The Best Low-Maintenance Kitchen Finishes


1. Ceramic and porcelain tile. Kitchens are both wet zones and high-traffic areas, so proper flooring material is key. Ceramic and porcelain tile have moisture resistance that is superior to natural stone or wood (especially porcelain, which absorbs less than 0.5% of moisture when wet). They’re also highly resistant to scratching and staining. Unlike natural stone, you don’t have to seal ceramic and porcelain tile. They also don’t require special cleaners and can handle almost any type of sanitizing agent.

2. Vinyl. Whether it’s planks or traditional sheets, vinyl is well-equipped to handle your kitchen’s worst. Unlike laminate and hardwood, vinyl can handle moisture with relative ease. Its PVC veneer and backing protect against spills and leaks. It’s tough to scratch and stain, and like tile, vinyl cleanup is quick and easy. Water and a mop will remedy the majority of messes. No grout lines is a huge perk, too.

1. Flat-panel doors. Even if you’re not a fan of modern design, it’s worth considering flat-panel doors if your top priority is easy upkeep. The less door detail, the less dust and dirt. Flat panel doors are also easier to wipe down because their surface doesn’t have recesses or raised grooves.

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Medium-Tone Stains

Dark paints and stains show dust particles and fingerprints. White cabinets don’t, but they show just about everything else. While medium-tone stains aren’t immune to wear and tear, they’ll show significantly less mess. They’re also easier to touch up than paints. Choose a wood species that features grains and grooves to help hide stains and scratches. Oak, quarter-sawn oak, hickory and beech are smart options.

Quartz Countertops

This engineered product is one tough cookie. It isn’t foolproof, but it’s about as resistant to scratches and stains as countertops get. You only need a soft cloth and warm water for post-meal cleanup. If you have dried-on stains, quartz will hold up well to common cleaning products like Windex, Clorox and Lysol. The things to avoid? Corrosive chemicals and setting hot pans directly on its surface.

Stainless Steel Appliances

This staple material isn’t without fault. Stainless steel sinks, for instance, can develop a chalky residue around the drain due to hard water. They can also scratch. But overall, they’re highly durable and fairly easy to clean. Black and white appliances can face the same maintenance concerns as light and dark cabinetry.

Satin Paint for Walls and Cabinets

What’s the best low-maintenance paint type for walls and cabinets? It’s a tricky question. In a vacuum, the answer is high-gloss and semigloss paints. But when it comes to painting walls and cabinets, glossy paints can look too shiny and reflect too much light. Therefore, satin paints might be your best bet for easy upkeep and design integrity. They’re not as loud as high-gloss paints, are less porous than flat paints and are still very durable over time. Just be sure to hire a talented painter — satin paints can show brush and roller marks more easily than other types of paint.

Semigloss Paint for Trims and Baseboards

Semigloss paint handles moisture, stains and bumps and bruises exceptionally well, so it’s an obvious choice for kitchens. Wall trims and baseboards are common applications for semigloss paint. You don’t have to worry about sacrificing aesthetics for maintenance.


1. Ceramic and porcelain. Like their flooring counterparts, ceramic and porcelain tile backsplashes are virtually maintenance-free. Most options feature a protective glaze that resists stains and doesn’t require any sealing (there are exceptions, of course). These two nonporous materials excel at water resistance, too.

2. Glass. Though glass backsplashes are more likely to show grease and food splatters than ceramic and natural stone, they’re super easy to wipe down thanks to a smooth surface finish. You can also ditch grout lines altogether with solid-glass sheets.
Window Coverings

1. Vinyl or composite. These include both blinds and shutters. They’re nonporous, scratch-resistant, perform well with moisture and can be cleaned with a variety of products. Avoid wood products in wet zones, such as a window above your sink. Wood will warp if left wet. It can also be tough to remove stains and requires special cleaners. Keep in mind that shutters might require more care than blinds, since they trap dirt and allergens inside your window and their decorative frames tend to collect dust.

2. Machine-washable fabric. Fabric window shades such as roller shades, cellular shades and Roman shades generally aren’t the best choice for kitchen windows. They’re susceptible to staining, especially lighter designs. Many options need to be dry-cleaned, which makes it harder to treat stains. However, some curtains and fabrics are machine washable. Always check the product’s cleaning recommendations.


1. Brushed nickel. This finish has what it takes to survive in a kitchen. It’s easy to clean and has a long-lasting finish. Its matte finish hides water spots and fingerprints well. Unless you want to constantly scrub water spots, steer clear of similar options with shinier surfaces, such as chrome.

If you want to cut down on the time it takes to keep your kitchen spick and span, you should take a closer look at your finishes. From flooring to hardware, the materials you select can tack on extra time to your cleanup routine. Wondering which options cut down on dusting, scrubbing and wiping? Here’s a list of easy-to-maintain finishes.

This content was originally published here.

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