Tired of housework? Minimize your kitchen-centred chores by designing an easy-to-clean kitchen.
Design Consultant Myra Flipsen gives us the inside scoop on how to design a low-maintenance kitchen for the cleaning-averse homeowner.
Stop cleaning and start reading!
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Easy-to-Clean Kitchen Cabinets
What cabinet material is best to achieve that elusive, low-maintenance, minimal-clean-up-required lifestyle?
As far as materials go, I usually recommend a thermofoil that has a little bit of a texture to it. The other material that I might recommend would be a high-gloss acrylic, which is very durable and easy to clean. —Design Consultant Myra Flipsen
Thermofoil is a vinyl colour coating that’s been heat shrunk over a 1-piece construction cabinet door. Thanks to the 1-piece door, it doesn’t have any seams or crevasses where dust can build up. Even if the door has detail, thermofoil is an ultra-easy, wipe-and-go product. Textured thermo also has a knack for hiding smudges and scratches.
Similarly, acrylic is a highly durable synthetic coating used on slab (flat surface) doors. It’s a high-gloss, reflective surface—so fingerprints and smudges do happen—however, they wipe away easily. Thanks to the finish’s extreme durability, you can keep scratches at bay for a long time.
While thermofoil and acrylic are both great options to create a low-maintenance kitchen, thermofoil is the more budget-friendly option of the pair. Acrylic is typically a premium product that comes at a higher price range.
Check out how great the Grey Acrylux cabinets look in this modern kitchen design:
Easy-to-Clean Kitchen Cabinet Door Styles
A slab door is all it takes to cut back the time you spend cleaning your kitchen. The simple, minimalistic flat surface of the slab cabinet door style is designed especially for the low-maintenance homeowner.
It’s the universal go-to choice for an easy-to-clean kitchen, whether you opt for a painted wood cabinet door or an acrylic door.
99.9% of the time, if a client asks me what cabinet door style is easiest to clean, I say a slab door. —Design Consultant Myra Flipsen
You can see one of Deslaurier's popular slab doors, "Urban Slab", in the kitchen below. Check out how flush the cabinets look, and think how easy they'd be to clean!
You can see more of the door styles in Deslaurier’s catalogue in our article, “5 Best-Selling Kitchen Cabinet Door Styles”.
Easy-to-Clean Kitchen Cabinet Finishes
How should you finish your wood cabinets if you have a no-mess mindset?
If easy maintenance is your priority, stains will fare better for you than paints.
Stained doors withstand more wear and tear than painted doors because the visible wood grain works like camouflage. The wood grain pattern is very forgiving when scratches and dents inevitably happen in the home.
Plus, stain is much easier to touch up, too. All you need is a wood stain marker to mask unsightly damage. Paint touch-ups, on the other hand, are much more noticeable if you don’t have a 100% colour match.
When choosing how much or how little sheen you want for your cabinets, you need to consider both immediate ease of cleaning and long-term longevity.
High-sheen cabinets offer a higher degree of protection for the wood cabinet than low-sheen finishes. Ultimately, they tend to be better at resisting wear and tear. However, high-sheen cabinets are also more vulnerable to oily fingerprints than low-sheen or matte finishes.
In other words, the decision between low vs. high sheen cabinets is not as obvious as the stained vs. painted cabinets debate.
Easy-to-Clean Kitchen Cabinet Hardware
When it comes to hardware, Designer Myra Flipsen warns us about the danger of damaging your cabinet finish with knobs. Since knobs are so small, when you use them your hand usually ends up brushing against the cabinet door.
Over time, all that friction can rub off your cabinet's finish. As a result, you may find an unsightly ring develops around the knob where the finish has visibly worn.
I always recommend handles in the kitchen. As much as I like a knob, I think a handle is a better choice because you’re not actually touching the surface of the cabinet every time you use it. —Design Consultant Myra Flipsen
Handles are better that way since the dirt and oil from your hands will transfer to the handle itself—not the surrounding cabinet.
When choosing a handle, though, you might want to steer clear of oversized handles with large, flat surfaces. Oversized handles can collect dust and even crumbs when they fall off your countertop.
The best easy-to-clean hardware choice is a handle with a simple design (no ornate grooves for grime to cling to) that’s also narrow enough to prevent crumbs from resting on top.
Learn more about how to choose cabinet hardware here!
Easy-to-Clean Kitchen Cabinet Designs
When it comes to the design of your cabinets, there are a few things you can do that will lift a load off your shoulders when it comes to household chores.
Extend Cabinets to the Ceiling
For starters, if your budget allows it, try to extend kitchen cabinets to the ceiling. That way, you don’t have to worry about dusting the tops of your cabinets.
If extending cabinets isn’t financially feasible, lay parchment paper up there instead. The paper will collect most of the dust, and when it comes time to “dust”, all you have to do is remove and replace the lining.
Next, go one step further and hide your appliances behind cabinet doors.
Integrated appliances allow you to literally tuck your appliances away, instantly creating a neater, cleaner kitchen space.
You can customize a panel over the fridge, dishwasher, microwave, or all of the above.
Check out how this fridge stays discreetly hidden in plain sight:
Forgo Open Shelving
Lastly, if you're really concerned about dust build-up, forgo the open shelving. While open shelving may be a fashionable industry trend—it does look fabulous—it’s not always an ideal match for a low-maintenance kitchen.
Open shelves are another surface susceptible to dust. Especially if you keep décor and unique items on display, you’ll find that open shelves demand a lot of cleaning action.
Easy-to-Clean Kitchen Sinks
Undermount sinks are another great way to keep on top of your kitchen’s cleanliness without even trying.
Undermount sinks, like the one below, are perfect for low-maintenance designs because they don’t have a raised lip around the edges. Instead, the sink is installed on the underside of the countertop, allowing you to wipe crumbs easily from a flush countertop directly into the basin.
Easy-to-Clean Kitchen Flooring
If you’re determined to minimize mess, vinyl floors should be a contender on your kitchen design product list.
Entirely synthetic, waterproof, and highly scratch-resistant, it hardly takes any effort to keep vinyl floors looking new.
Luxury vinyl tiles (or LVT) in particular have made a huge splash in the kitchen design industry in recent years. More and more busy, active families are discovering their resilience and strength.
LVT comes in all styles, too. You can find realistic look-alikes of hardwood and stone.
Learn more about vinyl and other kitchen floors in our article, “Top 5 Kitchen Floors for New-Builds and Remodels”.
Easy-to-Clean Kitchen Backsplashes
The best advice for installing an easy-to-clean kitchen backsplash can be summed up in two words:
Grout is the housecleaner’s worst enemy. Dirt and grime stick to the gritty material, making it next to impossible to scrub clean.
That’s the same reason it’s wise to ensure your backsplash is smooth. Although on-trend, rough stone backsplashes pose a big cleaning challenge. It takes a lot of elbow grease to remove kitchen residue from textured tiles and stones.
Thankfully, nowadays there’s so much more you can do with a backsplash then use tile and grout. You can extend your whole countertop up the wall to create a flat, smooth, and veined backsplash. You can even get creative with wood or thermoplastic.
Even better than the ultra-contemporary style points you’ll win? The cleaning time you’ll shave from your schedule.
Easy-to-Clean Kitchen Appliances
Technology has come a long way. When you’re shopping for appliances for a kitchen reno, always be on the look-out for easy-to-clean features. You might be surprised at the cleaning-friendly innovations that are on the market.
High-end ovens sometimes have self-cleaning functions. Many fridges, dishwashers, and stoves are designed with removable parts. Some stainless steel appliances are even smudge- and fingerprint-resistant.
As for your cooking appliances, if you choose an induction stove top, you won’t have to worry about cleaning the grates from a gas or electric burner.
Follow the link for more info on how to choose appliances for a kitchen renovation.
Easy to Clean Kitchen Countertops
A solid surface countertop is the best route to an easy-to-clean kitchen design.
Both granite and quartz are heavy-duty, hardwearing materials, but quartz comes out on top in the easy-to-clean competition because it’s a non-porous engineered stone (non-porous means no sealing is required). On the other hand, with granite, you need to seal the natural stone periodically to prevent staining.
As for countertop finishes, a polished finish is likely the most easy-care choice for your quartz countertop. The texture in leathered countertop finishes have small crooks and crannies that require extra cleaning attention.
Follow the link to read more about “Polished vs. Honed vs. Leathered Countertops”.
Design With Deslaurier
With easy-to-clean cabinets, hardware, sinks, flooring, backsplashes, appliances, and countertops, you’re well on your way to a chore-free lifestyle!
If you’d like to speak to a professional kitchen designer in Ottawa about your upcoming kitchen reno, book a consultation with us—no strings attached.
Live outside the city? No problem. Find a dealer to discover the Deslaurier advantage close to home.