The Paint Finish You'll Want To Avoid Using In The Kitchen

We can't wait for the "Star Trek" food replicator to be invented. In the show, characters got food and drinks on demand simply by telling the replicator what they wanted. The closest we've gotten to that is a microwave — but a microwave won't saute tarragon chicken breasts. Instead, you've got a stovetop, and cooking in the open air with oil, food, and heat means two things: yummy home-cooked meals and food splatters. This fact should directly impact how you paint your kitchen walls since paint with a flat or matte finish makes cleaning up food messes a nightmare. 

Oil spatter, fruit juices, and even little pieces of lettuce flung onto a kitchen wall with a flat finish are highly noticeable because flat paint absorbs light — anything else on its surface besides the base color stands out in bold relief. The ability of flat paint to absorb light may hide your wall's textural imperfections, making it great for ceilings, inside closets, and other low-traffic areas. However, paint options that offer more shine are far easier to clean, making them a no-brainer for your kitchen remodel project.

Here are some facts about paint and finishes

If you use a sponge and even a gentle cleanser to clean up food on a kitchen wall that has a flat finish, you might rub the paint away, creating a dreaded bald spot. Flat paints are more porous than glossier finishes, and usually, they're not formulated to be cleaned. That's problematic in a kitchen where home-cooked meals are prepared with love.

Although different manufacturers may use slightly different names, the categories of available paint finishes are pretty universal: flat, matte, eggshell, satin/semi-gloss, and gloss. Each one has a bit more shine and durability than that which precedes it. So to be able to easily wipe grease, food, and smudges off your kitchen walls without ruining the finish, you could use either a satin or a semi-gloss finish or opt for something even more glossy. As for semi-gloss paint, some use it for walls, while others prefer it for kitchen cabinets and backsplash since it's easy to wipe down.

Certain homeowners fall in love with the suede-like appearance of flat paint. If you fall in that camp, we recommend flat enamel paint, which won't reflect too much light. However, it's fairly durable, better at handling moisture than regular flat paint, and suitable for kitchen walls. Or consider eggshell as a less shiny option that's far easier to clean than flat or matte options.