You would agree that cabinetry is the most essential component of any modular kitchen. That said, the finish for kitchen cabinets is what adds aesthetic value and gives your kitchen a unique personality. There are various finishes available in the market such as acrylic, membrane foils, polymer, laminates and more.

Acrylic and laminates are among the most popular options, however they differ in terms of aesthetics, durability and pricing. Here is all you need to know about both these options to help you decide on one for your kitchen!

What is acrylic finish?
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Gorgeous red acrylic finish

A type of finish similar to lacquer, acrylic is a non-toxic, reflective high gloss finish which can give cabinets a perfectly smooth appearance. It is available in a wide range of colors and gives a glossy sheen to your kitchen cabinets.

What is a laminate finish?
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Steel grey laminate finish

Laminates are a composite artificial material, commonly used on modular kitchen cabinets. Made by pressing together thin layers of flat paper and plastic resins, the upper layer is printed with a decorative pattern or colour. The laminates used in kitchen cabinets are pressed in factories using high pressure using automated machinery.

Pros and Cons of acrylic and laminate finishes


  • A premium high-gloss option, acrylic is the preferred option for high-end kitchens. It can add visual space and an inviting appeal to your kitchen
  • While laminates are available in glossy options, these are not as reflective as an acrylic finish. As a result, the overall look is more muted and less striking

Color and Varieties

  • Acrylic finishes are available in a wide range of vibrant colors which retain their colour and brightness for years
  • However, the variety available in laminate finishes is higher and includes matte, glossy, ultra high gloss.  Apart from colours, these are also available in various textures, including wood

Maintenance and Durability:

  • Scratch-resistant acrylic finishes do not tarnish, de-laminate or fade away with time; they maintain their smooth and glossy appearance. However, this means that fingerprint marks, dirt and stains are more visible, and require regular cleaning
  • Laminate finishes are relatively more hard-wearing and durable when compared to acrylic. Laminates are also moisture and heat resistant, and can be treated for antibacterial properties


  • Given their aesthetic appeal and easy to clean properties, acrylic finish cabinets are more expensive than laminates
  • Laminate finishes offer variety and durability at a significantly lower cost, making them ideal for those on a budget

What’s the best finish for your kitchen cabinets?

One possible option which is trending today is a combination of both acrylic and laminate finishes.

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Play mix and match

Since most lighting tends to highlight the upper cabinets, use acrylic finishes on them for a glossy, attractive look. Laminate is a good choice for lower cabinets since they are likely to see more wear and tear. You can choose textures and colors that complement each other for a coordinated look.

Decide on the best finish for your kitchen cabinets depending on your use, budget and tastes. The right choice will enhance the overall look and feel of your modular kitchen.

If you want to learn about the materials that are used in building your modular kitchen, read: Kitchen Cabinet Materials.