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12 different kitchen cabinet finishes for shaker doors

12 Types of Kitchen Cabinet Finishes

Sprucing up your kitchen can be as simple as painting walls or switching up the decor. Still, if you prefer to dramatically improve the aesthetic of your home’s most-used room and give it more personality, exploring new kitchen cabinet finishes is the way to go. 

Visually striking cabinetry can help you have the kitchen design of your dreams. At Current Cabinetry, we have the best selling cabinets in Baltimore, Maryland. Our guide below details the types, benefits, and drawbacks of the top cabinet finishes to inspire your kitchen remodeling project.  

12 Best Finishes for Kitchen Cabinets

Your kitchen cabinets are just one of the many aspects of your home that make it uniquely yours. Elevating your kitchen with new cabinet finishes and hardware will help you get your desired aesthetic. Still, it’s good to be mindful of your budget, material durability, and level of required maintenance before finalizing your cabinet finish decisions. 

Here is a closer look at some finishes you could incorporate into your cabinetry. 

1. Paint

Painted cabinets are some of the most common cabinet finishes. With paint, you can create the perfect kitchen design. Paint finish is available in many colors, so it can match any kitchen style or preference. 

Color isn’t the only factor to consider when exploring paint cabinet finishes. The type of paint you pick will also influence your cabinets’ final look and how it integrates with the rest of the room.

Here are different paint types to consider for your cabinets:

  • Satin: Satin paint has some glossiness but is generally matte. It’s great for hot, humid rooms like kitchens. 
  • Matte: Matte paint contains no gloss or shine since it doesn’t reflect light. Despite giving cabinets a rich color, this paint type won’t smooth the cabinets’ surface, so dirt buildup is common. 
  • Semi-Gloss: This paint is a wonderful choice for bold-colored cabinets. Its dry texture, though, can make scratches and dings more visible. 
  • Enamel: If you want the most durable paint for your cabinets, enamel paint is the top choice. It has a durable, smooth finish that’s easy to keep clean. 

2. Waterborne UV Finish

Some cabinet manufacturers use Sherwin-Williams coatings to create a waterborne ultraviolet (UV) finish. These high-performance cabinets are eco-friendly and visually appealing. After applying the finish, it’ll dry quickly under a UV light to replicate the appearance of painted or stained wood cabinets. 

Some of the benefits of waterborne UV finishes are scratch resistance and minimal volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Since the finish dries and hardens quickly, you can start using your cabinets soon after their upgrade. 

3. Natural

The natural cabinet finish lets the beauty of solid wood shine through to positively impact the kitchen’s aesthetic. To embrace this finish and showcase the natural wood grain pattern in the wood cabinets, you must coat them in a clear protective coating. You can enjoy the benefits of a natural cabinet finish for years, though note that some woods are more durable than others.  

4. Wood Stain

Another way to enhance the appeal of natural wood cabinets is by applying a wood stain. Wood cabinet stains use natural pigments and dyes to create water-based and solvent-based finishes that soak into the wood. As it dries, it alters the wood’s color without hiding its grain pattern. 

Wood stain options are numerous, and they can dramatically alter the look of your cabinets. Fortunately, this finish integrates with the wood, so it won’t peel or chip like paint. 

5. Glazed

If you want to change your cabinets’ texture and color, consider adding a glaze to your cabinetry. Glaze works well when you put it on top of other cabinet finishes like stain or paint because it heightens the intricate details within the wood grain pattern. 

To apply a glaze, brush it over a dried coat of paint or stain, then rub it off. Though the glaze adds depth and richness to your cabinets, it won’t dramatically change its color. Instead, it adds a smooth transparent or semi-transparent glaze over the cabinets and elevates its coloring using a bit of pigment. 

6. Laminate

Laminate finishes offer an affordable way to improve your kitchen cabinets without sacrificing durability. Machines make laminate by pressing and heating layers of paper with resins to increase durability and eliminate unsightly air bubbles. The structure of laminate holds up well to temperature and humidity changes, making it a great option for kitchen cabinets. 

The thin, pressed sheet covers plywood, MDF, or particleboard cabinet surfaces. You can choose between a high-gloss laminate finish or a matte laminate finish for your cabinets and explore many color options. The biggest downside to having laminate-finished cabinets is that the glue holding the laminate to its core could break down and cause irreparable damage. 

7. Melamine

Melamine cabinet finishes are another durable option. To create this finish on pressed wood, plywood, or another hardwood substrate, you have to seal thermally fused melamine resin to the wood’s surface using high heat. This treatment creates a durable, non-porous surface with excellent water and stain resistance. 

The resin contains a paper layer that is totally customizable to feature any color or pattern. Textured melamine finishes have a paper layer with a high-resolution image to imitate the look of natural wood. 

8. Varnish

Many modern cabinets have a varnish finish. The polyurethane-catalyzed varnish consists of resin and oil, and it goes onto the cabinets as a topcoat that increases its durability. If you have natural cabinets, they will need varnish to protect them from moisture and other damage. 

9. Veneer

Like laminates, veneers are a type of finish that adheres to a cabinet’s surfaces. Yet, it consists of thin slices of natural wood, not pressed paper and resin. By using a veneer finish on your cabinets, you can give them a beautiful natural wood appearance without constructing the cabinets with the veneer’s wood species. 

In other words, you could use gorgeous teak veneers to upgrade your cabinets with a natural wood appearance without using teak wood to make the cabinets. 

10. Lacquer

If you love the shine of semi-gloss paint but want extra durability for your cabinets, consider using a lacquer finish. Lacquer is a sprayable or brushable solvent-based paint that dries with a stunning glossy shine. It also produces a rigid coating as it dries, but you have to apply several layers of lacquer on cabinets to get the material’s full effects. 

11. Distressed

Distressed cabinet finishes work well in homes with a rustic or rugged design. By painting and then strategically scraping or sanding the painted surface, you will achieve a distressed look. The aesthetic gives cabinets a chic yet worn appearance. 

12. Acrylic

Similar to lacquer, acrylic cabinets have a glossy finish with a mirror-like effect. It’s a great finish for a high-end kitchen due to its sophisticated look, scratch resistance, and long-lasting shine. The polished surface will show dirt and fingerprints, however, so frequent cleaning is necessary. 

Upgrade Your Cabinet Doors With Top-Tier Cabinets From Current Cabinetry

Whether you prefer paint or stain color or a wood varnish to complement your high-pressure laminate countertops, you can find exactly what you need at Current Cabinetry. As a premier manufacturer based in Baltimore, Maryland, we have an impressive selection of stunning solid wood cabinets available in various finishes. 

At Current Cabinetry, we go above and beyond to ensure our customers get quality cabinetry with the cabinet finishes they want. We also offer free 3D renderings to help you bring your kitchen upgrade ideas to life. Call (410) 609-7077 to book a consultation with Current Cabinetry today. 

Daniel Kermaier

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