Architectural Home Designs & Decorating Ideas

Durable, Washable, and Stylish Paints for Kitchen Walls

Gabriela Connell
5 minute read

When it comes time to paint the walls in your kitchen, choosing the right paint is crucial. The kitchen is one of the most high-traffic rooms in a home and the walls endure a lot of wear and tear. From grease splatters to food stains, kitchen walls need a paint that can stand up to frequent cleaning.

Not all paints are created equal when it comes to withstanding the demands of a kitchen. The key is finding an interior paint that is durable, washable, and moisture-resistant. We’ll also recommend the best types of finishes and paint colors to give your kitchen a fresh new look.

What Makes a Good Kitchen Wall Paint?


Kitchen walls undergo a lot of abuse on a daily basis. From people brushing up against them, to splatters and stains from cooking, kitchen paint needs to be able to withstand regular wear and tear. Durable paints will resist scuffs, scratches, and dings better than standard wall paints.

paints for kitchen walls

Look for interior paints that are formulated to be washable and scrubbable. These paints include resins that make them harder and more impervious to scrubbing. Acrylic latex paints tend to be more durable than oil-based options.


The kitchen is prone to a number of stains and marks including grease from cooking, food and drink spills, dirt and grime from hands, and more. Kitchen wall paint needs to stand up to frequent washing and scrubbing to keep it looking fresh.

Washable paints allow you to clean stained areas multiple times without wearing down the color or finish. Acrylic latex paints are naturally washable, especially with the addition of polyurethane resins. Semi-gloss and satin finishes stand up to cleaning better than flat paints.


From boiling pots of water to running dishwashers, kitchens tend to have high levels of moisture in the air. Plus, cooking inevitably leads to splatters and spills ending up on kitchen walls. Moisture-resistant paints help prevent blistering, peeling, mold growth when walls get wet.

Look for acrylic latex paints that are formulated with silicone additives and polymers that create a breathable water-repellent barrier. This enables walls to shed water and humidity without trapping moisture underneath the paint.

Paint Finishes for Kitchen Walls


Matte, or flat, paint has no sheen and reflects very little light. It’s excellent at hiding imperfections like bumps and uneven drywall textures. The downside is that matte paint scuffs easily and stains are harder to wash off compared to paints with more sheen.

While matte paint works well in low traffic areas, it’s not the best choice for kitchen walls. Any marks left on matte paint tend to stick out since there is no sheen to help camouflage them. Matte paint also tends to show splatters and stains more.


Eggshell paint has a subtle, velvety sheen that helps hide minor imperfections. It’s not overly shiny so it can give walls a classic painted look. The soft glow of eggshell paint makes it dressier than a flat finish.

In terms of durability, eggshell finishes are somewhat washable but can’t withstand heavy scrubbing like satin or semi-gloss paints. Eggshell is prone to scuffing and burning from cooking. It does hide some flaws, but not as well as matte.


With a smooth, low luster sheen, satin paints offer a happy medium between matte and high-gloss finishes. Satin reflects more light than matte and eggshell paints, allowing stains to be cleaned off instead of soaked into the paint.

In terms of washability, satin paint resists moisture, stains, and frequent scrubbing better than flat or eggshell paints. The finish hides surface imperfections well. Overall, satin paint offers a great balance of durability and hide for kitchen walls.


Semi-gloss paint has a medium-high sheen that makes wall imperfections less apparent. It reflects the most light of common wall paint finishes, making it easy to wipe away stains and splatters.

Out of all the paint finishes, semi-gloss is the most durable and washable. Its hard, slick surface almost acts like a ceramic glaze, allowing you to scrub repeatedly without wearing down the finish. However, the shine of semi-gloss may show more flaws.

Paint Types for Kitchen Walls

Latex vs. Oil-Based

For painting kitchen walls, latex (acrylic) paint is generally the best option. Latex paint is water-based, making it easy to apply and clean up. It dries faster than oil paint and cures to a harder, more durable finish.

Latex acrylic formulations are inherently moisture-resistant and washable. They can be manufactured to different sheens depending on the resins used. Latex paints contain fewer VOCs than oil-based ones as well.

Oil-based paints are tougher to work with, take longer to dry, have stronger fumes, and require mineral spirits to clean up. While oil paints do form a durable film, latex acrylics perform just as well for kitchen walls.

Antimicrobial Additives

Since kitchen walls are prone to moisture, mildew-resistant paints can help prevent mold and fungus growth. Look for latex paints containing antimicrobial additives made from zinc oxide, sodium borate, or quaternary ammonium compounds.

These additives inhibit the spread of mold, mildew, and bacteria on painted surfaces. This is an advantage for kitchen walls which often get exposed to food spills, splatters, and high humidity when cooking.

Paint Colors for Kitchens


Neutrals like white, beige, gray, and tan work wonderfully as kitchen wall colors. They create a clean, classic look and serve as a versatile background.

Softer whites like Swiss Coffee or Accessible Beige are warmer than a stark white. Light grays like Gray Owl and greige colors are sophisticated neutrals. Go for neutral paints with a matte or eggshell finish to help hide flaws.

Bold Colors

While neutral kitchen walls play it safe, you can use bolder paint colors to make the space more exciting. Deep reds, cobalt blues, emerald greens, and sunny yellows bring energy to the kitchen.

For best results with colorful kitchen walls, stick to satin or semi-gloss paints. This helps the pigments shine and makes the walls easy to clean. Bold paint choices look best on smooth, flawless walls.

The ideal kitchen wall paint should be washable, moisture-resistant, and able to withstand heavy use. Satin or semi-gloss latex acrylic paints provide the right amount of durability and stain resistance needed in kitchens.

Neutrals like white, gray, and beige make smart kitchen wall color choices that fit with any decor. Vibrant reds, blues, and greens inject personality if a neutral palette feels too safe. With the right prep and paint for kitchen walls, your space can look fresh for many years to come.