What are the most low-maintenance kitchen cabinets? Experts say these styles will look better for longer

If you are looking to create a kitchen that requires little maintenance, take a look at this

a modern kitchen with an island
(Image credit: Design by Giles Miller Studio. Interior styling Alma + Midori. Photography: Rachel Ferriman)

Most people would agree that cleaning the kitchen is one of their least favorite chores. All that dusting, sweeping, and wiping just to do it all again tomorrow. But it is possible that your kitchen style, material, and color might be making it more work than it needs to be.

These decisions have a huge impact on how much maintenance your kitchen will require. Whether you are planning a full-scale renovation or just giving your existing cabinets a quick lick of paint, you should consider how to make your cabinets low maintenance. Fortunately, many of the lowest-maintenance options also look great in a modern kitchen, so you don't have to compromise.

We spoke to kitchen design experts to discover the best choice for low-maintenance cabinets. These small design choices will have a profound impact on the way you experience your kitchen and the amount of cleaning you are committed to.

1. Choose a low maintenance style

A kitchen with deep drawers

(Image credit: Brad Ramsey Interiors. Photo credit Paige Rumore-1)

One of the things that will have the biggest impact on the maintenance level of your kitchen is the style. 'Two of the easiest cabinetry styles to maintain during day-to-day life is shaker or slab,' says Richard Davonport, Managing Director at luxury kitchen brand Davonport. 

Unlike other more intricate designs, these cabinets are quick and easy to clean. 'Compared to cabinetry that might feature raised panels, carved trim, or beadboard inserts, they are the smoothest, solid pieces that can be easily wiped down with a cloth or sponge,' explains Richard.

Slab and shaker-style doors are on trend and a great minimalist kitchen idea. 'Intricate designs with nooks and crevices that collect dust and grime require a lot of cleaning,' says Andra DelMonico, Lead Interior Designer at Trendey. 'When designing your kitchen avoid adding trimmings and designer details like crown molding, corbels, decorative legs, and light rail molding, as they require more maintenance,' she explains. This will help you to achieve a kitchen that is both beautiful and easy to look after.

2. Pick a color that doesn't show dirt

Dark green kitchen by deVOL with brick floors

(Image credit: deVOL)

The color and finish of your cabinets will determine the level of routine maintenance and how forgiving it is at hiding issues. 'When it comes to what colors that are low maintenance, dark colors such as greens or blues are a great choice as both are forgiving of marks and grime which helps to reduce cleaning time,' advises Richard. Dark shades are also some of the luxurious-looking kitchen color ideas, so not only will your kitchen look cleaner it will also look more expensive.

3. Select a finish that has easy upkeep

A red cabinet painted in lacquer paint

(Image credit: Jeff Holt. Design: Chused & Co)

Paint is typically easier to maintain than stained cabinetry, particularly when it is in a semi-gloss finish. 'With stained cabinetry, all wood grain is exposed,' says kitchen designer Thomas Borcherding, 'making imperfections more obvious and harder to fix.' Paint, on the other hand, is easily wiped down and touched up.

Matt cabinet finishes are generally less durable than finishes with more sheen, and will be more prone to chipping and scratches. 'On the other end of the spectrum, high gloss finishes will give you problems with visible fingerprints, especially if you choose handleless kitchen cabinets,' says Hugh Metcalf, Livingetc.com's editor. 'Look for a middleground if you want a low maintenance kitchen cabinet - a satin or eggshell style-finish will be more durable, but won't mean you spend all your time wiping down your cabinet doors.' 

4. Think twice about glass

Plaster pink kitchen with wooden kitchen cabinets

(Image credit: James Merrell)

Glass fronted cabinets are a popular choice, especially to help make a small kitchen look bigger. However, it might not be the wisest choice if you want to keep it really low maintenance. 'I would think carefully about glass cabinets,' says Richard, as they show fingerprints very easily and require constant cleaning. If you are dead set on glass but can't commit to the cleaning, there is an alternative. 'The kitchen trend for fluted glass is a positive change as its ribbed effect helps to hide any fingerprints and smudges,' says Richard, keeping you on trend and looking pristine. 

3 of our favorite low-maintenance kitchen colors

Amy McArdle
News writer

Amy recently completed an MA in Magazine Journalism at City, University of London, with experience writing for Women’s lifestyle publications across arts, culture, and beauty. She has a particular love for the minimalist aesthetic mixed with mid-century furniture, especially combining unique vintage finds with more modern pieces. Her previous work in luxury jewellery has given her a keen eye for beautiful things and clever design, that plays into her love of interiors. As a result, Amy will often be heard justifying homeware purchases as 'an investment', wise words to live by.