What are the pros and cons of gloss kitchens?

Embarking on a new build, decorating your forever home, or just wanting to update your current property? You’ve probably already started looking at kitchen designs. As the heart (and stomach) of any home, it’s crucial to get the kitchen right – your cabinet choices will affect the whole look.

Upgrading an old kitchen is a big decision, especially if you intend to purchase an entirely new kitchen. In fact, it’s a series of big decisions, with so much to think about that it can become overwhelming. For example, is a gloss or matt kitchen the best choice for a modern kitchen?

The important thing is to weigh up the pros and cons of a design before committing to anything. To help you understand why a high gloss kitchen could be the best fit for your home, we’ve compiled a guide explaining the pros and cons of high gloss kitchens and how to get the most out of them.

What is a high gloss kitchen finish?

High gloss kitchens first came into fashion back in the 1970s as an ultra-modern style. They’re the opposite of matt kitchens, which have a dull surface – high gloss has an even shine that reflects light around the room. As the name suggests, it’s a high level of sheen. For something in-between, semi-gloss or satin finishes offer more shine than matt without being as super-reflective as gloss.

High gloss kitchen cabinets are coated with lacquer, acetate, or acrylic to achieve that glossy finish. Most high gloss cabinets are made by building up thick layers of lacquer or paint on a wooden or MDF base. Sometimes, a PVC laminate is used as a cheaper alternative. It’s possible to get gloss doors made from coated metal, polished glass, or solid acrylic, though less common.

When using lacquers, multiple layers of paint and sealant are applied using a compressed air paint sprayer. Exposure to air causes the lacquer to cure and set into a smooth and glossy surface. At Kitchen Warehouse, our high gloss kitchen doors and units are made in Italy with melamine-faced chipboard (MFC) and high-quality lacquer, also benefitting from German soft-close hinges.

Advantages and Disadvantages of High Gloss

gloss kitchen advantages disadvantages

Advantages of high gloss kitchens

It’s undeniable that high gloss kitchen cabinets have immediate visual appeal; they can transform a tired kitchen design into a modern masterpiece with very little effort. A gleaming kitchen with clean lines is the dream for many, and this is how a high gloss finish can help to achieve it:

• Always in style

Worrying that creating a contemporary kitchen will soon be an outdated trend? While trends come and go, true style is eternal, which is why staple designs like high gloss remain ever-popular over time. Sleek and elegant high gloss kitchens offer both physical durability and style longevity.

• Brighter and bigger

The primary selling point of high gloss cabinets is that they reflect more light than other finishes. Like subtle mirrors, they bounce light around the room and make it much brighter. This has the effect of making the space look and feel larger and more open, which is ideal for smaller kitchens.

• Easy to clean

Nobody wants to spend hours meticulously scrubbing their kitchen. You’ll be glad to know that slick lacquered surfaces are waterproof, making it harder for grime to stick and easier to clean it off. All you have to do to remove splashes and smudges is wipe them down with a soft damp cloth.

• Variety of colours

Aside from luxurious light enhancement and straightforward maintenance, high gloss kitchens also have the benefit of being available in a wide selection of shades. Whatever your preferred colour scheme might be, you’re sure to find a high gloss colourway to suit your interior design plans. We offer a selection of colours at Kitchen Warehouse, from neutral greys to bold blues.

Disadvantages of high gloss kitchens

It’s easy to boast about the positives, but everything has a downside – so what are the negatives about high gloss kitchens? While their reflectivity is one of their greatest strengths, it can also be a source of their greatest weakness – light reveals all. Here are some common issues with gloss:

• Smudges and scratches show up more

With more light reflecting from cabinets and counters, any smudges or stains on the surfaces will be very obvious. While dark matt surfaces can hide a multitude of sins, dark colours are even worse for showing up marks on gloss. This isn’t ideal if you have small kids with sticky fingers.

• Frequent wiping to keep surfaces clean

Since marks are more visible on high gloss, you need to wipe them off as soon as you spot them before they accumulate. This can be annoying if you’re constantly leaving fingerprints on the doors, but at least it’s a quick fix – especially if they’re handleless. Just a quick wipe, with no fiddly edges.

• Colours can constantly look different

The thing about light is that it changes throughout the day. From natural light levels following the movement of the sun to switching on artificial lights in the evening, the amount of light and its direction will affect how you perceive colours. Direct sunlight can also cause ‘UV fading’ over time.

• Generally higher price points

High gloss cabinetry requires specialist treatment, applying layer after layer to build up a quality lacquered finish. It also takes time to dry and harden. This production process often translates to higher prices for high gloss than for other finishes – but not always. At Kitchen Warehouse, we offer high gloss kitchen units and high gloss kitchen doors at competitive and affordable prices.

How to design a modern high gloss kitchen

design a high gloss kitchen

High gloss kitchen design tips

Interested in upgrading your current kitchen? The Kitchen Warehouse team always recommends taking a personal approach when designing your dream kitchen. This means taking your tastes and resources into account, then selecting complementary pieces to create the space you imagined.

If you’re not sure where to start, your budget and the existing design style throughout the rest of your home should inform your initial decisions. We’ve put together some tips to help you make the best possible choices. Here are the things you need to consider when designing a gloss kitchen:

• Choose colours and textures carefully

High gloss cabinets can steal the show, so it’s best to incorporate them as the stand-out feature of your kitchen and go simple for the walls and floors. Many people prefer a classic, crisp white for a modern glossy kitchen, but you must make sure that it’s UV-resistant to avoid eventual yellowing.

Most gloss kitchens follow a monochrome style, perhaps with splashes of colour from appliances or accessories. You can either coordinate or contrast; using different colours for base and wall unit runs or a contrasting worktop makes a stylish statement. Don’t be afraid of mixing textures, either.

You could even combine matt and high gloss for practical and aesthetic purposes. Matt is useful for base cabinets, with gloss on wall cabinets where pets and children can’t reach. That said, if light is directly shining on them, marks can be more noticeable on high gloss cabinets at eye level.

• Consider light sources and layouts

The solution to ensuring that too much light isn’t glaring off the cupboard doors and revealing non-reflective dirt is to plan your kitchen lighting properly. The kitchen layout and the window/lighting positions can make or break a high gloss design, so calculate these factors into your choices.

To make the room look brighter without feeling too plain and empty, it’s a good idea to use dark colours on base units and light colours on wall units rather than the same shade throughout. Avoid harsh overhead lighting or spotlights; soften the glare by implementing diffused kitchen lighting.

You need the light to spread throughout the kitchen uniformly for the gloss to look its best, so light fittings should be as symmetrical as possible. Consider task-based and ambient lighting solutions, like downlights underneath upper cabinets above the worktops, and plinth lights along the base.

• Maximise hidden storage for a minimalist look

A high gloss kitchen won’t look high-end if every surface is covered in clutter, reflected back everywhere you look. The point of this style is to have clean and sleek lines, which means most of your kitchen items should be out of sight when they’re not in use. This requires smart storage.

Ways to maintain the seamless glossy look include choosing handleless doors, built-in appliances, and items in complementary finishes and accent colours if they’ll be on display. Avoid using anything with a complex pattern in your décor – do you want it to be repeated in the reflections?

To achieve a minimal yet still cosy Scandi-style kitchen, keep exteriors as simple as possible, while maximising interior cabinet space for storage. Genius space-saving solutions like drawer inserts and pull-out mechanisms help to keep the kitchen tidy, so you can enjoy its uninterrupted shine.

• Seek inspiration from kitchen experts

If you’re reading this blog, then you’re already in the right place to receive expert advice on high gloss kitchens! However, it helps to look at examples of completed kitchens to understand what you definitely do and don’t want. This could be browsing photos online or visiting showrooms.

Should you be in the Ripon area, or not adverse to a drive through scenic Yorkshire villages, you can come and visit the Kitchen Warehouse showroom in Hutton Conyers. You can find us at Hutton Moor Farm, HG4 5LZ – our doors will be open from 9am to 6pm throughout the week, and 10am to 3.30pm on Saturdays. When you pop in from Monday to Saturday, our team will be happy to help.

We can show you examples of high gloss kitchens in person, from colour samples to what our cabinets look like when they’re installed. Our knowledgeable team members can also discuss your ideas with you and suggest budget-friendly solutions, like replacement kitchen cabinet doors.

High Gloss Kitchens: The Verdict

high gloss kitchens worth it

Are high gloss kitchens worth it?

After reading this blog, you’ll hopefully know more about whether a high gloss kitchen is worth it for you. The basic questions you need to ask yourself before committing to high gloss cabinets are:

  • Do you want a modern and polished kitchen, or a more understated look?
  • Are there small children in your home who are likely to touch the cabinets a lot?
  • Is frequent cleaning a dealbreaker, even if it’s only a quick wipe-down each time?

As we’ve discussed, things like well-positioned lighting and mixing shades and textures for upper and lower cabinets can help to prevent the problems of visible marks (which require more frequent cleaning) and colour inconsistency. The choice is yours – it all comes down to personal preference.

Where to find high gloss kitchens

Whether you’re upgrading your kitchen doors or embarking on a complete renovation, you can find all the high gloss kitchen fittings you need at Kitchen Warehouse. Achieving this upmarket look doesn’t have to drain your finances – our prices start from as little as £9.54 per door or drawer.

We take pride in helping our customers to transform their kitchens at a fraction of the cost they expect, without compromising on durable quality. Our wide range of kitchen unit types ensure that you can find exactly what you’re looking for to complete your new high gloss kitchen makeover.

If you need more advice on our product selection or would like to request a high gloss sample, get in touch and we’ll happily discuss this with you. Just give us a call on 01765 640 000, fill out our online form, or send an email directly to contact@kitchenwarehouseltd.com, and we’ll be in touch.