brochures look great, in reality, it may not stay that way for long – especially if you have a growing family. People are going to use those shiny surfaces; food and drink is going to get spilled on them and children are going to bump into them. Wear and tear is inevitable and with some types of gloss finishes that can be a problem.

Reflective surfaces will highlight every bump and scrape in a way that matt will not. That light absorbing quality many people were turned off by really comes into its own by hiding the stresses and strains of life as a working kitchen.

In the long term, matt will be easy to clean, last longer than gloss and will have fewer maintenance requirements. All you need to do is wipe everything down and minor imperfections will be hidden from view.

Indeed, our ultra matt kitchen units even come with anti-stain and fingerprint technology which ensure that are low maintenance and perfect for everyday life.

The downside of a matt kitchen

Despite all this growing interest, however, matt may always struggle to win over its critics. There will be those who will always feel it is the blander alternative to a gloss kitchen. For those who like to make real statements with their interior design, matt may suggest that one simply went for the easier option.

Although it will look elegant and uniform, it does absorb light making the entire environment feel gloomy and somewhat claustrophobic. When comparing the same space in matt versus gloss, the gloss version will almost look lighter, more friendly, and larger.

The benefits of gloss kitchens

High Gloss Acrylic Woodgrain Kitchen Doors

Where high gloss really comes into its own is in the design. The real reason people use this is because of its look. It’s bright, shiny and reflects light all around.

And there’s no need to keep it neutral. Think jet black gloss kitchen doors nestled alongside a glossy worktop, or even stunning Silverwood which matches a wood effect with an ultra high gloss finish, providing a sleek and sophisticated element.

Surfaces are coated with lacquer, acetate or acrylic to produce an iconic glossy finish. Alongside the lacquer multiple layers of paint and sealant are applied using a compressed air sprayer. When exposed to air, this lacquer cures and creates the shiny glossy surface which has become so popular.

High gloss kitchens became popular during the 70s and have stayed with us ever since. Although matt finishes have evolved in recent years and attracted their followings, gloss will always have its fans.

Its standout feature is that shiny reflective surface which creates an impression of light and space. The surface will bounce light around the room which has the effect of making it feel brighter and larger. It’s a good option for anyone who is looking to make the most of the space they have and create a room which is as bright and pleasant to be in as possible.

Thanks to it’s reflective qualities, gloss kitchen doors are often the choice for smaller kitchen spaces where you need to induce a feeling of space where there may be less available.

With the light absorbing matt, on the other hand, the walls close in, the space feels darker and smaller.

gloss acrylic vs matt acrylic 2

Gloss is also incredibly flexible. It can come in any shade or colour and can be applied to just about any material. Depending on what shades you use, the various aspects of the kitchen can stand out in different ways. For example, people might use bright whites to create something light, airy and futuristic or glossy blacks to create feelings of strength and power. Combining the two can fill the room with stark and interesting contrasts. Gloss is often used to make features like cabinets stand out even more than they already do or to enhance certain features.

Alternatively, you can use colour throughout the room to create a range of bold and inspiring designs. As tastes evolve, designers are becoming bolder with their designs splashing kitchens with exciting dashes of colour to create eye catching displays.

The downside of gloss kitchens

Gloss can be a little high maintenance. Although cleaning is relatively easy and smudges can be cleaned easily with microfiber cloths, it’s not particularly forgiving for bumps and scrapes. If you have young children in the house, therefore, you might want to pick a finish which is a little more durable and won’t display its wear and tear on its sleeve in quite the same way.

Gloss, therefore, will be with us as long as people are using kitchens. Even so, it comes with its drawbacks. The inevitable implication of surfaces which show up scratches and imperfections is that you’ll spend more time cleaning and maintaining the surfaces. For those with busy families it will be a constant battle to safeguard their precious kitchen designs from their children.

Gloss finishes are also usually more expensive than matt and will never look uniform. The reflective surfaces, by their nature, change depending on the lighting and the angle you’re looking from. For many people, this will be a positive bonus. Others, though, will be not so keen which is one reason why some are moving to the more reliable and even colours of matt.

Which to choose

colours go with grey

The final choice will be down to you and your own tastes. The traditional view has been that matt is the simpler, cheaper and lower maintenance option. It requires less cleaning, hides scratches well and lasts longer. For those whose kitchens will be undergoing heavy workloads, therefore, matt kitchens might seem the obvious choice. Gloss kitchens, on the other hand, are seen as the more glamorous cousins – willing to show a bit of leg and catch the eye. However, with designs evolving, attitudes are changing. Matt is attracting a growing and increasingly loyal following.

Both styles are popular in many homes, and what works for you will depend on how you like to use your kitchen, your personal tastes and potentially the kitchen layout.

If you have an open plan space, take into account how the finish you choose will work with your other furnishings, such as dining tables, free standing furniture and your soft furnishings such as your sofa.

The best of both worlds?

Of course, if you have an eye for design, there is no need to choose between the two. Layering textures and materials has been growing in popularity for years in kitchen design. If you want to introduce an enticing element into your kitchen style, why not opt for both? Consider how you can use both gloss and matt finishes in different areas of your kitchen, creating both “light and shade”.

Think gloss kitchen doors with an enticing matt kitchen island finish. Or consider textured matt finishes for base units while gloss rules above in your higher units.

Find your dream kitchen

Whatever you choose, here at Kitchen Warehouse we offer a wide range of both gloss and matt kitchens. Browse our ranges to discover your ideal finish.

Want to update your kitchen but on a budget? Why not consider simply replacing your kitchen doors? We have a superb collection of both high gloss and matt kitchen doors which you can use to upate your look without having to for out for a whole new kitchen.