Countertop Sheens - Matte vs. Glossy

How to choose the best sheen for your kitchen work surfaces

Countertops are a big part of the kitchen and selecting the perfect option for your space can take some major consideration and thought. As if choosing between granite, quartz, marble, quartzite and soapstone (to name a few) wasn't hard enough, once you settle on your countertop of choice there is still the sheen to consider. The countertop sheen is referring to the amount of shine on the finish. The two main countertops sheens are Glossy and Matte. Which is best? Well, they both have their perks, let's explore the characteristics of each...

  • 01 of 02

    The Low Down on the Glossy Sheen

    Glossy Granite hides fingerprints
    Inti St. Clair / The Image Bank / Getty Images

    Glossy is a popular selection and the most widely used countertop sheen on the market. Glossy is often considered the standard because it is most widely available in Granite, Marble, Man-made quartz, concrete and other surfaces. 


    1.  Appearance - A glossy countertop is great for hiding marks like finger print smudges, hallelujah!  Even though you know those grubby little toddler prints are there, you can not really see them.  The reason? Well, most prints come from grease which has a sheen very similar to that of the glossy surface making them blend right in. 

    2.  Availability - This sheen will have very few limitations regarding availability. It is available on all countertop materials with the exception of Dekton. 

    3. Affordability - Because glossy is considered "standard" it typically does not require any type of up charge or additional fees. 

  • 02 of 02

    The Low Down on the Matte Sheen

    Matte countertops
    Craig Washburn/Getty Images

    The matte sheen is not nearly as readily available as glossy, but it can create a nice layer of texture in the kitchen.


    1. Appearance 

    - Matte countertops do not reflect light. With so many lights in the kitchen (overhead, task lighting, accent lighting, etc..) there are many opportunities for lighting to create a mirror effect off the countertops if they are shiny themselves.

    - Unlike the glossy sheen, matte countertops will show finger prints. 

    - Some granite fabricators are able to buff or sandblast the surface layer of granite to create this honed finish on any granite, but every color of granite will respond well to this process. Because of some colors and content of natural stone, it doesn't always look as good as it sounds.  It can leave granite looking, well, unfinished or just dirty.  

    2. Availability - To begin, certain countertops (like quartz) simply do not come with the matte option. Over the years certain manufacturers of quartz countertops have introduced some of their colors in the matte finish, as well as discontinued some, but as a general rule there are often times limitations and exceptions. 

    3. Affordability - The matte sheen can be an upgrade depending on who is fabricating your stone. 

    Options to Consider...

    A leading manufacturer of quartz - Silestone, offers a matte finish called "Leathered" which curiously does not show prints because of its hatched texture. All of their color offerings are not available with the leathered sheen, but it's a great matte option if you can find a color you love!

    And finally another exciting product in the market is Dekton, a line of fused countertop materials that ALL have a matte finish. The texture is similar to Silestone's Leathered finish, and will not show fingerprints. 

When in Doubt, Test it Out

Don't be afraid to test out the material with a showroom sample and the help of your salesperson. Bring along a bag of potatoe chips and a terry cloth. Get some grease residue on your fingertips and experiment with cleaning. This will help you gauge the ease of maintenance and whether matte or glossy can work with your needs.