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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Matte Countertops and Cabinets

Once a trend starts to gain traction, you’ll see it everywhere you look. Design sites tend to showcase them in galleries. Something may look so good that you might consider adding it to your kitchen.

If you’re interested in remodeling your kitchen, you’ll need to be wary of trends. Sometimes, a homeowner can convince themselves that a trend is something they want. However, trends are essentially psychological tactics. By seeing something in pictures repeatedly, you familiarize yourself with something you don’t have, and therefore, condition yourself to want it.

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Will a Matte Countertop or Cabinet Finish Be Suitable for Your Kitchen?

Matte countertops and cabinets are popular trends that have dominated the world of kitchen design. Some homeowners that did not jump on the trend wonder if that finish was a worthwhile option for their home. Matte finishes were a popular option in 2020, and matte finish cabinetry continues to generate buzz today. By getting a better understanding of trends that have caught your attention, you will be better educated to make choices that are suitable for your particular lifestyle – particularly if you are partial to kitchens that come with little maintenance and cleaning requirements.

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Matte Finish Advantages

Matte finishes for countertops and cabinets have been in existence for quite some time now, but really started making headway around 2012. They are regarded as “modern” and chic. That is quite ironic because shine and gloss are indicators of kitchens that are more contemporary. Clearly, a “trend” factor is at play here.

Can You Conceal Anything with a Matte Finish?

Because a high-gloss finish will reveal smudges, scratches, and stains quicker than others of its kind, a matte finish will be a worthwhile option for homeowners that aren’t interested in frequently cleaning cabinet surfaces. Finished products look very smooth and instill a soft/satiny feel, which, in turn, produces a natural and subtle look. This type of finish is not light reflective, unlike gloss, making you think that it will mask imperfections, which we will elaborate on later.

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Can Texture Be Created by a Matte Finish?

Homeowners with open floor plans or large kitchens are allured by matte cabinetry finishes. They may believe that large glossy cabinetry expanses can reveal excessive gloss if shared between dining, living, and other areas in the home. For kitchens with extensive shine and gloss, a matte finish on a countertop (honed) or cabinet can add some textural difference, too. It will produce a sleek and mesmerizing appearance that adds sophistication to a room.

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Matte Finish Disadvantages

A matte finish will not reflect too much light, which can camouflage certain things. Matte cabinetry finishes can hide grime, dust, and general smudges, more so than glossy or polished finishes can.

Conceal, Yes. Prevent, No.

A matte finish will not be able to prevent these kinds of issues. Rather, it makes them a lot less prominent. Pet smudges and oily/greasy fingerprints will show up from time to time, and might be hard to conceal if they are not very easy to clean, as you can see in the picture below.

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Creating an Illusion of Spaciousness

If you have a small kitchen, then a matte cabinet might not be a suitable option for you. That is because it will absorb light, as opposed to reflecting it. Therefore, it won’t make a space feel or look bigger. If that is what you are striving for, then a matte finish won’t be for you. Look for other options if you want to make small spaces look and feel much bigger.

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The Ugliness of Matte Finishes

Sanitation won’t be a picnic when it comes to matte finishes. Nobody wants to allocate time to cleaning, but it is necessary. Unfortunately, the sanitization of a matte surface isn’t as straightforward and easy as semigloss or glossy finishes tend to be.

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A Matte Finish Will Be Much Harder to Sanitize

While bumps, smudges, and scratches may not even show up, they will be hard to get rid of if they do. Cleaning smears or greasy fingerprints is easier said than done when it comes to a matte surface. Worse, the labor involved in cleaning them could leave streaks and other types of evidence behind. Matte finishes might absorb stains, too, making it troublesome to completely eliminate. Further, while the science and literature that support matte finishes say that they do not show up as much, our clients tend to disagree – they claim to clean their cabinets a lot more frequently, more so than they did when they had glossier finishes.

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Bottom Line

Have a realistic and honest conversation with a kitchen designer to choose a finish that is practical for kitchen use and your lifestyle in general. Perhaps a semigloss finish – compromising shine to simplify sanitation – is a middle ground better suited for your kitchen.

Suggestions for Matte Finishes

If you are considering a matte finish, you might find the following suggestions helpful, as far as decision-making and maintenance go. If a matte finish is being selected for a cabinet, then consider going with shaker style doors. The design and cut will add depth while creating contrast within the space. You can also combine a couple of colors to produce focal points. Lastly, microfiber cloths should be used to sanitize the surface. They won’t scratch your surfaces and will retain the sharp look at your kitchen.

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Are you interested in working with a designer that will be upfront and honest with you? Book a consultation today with HSM, and let us go over some of your design ideas with you.

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