The kitchen is one of the most used areas in any home. The kitchen cabinet plays a major role in defining the overall style and aesthetics of this space. In recent times, high gloss cabinets have become a popular choice for modern kitchen designs. However, their distinctive ultra-shiny finish has certain unique attributes compared to traditional matte or satin cabinet surfaces. Whilе thеir mirrorеd appеarancе adds drama and sophistication, thе glossy, non-porous coating dеmandscarеfulmaintеnancе to rеtain its pristinе look. Thеrеforе, it is important for homеownеrs to do a thorough еvaluation of both pros and cons bеforеsеlеcting high gloss cabinеts.

Modern kitchen with sleek high gloss cabinets and stainless steel appliances

What is a Gloss Finish?

A gloss finish in the realm of kitchen cabinets refers to a high sheen, mirror-like surface that dramatically enhances the aesthetic of your kitchen. Technically, this finish is achieved through a meticulous process of applying either a lacquer, paint, or a laminate that reflects light, creating a vibrant and luminous effect.

The brilliance of a gloss finish not only contributes to a modern and sleek design but also plays a practical role in brightening kitchen spaces and making them appear larger.

Types of Gloss Finishes

The world of gloss finishes is diverse, each type offering unique benefits and characteristics suited to different design preferences and practical needs. Here’s a brief overview of the three main types:

  • Gloss PVC: Known for its durability and affordability, Gloss PVC is a plastic coating over a substrate that provides a waterproof and easy-to-clean surface. It’s an excellent choice for a budget-friendly yet stylish kitchen update.

  • Acrylic Gloss: Acrylic gloss offers an incredibly smooth and reflective finish, resulting in an almost glass-like appearance. Its depth of color and flawless surface makes it a premium option for those looking to make a statement in their kitchen design.

  • Gloss Lacquer: Applied as a spray, gloss lacquer finishes provide a perfectly smooth, high-shine surface that’s hard-wearing and resistant to moisture. It’s a luxurious choice that brings a touch of sophistication and elegance to any kitchen.

Pros of High Gloss Kitchen Cabinets

Durable finish

High Gloss Kitchen Cabinets, Pros

Unlike other finishes, high gloss cabinets have a very durable UV-protective top layer that protects the cabinetry from damage caused by exposure to sunlight, heat, and moisture over extended periods. Even regular usage and minor scratches do not affect their shiny appearance easily. Their glossy coating ensures the cabinets maintain their pleasing look for years with minimum signs of wear and tear if properly maintained.

Easy to clean

High gloss cabinets feature a smooth and glossy finish, which allows any spill or splatter to be wiped clean easily. Their non-porous surface does not allow any food particles or moisture to get absorbed, so we can simply use a damp cloth to wipe away any mess quickly. Further, high gloss cabinets are less prone to growing bacteria or mold as liquids do not stay trapped on their polished surface. Their easy cleanliness helps keep the kitchen hygienic with minimum effort.

Easy to maintain the appearance

Maintaining the gleaming finish of high-gloss cabinets requires only periodic wiping with a microfiber cloth. Heavier cleaning requires only a gentle household cleaner or polish and a soft cloth. Compared to other cabinet finishes, high gloss cabinets need less frequent and tedious maintenance efforts to retain their newness.

Long-lasting shine

The high-quality, multi-step finishing process applied to high gloss cabinets forms a brilliant, lustrous coat that withstands daily use admirably. Barring severe abuse or neglect, their radiant gloss can hold up impressively for many years without losing its sophisticated sheen over time.

Adds sophistication

The mirrored, mirror-like reflection created by the shiny surface uplifts the entire visual appeal of a kitchen space. High gloss cabinets instantly lend an elegant, polished aura that gives a feeling of luxury. The high-end appeal they create makes a kitchen worth showing off to guests every time.

Enhances natural light

By reflecting available light sources efficiently, high gloss cabinets help brighten up kitchen areas, even on dull days. The multiplied brightness improves visibility and makes tasks easier and more pleasant. Their light-reflective quality also creates an illusion of more space in smaller kitchens.

Suitable for modern designs

High gloss cabinets pair beautifully with contemporary kitchen designs, emphasizing clean lines. Their glassy surface matches modern interior schemes involving stainless steel, marble, or tile elements effortlessly. The glossy backdrop is an eye-catching design focal point that seamlessly ties in minimalistic spaces.

Resistant to stains

As high gloss cabinets come with a non-absorbent coating, most common kitchen stains, such as oil, soda, coffee, etc, cannot penetrate the surface. Any spill gets wiped right away, preventing long-term staining. Their stain resistance allows homeowners to maintain an immaculate kitchen backdrop for long-lasting good looks.

A wide array of high-end options

Manufacturers offer high gloss cabinets made from top-quality woods like oak and maple and sophisticated composite materials in every style and price point. From traditional raised panels to frameless cabinetry, high gloss is a popular trend in on-fleek door designs, varied color palettes, and customized configurations to cater to diverse aesthetic requirements.

Enhance resale value

Luxury kitchen features in a home positively impact future resale or rental value. Since high gloss cabinets exude an inherent sense of quality and convey a designer touch, they help boost appeal and demand for a property. Their lavish look can recoup installation costs or even create a surplus when selling or leasing a house in the long run.

Dazzling reflection and light play

The mirror-like reflective quality of high gloss cabinets allows for interesting light play and eye-catching reflections in the kitchen. Whether daylight streaming through windows or recessed lighting, the lustrous surfaces bounce light around deliciously for an added visual dimension.

Sleek accent to gourmet cooking

The sophisticated shine created by high gloss elevates any kitchen into a luxe cooking zone. Professional chefs prefer this finish as it adds prestige and brings out the artistry in culinary design. The pristine backdrop is an impressive canvas for showcasing culinary skills and creations.

Complement modern appliances

High-tech kitchen appliances today come with glossy exteriors themselves. High gloss cabinets maintain visual harmony through the unity of aesthetics. Their mirrored surfaces provide smooth flow and prevent clashes, allowing all elements to blend for a cohesive contemporary interior scheme.

Hide subtle imperfections

Being non-absorbent, high gloss minimizes focus on small flaws very well. Its shiny veneer naturally camouflages minor nicks, aging signs, or hazy patches better than other finishes. This forgiving quality eases concerns about maintaining flawless cabinet conditions constantly.

Accentuate the natural beauty of wood

When constructed from prized hardwoods, high gloss cabinets showcase the wood’s inherent beauty to optimal effect. Grain patterns, changing hues, and textures receive highlights rather than get masked, like painted cabinets. The polished surfaces bring out wood’s luxury like nothing else can.

Cons of High Gloss Kitchen Cabinets

High Gloss Kitchen Cabinets, Cons

Shows fingerprints and smudges

The flawless shine of high gloss cabinets attracts fingerprints, smudges, and residue easily visible to the naked eye. They require frequent cleaning to keep their mirror-like brilliance intact all the time. Even touching cabinets leaves behind temporary marks requiring prompt removal.

Visibility of Scratches on Glossy Surfaces

Being non-porous, high gloss cabinets do not allow scratches to blend in naturally. The slightest scratches, nicks, or abrasions get highlighted distinctly on their polished surfaces. Over time, accumulated scratches may significantly mar their glossy aesthetic appeal if not repaired.

Excessive glare can cause eye strain.

The mirrored reflections created by high gloss cabinets make tasks like cooking or food preparation uncomfortable in overly bright surroundings. Prolonged exposure may even induce headaches due to reflected glare. Proper diffused or dimmed lighting becomes necessary.

High Cost of Glossy Finishes

Maintaining high gloss cabinets’ pristine sheen needs periodic use of polishes or scratch removers beyond regular cleaning. Their specialized care products demand higher initial and long-term maintenance expenses compared to painted/laminated cabinetry.

Challenges in Repairing Damaged Sections

Achieving an exact match in gloss and sheen for touch-ups or repairing significant scratches and gouges is a challenging task for most DIY enthusiasts. Professional refinishing can be costly, and severe damage may necessitate complete cabinet replacement. Attempting partial repairs can be particularly difficult.

Susceptible to water rings and moisture

Although high gloss cabinets’ smooth surface resists liquid absorption well, moisture sitting too long on high gloss cabinets may leave temporary water rings. Special care must be taken during or after kitchen work involving liquids to prevent such blemishes.

Long-term discoloration risk due to sunlight

Ultraviolet light exposure over many years can cause high gloss cabinet coatings to gradually discolor, fade, or yellow with time if unprotected. Controlling sunlight access and proper UV-protecting sealers help slow this natural aging process.

Challenges with bold colors

Stains or residues on dark-colored high gloss cabinets stand out more prominently than on light hues. Bold shades also show wear signs earlier due to inherent difficulty restoring their darkened tones through regular maintenance.

Sensitivity to extreme heat

Proximity to heat sources like ovens or direct sunlight heating cabinet exteriors risks changing gloss levels through temperature fluctuations. Maintaining consistent warmth prevents such undesired transformations of sheen over cabinet surfaces.

Slip hazards due to smoothness

The slick mirror-like texture of high gloss cabinets makes spills on cabinets riskier to clean compared to rougher surfaces. Its polished luster enhances the chances of accidental slips when hands or utensils become wet until fully dried. 

Difficulty pairing with all design schemes

While blending beautifully into contemporary decors, the high gloss cabinets may clash slightly with rustic, traditional, or heavily-grained styling contexts demanding aged or distressed elements. Proper integrating techniques overcome such visual barriers.

Attract dust and lint easily.

High gloss finishes act like a magnet to collect and hold onto dust due to their smooth mirror-like texture and shine. This means high gloss kitchen cabinets need to be dusted frequently, sometimes even on a daily basis, to maintain their pristine, clean look. Dusting cabinets with such finishes becomes an ongoing maintenance task.


High gloss kitchen cabinets can undoubtedly transform a contemporary kitchen space’s overall look and feel with their stunning mirror-like reflective finish. Their ability to dramatically magnify and bounce lighting adds luxurious visual drama and sophistication unlike any other cabinet style. However, their highly polished, non-porous coating demands constant care and protection to maintain an immaculate shine and prevent damage from daily use over long periods. Homeowners must realistically evaluate their commitment to long-term intensive maintenance to preserve a high gloss finish’s dazzling beauty and integrity. 

FAQs Related to High Gloss Kitchen Cabinets

Is High Gloss Good for Kitchen Cabinets?

Yes, high gloss is good for kitchen cabinets if you desire a modern and sleek look. High gloss kitchen cabinets have several advantages, including:

  • Aesthetic Appeal: They provide a glossy, mirror-like finish that adds a luxurious and contemporary feel to your kitchen.

  • Easy to Clean: High gloss surfaces are smooth and non-porous, making them easy to clean and maintain.

  • Reflects Light: They reflect light well, making your kitchen appear brighter and more spacious.

  • Stain Resistance: High gloss cabinets are often resistant to common kitchen stains like oil and food spills.

However, whether high gloss is a good choice depends on your personal style and maintenance preferences.

What Are the Disadvantages of High Gloss Kitchen Cabinets?

High gloss kitchen cabinets also come with some disadvantages, including:

  • Fingerprints and Smudges: They tend to show fingerprints, smudges, and scratches more easily than matte finishes.

  • Scratch Visibility: Scratches and imperfections are more noticeable on high gloss surfaces.

  • Maintenance: They require regular cleaning to maintain their pristine appearance, which might not be suitable for everyone.

  • Cost: High gloss cabinets are often more expensive than matte or other finishes.

  • Glare: The high shine can create glare, which may be bothersome in certain lighting conditions.

Are High Gloss Kitchen Cabinets More Expensive?

Yes, high gloss kitchen cabinets are typically more expensive than cabinets with other finishes. The glossy finish requires a specialized manufacturing process, and the materials used for high gloss cabinets can also contribute to their higher cost. However, the exact price difference can vary depending on factors such as the quality of materials and the brand.

Do High Gloss Kitchens Scratch Easily?

High gloss kitchen cabinets can be more susceptible to scratches and visible imperfections compared to cabinets with matte or textured finishes. The smooth, reflective surface of high gloss cabinets tends to highlight any scratches or blemishes. Therefore, it’s essential to handle them with care and avoid abrasive materials when cleaning.

What Paint to Use for High Gloss Kitchen Cabinets?

For high gloss kitchen cabinets, it’s advisable to use a high-quality enamel or lacquer paint specifically designed for such surfaces. These paints provide the smooth, shiny finish characteristic of high gloss cabinets. The paint you choose should be durable, easy to clean, and resistant to moisture and stains. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application, including proper preparation and priming of the cabinet surfaces, to achieve the best results with a high gloss finish.