What Kind of Paint Should I Use on Pantry Shelves?

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Is your pantry or entire kitchen due for an update? Having a fresh, clean, organized pantry makes it much easier to see what you have stored inside, which can make snack time or dinner prep much faster. A new coat of paint and pantry organizers can offer an easy, inexpensive pantry makeover. If your project includes painting the pantry shelves to give them a clean, updated look, choosing the right type of paint affects how well it stands up to scratches, gouges, and stains.


Understanding Paint Sheen Characteristics

With so many different types of interior paint, it can be confusing to know which type you need. The ideal paint can vary based on the project, so it's important to understand the paint options and how they work. Water-based and oil-based, or alkyd-based, are the two main categories of paint.


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Within these two groups, manufacturers offer a range of sheens. Paint sheen is the ability of the paint to reflect light. Paints can have a low-sheen, such as in a flat or matte type, or they can reflect a great deal of light, typical of gloss paints. Semi-gloss is a mid-range degree of light-reflective ability. Eggshell and satin paints are in the range between matte and gloss paints.

When painting walls, the sheen can have a great impact on the look of the room and how light is reflected within it. In a small project, light reflection is less important than the ability of these glossier paints to withstand wear and repeated cleaning.


Gloss Paint for Moisture Resistance

Gloss paint offers a high sheen with a slightly mirrored finish. It provides a smooth surface with good moisture resistance. The high gloss finish highlights every imperfection in the surface, however, though this isn't an important factor for pantry shelves as it would be for wall surfaces. The high gloss of the paint intensifies the color, and this should be taken into account when choosing colors.


Semi-Gloss Paint for Durability

Semi-gloss paint offers slightly less light reflection than gloss paint. Semi-gloss paint doesn't have the wet look that gloss paints have. Semi-gloss paints offer the best durability and can stand up to repeated washings and scuffs. It's also an ideal sheen if your pantry is dark or dimly lit. A light hue with a semi-gloss finish can make the space feel brighter without causing too much glare from the artificial lighting, which can happen with high-gloss paint.


The Best Paint For Pantry Shelves

Because of its better coverage and ability to withstand scuffs and wear, gloss paint is the best choice for high-use areas, such as pantry shelves. Gloss paint is also easier to maintain as it will stand up to repeated cleaning from the inevitable spills.


High-gloss, oil-based paint is the toughest paint coating for wooden pantry shelves. However, it can be messy to apply and requires solvents for clean up. Oil-based gloss paints also produce strong odors that require good ventilation for a few days after painting.

However, if you dislike the mirrored effect of gloss paints, semi-gloss is a good second choice in terms of coverage and durability. It's still easy to clean, so any spills in the pantry are simple to wipe up.



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