Selecting kitchen finishes on cabinets and countertops

Choosing Finishes in your Kitchen Remodel

Picking out your kitchen finishes is a test of personality - and of patience. It’s a big decision. It’s a decision that involves not just sight, but also touch. No reason to stress out - if you break the process down, you’ll be able to move ahead a step at a time, not getting overwhelmed by all the choices out there.

Know your Layout

As tempting as it may be, don’t start the actual search for your finishes until you’ve decided on a layout. You need to know what your dimensions and other specifications will be - this will prevent disappointment about a particular item not working. You want to make your selections fit the design - not make the design fit the selections.

Bring Out the Inspiration

Head right into your existing kitchen, break out that file with all the magazine pages you’ve pulled out, open up your laptop to your Pinterest board, and get out your brochures. Now is the time to narrow down your choices and get a feel for your aesthetic.

Make Some Preliminary Choices

Lay out your pictures and swatches, and put aside anything that does not appeal to you, while you’re looking at it, in your kitchen. Now, work from your favorites. You should start to see some patterns emerge. Do you like contrasts? Do bright accent colors keep showing up? Does every kitchen you like have a tile backslash? Do neutral tones dominate?

Hopefully, you will be able to see your inner style come out. Make a list of the things that you know are must-haves: A rustic wood look, a palette of grays, lots of shine. Now you’re ready for the next step.

Choose your Countertops

They’re the surface you’ll work with the most, and will also have a lot of visual impact. If your personal style is drawn to shiny finishes, you’ll be considering ceramic tile, sealed concrete, or stainless steel. If you like a softer, more matte finish, you can consider options like wood, laminate, or stone.

The color range that is available within each counter material will also help you decide what is feasible, as well as your own budget.

Consider your Cabinets

These will work with your countertops, and they’re the next logical step. You’ll need to decide if you want to continue with the same texture story as the countertops, or go with something contrasting.

Fortunately, you’ve been looking at your inspiration pieces, and you have a good idea of what you want. As an example, let’s say that you have found yourself favoring a high-contrast look, with a shiny countertop finish. You’ve selected a ceramic tile countertop in a dark tone.

To go along with your preference for contrasts, you’ll need to select cabinets in a lighter color, and you’ll need to think about the textures involved. If you would also like to make the texture contrast with the smooth tiles, you should consider woods that are finished or painted in matte textures.

If you prefer a color contrast, but really like the look of a glossy kitchen, you’ll probably prefer a painted finish or melamine. The key here is to make sure that the countertops and cabinets work well together, whether blending or enhancing their colors and textures.

Now Choose a Backsplash

This is what you’ll use to tie your look together. The countertops you’ve picked out will dictate the back-splash look, as well as your kitchen layout. You may wish to continue the same material, if you are already using ceramic tile. If not - ceramic tile is a popular, practical choice. The current trends are showing backsplashes that contrast with the counter tops and cabinets.

Look around your kitchen and determine where the focal points are. Generally, they will be be-hind the range and the sink. Now that you have an idea of the overall aesthetic of your counter and cabinet look, you can decide on if you wish to use the backsplash to add some accent colors and pattern to your kitchen.

Putting in colored tiles are an easy way to add personality and your favorite colors to your kitchen. Go ahead and decide now if you want to add to your kitchen’s focal points, or continue with the same backsplash material throughout.

Move on to the Rest

You now have your kitchen anchored with color and texture. Using your swatches, you can work with other items, like hardware, lighting, and appliances, as well as open shelving.

There’s no single finish available for any of these items - you’ll find everything from bright colors on appliances, to rustic metal on hardware, and all sort of finishes on open shelves. Don’t forget to consider the impact of your shelf brackets and shelf material.

Our brushed stainless steel floating shelves and picture ledges bridge the gap between the matte and glossy beautifully, providing a neutral finish that is perfect for kitchen conditions. If you’re already a fan of the stainless steel finish, it will pull together your kitchen look, from shelves to appliances to faucets.


Expressing your personality through your kitchen’s texture story can be done without a lot of stress and strain. Start collecting your ideas now, and you’ll actually enjoy the process, when you’re ready to make your kitchen design decisions.

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