The Best Finish for Inside Your Kitchen Drawers

October 4, 2022
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Protect The Inside of Drawers From Scratches and Dents

Kitchen drawers and cabinets can make or break the aesthetics of your kitchen. Whether you are installing new ones, updating old ones, or doing a complete kitchen remodel, you want to think critically about your kitchen drawers. The look, structure, and design of your kitchen cabinets will define the aesthetics and feel of your kitchen.

Photo of Exterior Drawer Knob

You’ll Want to Make Sure You Take as Much Care to Protect the Inside of Your Drawers as the Outside

This guide aims to help you understand kitchen drawer finishes and the pros and cons of each type. The end of the article should help you choose the best finish for the inside of your kitchen drawers.

Should You Finish The Inside Of Drawers?

It is practical to finish the inside of your kitchen drawers. Aside from aesthetic reasons, finishing the drawers can add a layer of protection. There is no compelling reason not to cover your drawers’ interior unless you like how unfinished furniture looks.

From a professional standpoint, you should finish the inside of your kitchen cabinets so they can last longer. Construction and remodeling projects take a lot of time and money. Undertaking such a project and then having to repair or replace it in a few years due to water damage is not economically sound.

Drawers Containing Plates

Plates Can Scratch the Inside of a Sliding Drawer if the Drawer Isn’t Adequately Protected

A kitchen cabinet finish makes the cabinet appear cleaner and more pleasant to use. However, if you are restoring a vintage kitchen cabinet, finishing the interior may not be appropriate. The decision will depend entirely on whether you want to retain the original look or update it.

Should Kitchen Drawers Be Painted Inside?

Painting the inside of kitchen drawers is a typical modern practice. While some prefer natural finishes or stains, painting kitchen cabinets is a widely accepted cabinetry finish. Whether or not kitchen drawers should be painted inside comes down to preference and decor style.

Painting the inside of kitchen cabinets can provide excellent protection against mold and mildew growth, as well as excessive dust. It can also restore the luster and look of a vintage cabinet. Kitchen drawers can also remain unfinished and not be painted but that comes with a heightened risk of damage and decay.

How Do You Protect Inside Drawers?

To protect the inside of your drawers, you need to line them. Lining a drawer is done with parchment paper, manila paper, or a kitchen drawer liner. Parchment paper is not the best option and will need replacing often. However, if short on time, it can protect kitchen cabinets from dust, oil, and insects.

Manila paper is another alternative that is not long-lasting. It does, however, last longer than parchment paper. It can adequately protect against grease, dust, and bugs. Manila paper is easy to source and can allow for some creativity with a comprehensive variety of colors. It is also very customizable and affordable.

The best way to protect the inside of kitchen drawers would be liners. There are many different options both online and at home decor shops. Kitchen liners can be disposable or washable. With disposable liners, you have to replace them after a given amount of time and keep buying new ones.

A Utensil Drawer

In Addition to Having Containers in Your Utensil Drawer, Some Sort of Protection - Like a Shelf Liner - is Highly Recommended.

Washable liners are often made of plastic or soft wood. They keep kitchen cabinets clean for longer and make cleaning them easier. When cleaning your lined kitchen drawer, simply pull out the liner gently and wipe/wash it. This limits the number of particles left in the drawer and protects the cabinet from grease or dirt stains.

EasyLiner Provides a Thorough Overview of Shelf Liner Options in the Video Above

How Do You Finish A Kitchen Drawer?

To finish a kitchen drawer, you must first decide on the best finish for inside your kitchen drawers. It will differ for everyone depending on the circumstance.

Using prefinished wood is a fast option when short on time or skills needed to apply a finish properly. If using pre-finished material to make the kitchen cabinet from scratch, there is no need to address the interior because it will already be finished upon assembly.

Alternatively, you may choose to use a liquid finish on their kitchen drawers after they are built and put together.

The Best Finish For Inside Your Kitchen Drawers

There are several ways to finish the inside of your kitchen cabinets and drawers:


The easiest and most versatile way to finish kitchen cabinets is by painting them. Paint finish for cabinets comes in a wide range of colors and styles. As a result, painting cabinets makes it simple to match your decor style and theme of the house. Paint also works well to hide flaws in the wood of the drawers or the cabinet doors. With a great paint job, your kitchen will have a finished look that matches your aesthetic.

Paint Finishes

Latex paint comes in various finishes:

Matte Finish - A matte finish will dry flat. It does not shine or glare from reflected light. That said, the flat finish may make cleaning a chore compared to other finishes. As a result, it is best suited for finishing furniture or walls in less high-traffic home areas.

Semi-gloss finish -  This type of paint for kitchen cabinets dries bright and shiny, creating perfectly bold kitchen cabinets. A semi-gloss finish is eye-catching and captures light from the windows and fixtures, making the kitchen appear bright and spacious. However, a semi-gloss finish will show scratches and imperfections on the kitchen drawers and cabinets.

Satin finish - A satin finish dries down like satin; slightly shiny but flat when compared to semi-gloss. It is a long-lasting finish that can withstand high heat and humidity.

Enamel finish - This highly durable, high gloss cabinet finish dries down smooth and hard. It is effortless to wipe clean and is highly resistant to scratches. It is the best finish for inside your kitchen drawers if you use your kitchen often.

These paint finishes are typically applied to the cabinet and drawer fronts. So when considering them for the inside of your kitchen drawers, you must take note of the drawer’s function. Ideally, a uniform inside finish for all your drawers will work. But you can apply different finishes for different drawers depending on what they are used for. Some drawers may require a highly durable satin enamel finish, whereas others will not.


Staining is a great option for kitchen cabinets made of expensive and beautiful wood. It highlights the natural intricacies of the wood while preserving it and making it easy to clean. Stain is a durable, affordable, and easy-to-maintain finishing option for the inside of your kitchen drawers.

The stain used for kitchen cabinets consists of natural dyes. Wood stain is either water-based or solvent-based and works by soaking deep into the cabinet and bonds with the wood. The deep bond prevents it from cracking, fading, and peeling. Stained kitchen drawers are easy to clean and require only a soft cloth and gentle cleaner.


The easiest finish for your kitchen drawers is lacquer. It is easy to apply and can either be sprayed or painted on. It takes 15 minutes to dry and lasts a long time. However, it does take multiple layers of lacquer to achieve a lacquer finish.

Kitchen cabinets can have a matte, medium, or high gloss lacquer finish. Lacquer comes in various colors and is suitable for cabinets made of any material.

Lacquer is susceptible to cracking and provides no resistance to chemicals. Thus it may not be the best finish for the inside of kitchen drawers, especially those holding cleaning supplies.


If you are looking for a durable and versatile finish that is not painting, a melamine finish is the perfect answer. The finish heat-seals Thermally Fused Melamine(TFM) resin to a hardwood substrate. You can finish kitchen cabinets made of various wood materials with melamine.

Since TFM has a paper layer that allows you to print any color or design, a melamine finish is customizable and versatile. It allows for true individuality in your kitchen cabinets. Also, melamine is durable and easy to clean since it is a non-porous surface. This quality makes it water and stain-resistant, perfect for the insides of kitchen drawers.

Its major drawback is that it is prone to chipping and hard to repair. It is also important to note that kitchen cabinets made of melamine-finished wood are heavy and may need additional reinforcements and specialty installation.


Another finish that is durable and practical is laminate. To laminate a kitchen cabinet, a thin, durable plastic laminate layer is placed on cabinets made of plywood, particle board, or MDF. Laminate comes in many colors and is available in low and high-pressure options. High-pressure laminate is more expensive but is also more durable.

Laminated kitchen drawers hold up well against moisture, chemicals, and heat, making them a great finishing option. However, the glue holding the laminate to the wood can break down and cause the laminate to pull off. This issue is irreparable and will be costly to replace.


A glaze is a top coat for both paint and stain. It is a great way to give your kitchen cabinets a modern yet, antique flair. It helps bring in vintage, antique, rustic, and farmhouse designs.

Glaze is applied over any cabinet, painted or stained, and then wiped away. Quickly wiping the glaze off allows it to settle in a thin layer on the more prominent details of the cabinets, such as the bevels and lines. It highlights the intricacies of the cabinet and thus is a great option for artistically constructed kitchen cabinets.

Glazes come in several colors, from dark to light. The light-colored glaze is typically applied to light cabinets and vice versa. However, a dark glaze can be applied on light or white-colored cabinets to achieve a vintage look. This finish is great when restoring old kitchen cabinets. Accent glazes are also available and will highlight unique details rather than glazing the entire cabinet.


Clear varnish is a common finish for pre-made kitchen drawers and cabinets. This clear coat forms a hard protective layer on the drawers when it dries. It increases durability, but it does have a distinct smell. Varnish may not be ideal for the inside of kitchen drawers that hold Tupperware, lunch boxes, or other utensils.

Frank Salvatore

Hey there - I'm Frank Salvatore. I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!

About Me
Frank Salvatore
I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!
Learn More About Me
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