Antique Mirror glass splashbacks produced for Domo Direct in Really Rough Antique Mirror
Toughened Really Rough Antiqued Hand Silvered Glass. Credit: Domo Direct

Kitchen design: our guide to choosing kitchen finishes

There are so many important things to consider with kitchen design, but one that often gets overlooked is whether or not the final combination of finishes work together. Beyond the kitchen materials themselves – wood, stone, glass, metal, etc – it’s important to consider whether you want matt, polished, reflective or special-effect finishes, or a combination of several different types. For instance, while you might decide on painted wooden cupboard doors, the paint itself could have a matt, eggshell or gloss finish. And a stone worktop could be highly polished, honed to a more subtle shine, or diamond brushed for an uneven leathery texture.

The most important consideration is the way in which these finishes will look within the room as a whole. It’s safest to mix them to create depth and interest and a variety of textures, but bear in mind that they need to complement rather than fight against each other. The style of kitchen design you’re aiming for is also significant – traditional kitchens often have matt units with polished worktops and hardware, whereas contemporary kitchens sometimes swap those finishes around. Minimalist kitchens, meanwhile, might eschew glossy surfaces completely and have natural wooden cabinets with honed stone worktops and stainless steel handles, while a futuristic kitchen might go full-on shiny.

A futuristic kitchen with gloss finishes

Ultimately, you need to ask yourself how you want your kitchen to feel. The less contrast you create – through colour, texture and finish – the calmer and quieter the space will seem. If you’d rather make a dynamic style statement, however, a high contrast space that mixes dark and light shades, and a number of different levels of shine, will produce an eye-catching scheme. You could also choose to make a feature of one particular surface, by contrasting it with the rest of the space. A glossy glass splashback, for instance, in an otherwise matt kitchen, will really stand out and become the main focal point of the room. Here are some of the options to consider for your kitchen design…

Coloured glass splashbacks produced for Harvey Jones in Metallic SilverIn In In this traditional kitchen with painted matt doors, the owners
have chosen a metallic silver splashback for contrast

Doors

Most kitchen cupboard doors are made of wood of one kind or another but the finish can vary enormously. If the wood is a high quality hardwood such as oak, cherry or maple, it could be waxed, stained or varnished to allow the beauty of the grain to come through – waxing gives a softer result, whereas varnishing will add shine. Cheaper woods, on the other hand, might be painted, and there are several paint options available, such as chalk, satinwood and wood sheen, depending on the finish you require. Manufactured woods, such as particleboard and plywood, are coated with veneers, usually made from laminate or vinyl, and these can have a variety of textures from matt to high gloss.

Glass splashback produced for Elmore Kitchens in Bronze Matt MirrorSplashback in MATT bronze mirror

Splashbacks

Our versatile glass splashbacks come in a variety of finishes, from frosted to mirrored to metallic. Standard backpainted panels have an attractive glossy surface that is slightly reflective and looks high-end and luxurious, whereas our MATT glass is opaque with a soft shine. Metallic splashbacks are iridescent and create a shimmering effect that adds a little extra glamour to your kitchen design, while Sparkle glass has a glittery texture that dazzles when it catches the light. We have a range of mirrored panels, from the highly reflective tinted silver mirror to moodier bronze tints, as well as hand-painted antiqued panels that offer light shine and plenty of depth and detail.

A glass worktop with matching splashback

Worktops

When it comes to worktops, the key consideration is beauty vs practicality. Your counters are likely to be the hardest working surface in your kitchen and need to be protected from spills, stains, heat and knocks. However, as a large visible surface in the room, you also want them to look attractive. If you think you want matt worktops, wood is a great option although it does require a little maintenance, such as re-oiling, from time to time. Honed stone, such as marble, looks beautiful but can be very expensive and is easily stained or chipped – engineered stone is a more practical option as long as you’re careful to guard against scorch marks. For high gloss, polished stone is a popular choice but can look a little dated in a modern space. Another alternative is a glass worktop, which can be made to match glass splashbacks if required. Glass is stain, scratch and heat resistant and so very easy to keep clean and fresh looking.

Mink glass splashback kitchen 3A brushed stainless steel tap against a glass splashback in “Mink”

Hardware

While metal is the only likely material for your handles and taps, there are an astonishing number of finishes available – polished, brushed, oil rubbed, antiqued, distressed and satin, to name just a few. There are also several metal types and colours to choose from, including nickel, brass and pewter, which will affect the overall finish of the product. It’s advisable to leave this decision until you’ve agreed on your surface finishes, because your hardware is scattered throughout the kitchen and can serve the purpose of either pulling your kitchen design together or adding visual accents, depending on the overall look you want to achieve. To tie your surfaces together, choose a complementary colour and finish – satin nickel (a matt silver) would work well with painted white cabinets and wooden worktops, for instance. To add a little punchy detail, on the other hand, go for more of a contrast – such as bright polished brass against chalky dark blue cupboards or black handles against pale units.

Blackcurrant soft stripe blurred abstract splashback kitchen 1A black stainless steel fridge and black oven in a monochrome kitchen

Appliances

You might think that appliances come in either a silver or white colour, but these days there are so many more choices. There are chrome and brushed silver finishes, matt black and black stainless steel options, and ovens and fridges that come in a variety of enamelled candy colours. You can also integrate your appliances so the fridge, dishwasher and washing machine are hidden away behind panels that match your kitchen cupboards. As with hardware, it’s probably best to wait until your finalise the rest of your kitchen design before making a decision. The style of your space is the most important factor – if you’re going for a contemporary streamlined look, you may want to hide your appliances behind door panels to avoid interrupting the flow of units. Alternatively, you may feel that a long stretch of cupboards needs breaking up visually, in which case an appliance would do that perfectly. If you want a calm space it makes sense to choose appliances that blend in with your units – brushed stainless steel against matt grey units, chrome against gloss, or white against white. For a more dynamic design, on the other hand, choose contrasting finishes, such as black against natural wood or pastel against dark grey.

For more information on our glass splashbacks and worktops, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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