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Compare Painting vs Staining Cabinets Costs

Painting Cabinets

Flipped through a design magazine lately? You’ve probably noticed that painted cabinets are in fashion. The design world is loving white or cream-colored cabinets that make kitchens look large, open and airy.

But you don’t have to stick to shades of white. Some people choose to go more dramatic with gray, black or dark blue. Or, you can get whimsical with bright, beach-inspired shades of yellow, orange or blue.

Painting Cabinets Cost

Having your cabinets professionally painted usually costs about $2,000 to $5,000, depending on the size of your kitchen, the complexity of the job and your geographic location. This might sound expensive, but a quality repainting job requires a significant amount of work. It requires cleaning, sanding, disassembling, two or three coats of paint (at least) and reassembling. Typically, the job requires at least two painters.

Painting Cabinets Pros

  • Modern look - Painted cabinets offer a crisp, modern look. Light colors make kitchens look spacious and bright, and they contrast well with dark-colored countertops. Painted cabinets also have a smooth, uniform texture.
  • Disguises wood grain - Painting is a great option if your cabinets are in good shape but you don’t like the look of the wood grain. As oak has fallen out of fashion, for example, many homeowners have opted to paint oak cabinets.
  • Easy to hide dust - Dust isn’t as obvious on painted cabinets, particularly light colors.
Paint vs Stain Cabinets

Painting Cabinets Cons

  • Price - Because painting cabinets requires more time and labor than staining them, having cabinets painted is slightly more expensive.
  • Cracks - Painted cabinets can develop cracks over time.

Staining Cabinets Overview

Stained cabinets offer a more traditional look. Despite the recent surge in popularity of painted cabinets, most homeowners still opt for the warm, familiar and timeless look of stained cabinets.

Stained cabinets show off the natural features and grains of the wood. You can opt for anything from a clear stain that highlights the natural color of the wood to a dark mahogany that adds a dramatic, stylish flair.

Cabinet Staining Cost

Having cabinets re-stained usually costs about $1,500 to $4,000 - slightly less than having them repainted. As with painted cabinets, the price varies based on the size of your kitchen, the complexity of the job and geographic location.

Looked at another way, you can expect to spend about $80 to $120 per door, and $70 to $100 per drawer.

Staining Cabinets Pros

  • Classic look - Most homeowners are more accustomed to seeing stained cabinets, so the look is popular, in part, because of its familiarity. Stained cabinets are better for resale value, too.
  • Cost - Staining cabinets is not quite as labor intensive as painting, so it tends to cost slightly less.

Staining Cabinets Cons

  • Requires nicer wood - Paint tends to mask the natural characteristics of the wood; stain does not. If you buy cheap cabinets and choose to have them stained, the lack of quality will show through.

Fewer design options - White goes with almost anything, but it can be difficult to match certain colors of stain to the rest of your kitchen. For example, darker stains don’t work well with dark countertops.

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