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Making The Big Decision – Stained vs. Painted Cabinets

Making The Big Decision – Stained vs. Painted Cabinets

Are you having a hard time deciding between painted cabinets and cabinets with a stained finish?
For starters you should know the trend over the past two to three years has been painted cabinets. Today almost 3 out of every four cabinets are painted. Of those the majority are painted white or off-white. Gray cabinets are coming into vogue as well. Just a few short years ago it was the opposite, only one out four cabinets was painted. This is because many people prefer an all white kitchen and the clean look it portrays. It’s a timeless look. It also helps that costs for painted cabinets has come down.

Here are a few factors we suggest that you consider before making the big decision.

Wood Species & Investment

If you are leaning towards painted cabinets they can require a larger investment. You can usually expect to pay 10 -15% more for painted cabinets. However, there are a number of factors that go into pricing kitchen cabinets. When considering paint versus stained it’s important to keep wood species in mind. Work with your designer to gain an understanding for the natural characteristics of the various species. You’ll also want to see samples in person.

Also Read : Hot Kitchen Trends

Other factors to consider are the types of kitchen cabinets. The better understanding your designer has on how your kitchen is used on a daily basis the better they can guide you on all of these intricacies. Also not all cabinet companies do a great job with painted cabinets. You’ll want to check with your designer to ensure the cabinet company has a good reputation for painted cabinets.


It’s important to consider what type of overall look you want for your kitchen. Painted cabinets offer a sleek, clean design with a smooth, flawless finish. Classic white painted cabinets are the most popular color of painted cabinets. Selecting painted cabinets opens up numerous color options for you to select from, unlike stained cabinets. Paint is thicker than stain and sticks well to the surface of the wood to covers knots and grains – making the focus on the color and not the texture of the cabinet.

Stained cabinets on the other hand are a great choice for homeowners who enjoy the look of wood grains and knots. Since stain is thinner than paint it soaks into the surface, giving the cabinet some color all while preserving the natural textures.

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You’ll also want to consider the type of flooring, countertop, and backsplash tiles for your kitchen. You’ll want to choose cabinets that flow with the rest of your selections. By working with a designer you’re likely to have a kitchen with a cohesive look.


When making a big investment on new cabinets you want to be sure that what you are buying will be easy to maintain and will hold up over the years. That being said, you should be aware that painted cabinets can show every day smudges and dirt more easily than a stained wood tone cabinet will. It’s also important to know, like any painted surface, it is possible for paint to chip if the cabinet is struck by a hard object. While you can get touch-up kits from some manufactures they may not blend well depending on the type of finish. On the other hand, it is much easier to find touch-up markers for stained cabinets. Even without an exact match you can often rely on the grains of the cabinet to help disguise a touch-up spot and help it to blend in.

Also Read : Creating The Perfect Kitchen for Entertaining

Once you’ve put some thought into the pros and cons of each option it’s up to you to ultimately decide if you prefer painted kitchen cabinets or stained kitchen cabinets. Still need some help deciding? Our team of design experts can work with you to help create the kitchen of your dreams. Contact us today for a consultation.

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