Architectural Home Designs & Decorating Ideas

What Type of Paint for Kitchen Walls? Your Comprehensive Guide

3 minute read

When it comes to painting your kitchen, choosing the right finish is crucial. The walls in this busy room endure plenty of wear and tear from cooking splatters, greasy buildup, moisture, and daily cleaning. Selecting a durable, scrubbable paint will allow your kitchen’s walls to stand up to the demands of heavy use and keep their freshly painted look longer.

You’ll learn the differences between paint sheens and get recommendations for products that check the boxes for both aesthetics and practical performance in your cooking space.

Choosing a Finish Based on Durability and Washability

Kitchen walls need paint that can be easily wiped clean of food stains, grease splatters, and other cooking mess. The higher the paint’s sheen or gloss, the more resistant it will be to staining and moisture.

Here are some common paint finishes ranked from least to most durable and scrubbable:

what type of paint for kitchen walls

While glossier paints are the most hardwearing, many homeowners prefer softer sheens like eggshell or satin for walls. These provide an attractive finish while still being fairly easy to maintain.

Picking the Best Sheen for Your Kitchen

Here’s an overview of some top paint finish options for kitchen walls:


With just enough shine to give walls a smooth, velvety look, eggshell is one of the most popular choices for kitchens. It maintains its pearl-like appearance even after washing.

Eggshell paint can stand up to gentle scrubbing to remove light stains. Its soft glow helps hide minor imperfections in wall surfaces.


Defined by its subtle luster, satin paint offers great durability and stain resistance. Its luxurious appearance resists yellowing and makes kitchen walls easy to wipe down.

The smooth, refined finish of satin paint provides a sophisticated look. Use it for kitchens that get medium traffic and cleaning.


The bright sheen of semi-gloss paint reflects light well, lending a sleek look. It creates a shiny, wipeable surface that repels water, grease, and grime.

If your kitchen sees a lot of activity and mess around the cooktop or sink, semi-gloss is your best pick. Its high gloss allows vigorous scrubbing.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Kitchen Paint

Along with sheen, keep these things in mind when selecting the perfect paint for your kitchen:

Prep Work

Proper prep work ensures your new paint job lasts. Fill cracks, sand rough areas, remove old wallpaper, and prime before painting. Take time to prep so your paint looks great longer.


Match the paint’s sheen to the room’s traffic level. Lower sheens like eggshell suit most kitchen walls, while glossier semi-gloss is better for high-wear areas.


Darker colors show more sheen. If you want walls to have a flatter look, choose lighter paint colors. Cool undertones also minimize the appearance of sheen.

Product Type

Water-based acrylic latex paints provide excellent durability and allow for easy soap-and-water cleanup. They offer good stain resistance for kitchen settings.

Picking the perfect paint for your kitchen’s walls comes down to choosing a durable, scrubbable finish. Satin and eggshell paints offer ideal balances of washability and pleasing aesthetics.

Consider the amount of daily use and cleaning your kitchen sees. Then select a sheen that will maintain its beauty while standing up to stains. With some smart prep work and priming, your newly painted kitchen walls will look pristine for years.