You have put all the elements together to create the perfect kitchen. Now, you need to decide on the best cabinet finish. This will set the tone and aesthetic for the rest of your kitchen so it’s important to choose a finish that is stylish, but also versatile and timeless. This will not only improve the look of your kitchen but also increase the resale value. Buyers love a kitchen that they can walk into and begin working without having to worry about additional renovations or changes. But how do you know if it is better to stain vs paint cabinets and what are the best cabinet finishes? 

Let’s review some of the best and most popular cabinet finishes, so you can choose a look that you will love for many years.

Paint Finish

The easiest and most practical way to improve the look of your cabinets is a kitchen paint finish. This is usually a neutral or soft colour that brightens up your kitchen area while adding a beautiful hint of colour. There are a wide range of colours to choose from, with the most popular colours being cream, white, soft yellows and greys.

For a country kitchen look, consider a mint green or pale blue. Your contractor can help you choose the right colour and kitchen paint finish for your cabinets. This will create a space that feels bright, spacious and inviting.

Stain Finish

To add warmth to your kitchen or to update the look of wooden cabinets, consider a stain finish. This gives your kitchens a natural look that can easily be applied and maintained.

Cabinet stains are a great choice for the kitchen because they naturally absorb into the wood, this means any swelling or shrinking due to heat or cold will not cause the wood to crack or chip.

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Glazing is the final touch on a painted or stained cabinet. It can give your cabinets a more lived-in look and create an aged or antique finish. The two most common glaze types are transparent and semi-transparent.

Each creates a slightly different finish that creates unique detailing that can’t be achieved with paint or stain alone. It’s an ideal choice for cabinets with fine detailing or carving that you want to draw attention to and enhance.


An affordable and durable cabinet finish is melamine. This style of the cabinet has been popular for more than 50 years due to its versatility and its customization options. Created using thermally fused melamine resin which is heat-sealed to a wood substrate, melamine gives your kitchen a classic look at a price that fits your budget. Once the finish is created, a non-porous surface is created that protects your cabinets from water and stains.

This will ensure that the area is easy to maintain and also clean. It is important to use care around this type of finish, however, because it can be prone to chipping. Make sure you also have the right reinforcements to ensure the cabinets are affixed to the wall properly. Melamine is heavy and should never be installed without the right support and materials.

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Lacquer offers a beautiful and luxurious finish without the expense of costly materials like marble or granite. Lacquer creates a synthetic coating that’s sprayed or brushed on. As the layers are applied, you get a finish that’s unique to your kitchen. Available in several finishes including matte, medium gloss, and high gloss, you can quickly elevate the look of your kitchen in just a matter of hours.

Lacquer finishes are also available in a wide range of colours and materials, so you can fully customize your kitchen to your latest aesthetic. Remember to inspect your lacquer cabinets regularly and if necessary reapply the coating to protect the finish.


If you prefer cabinets that are easy to maintain and don’t require a lot of work, then laminate may be the right choice for you. Laminate is made using several materials to create a durable and strongly constructed cabinet:

  • Plywood
  • Particle board
  • MDF
  • HDF 
  • Plastic
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The results are strong cabinets that are resistant to cracking and swelling, making them a great choice for kitchens. Talk to your contractor about your laminate options that will stand up to how you and your family use your kitchen.

New laminate technology called porta door style laminate or PET and thermal structured surface or TSS offer even more durable laminate finishes that can withstand temperature changes, light exposure and water or chemical contact.

Natural Finish 

If you prefer a more sustainable or rustic finish, then choose a natural look for your kitchen. This can mean using natural woods, brick, or other natural finishes to highlight the beauty and refinement of your kitchen space.

Natural wood displays the beautiful wood grains and edges and gives your kitchen a rustic charm. It also means that your kitchen will be unique to your home.

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The most popular wood finishes include: 

  • Oak 
  • Cherry
  • Hickory
  • Maple
  • Pine

Each of these woods has its own unique characteristics and strengths. Talk to your contractor about which type of wood will match the look and finish you want for your kitchen.


Depending on the material you have chosen for your kitchen, it’s recommended to use varnish. This protective layer creates a barrier to water and other agents that could potentially damage the surface of your cabinets.

The most common types of varnishes are polyurethane and conversion. Remember to always apply varnishes in a well-ventilated area. We recommended hiring a professional when applying conversion varnish, as it can cause serious illness if inhaled.

Contact Us

The kitchen cabinet installation experts at Moose Kitchen and Bath want to help you create the kitchen you have always wanted. Our experts can help you choose the right cabinet finish for your kitchen. They also provide expert advice on which type is best suited to your lifestyle and work environment. Contact us today for a consultation and free estimate.

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