Should You Paint Or Stain Your Kitchen Cabinets?
You’re ready to update your kitchen, refreshing the cabinets you currently have. This leaves just one important question: paint or stain?
Cabinet painting and finishing are two of our most popular services - no doubt about it. That’s probably due in large part to the fact that kitchens have taken on a whole new level of importance in our homes, acting as a central hub where we do life. Consequently, improvements to your kitchen space offer some of the best return on investment you’ll see from any home improvement project. Hands-down.
If you have good quality cabinets that meet your needs, but are ready for a fresh look, cabinet painting and finishing is the perfect way to create all the style of a remodel, just without the messy demo and long construction process.
There’s lots to love about that, right?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of paint and stain, just to help you make the best choice for your home.
Cabinet Painting Pros and Cons
Pro: Clean, Bright Style
White is definitely a popular option. And it’s honestly not just a trendy pick! Similar to say, subway tiles, it may be in high demand right now, but its roots go deep. White will always be in style as a timeless, neutral choice.
Pro: Have Fun with Cabinet Colors
You can pick unique, attractive stains, but will they ever have the impact that a bold island accent color offers? Probably not. Paint creates endless possibilities, especially when you use it in attractive combinations that bring your kitchen to life.
Pro: Paint Covers Blemishes
Stain is not very forgiving, but with the right products and prep the right paint can cover a multitude of dings and gouges. Even a natural feature, like large knots in the wood, can be a little unsightly depending on the character and quality of the material. Paint is the great equalizer.
Con: Can Be Harder To Touch Up
If you use the right products for the job, paint is very durable. But life still happens, especially if you have kids in the house. Paint is a little less forgiving, and requires the occasional touch-up to look its best.
Con: Hides Natural Features
For some folks, natural wood grain and all those unique swirls and patterns is where it’s at. If you have quality cabinets that really shine, it can be a shame to cover those features (for some homeowners, anyway).
Cabinet Staining Pros and Cons
Pro: Easier To Touch Up
Got a blemish? Finding the exact stain match isn’t hard, or if it’s a finish that pre-dates you, find something similar and you’ll likely be able to blend it without much trouble.
Pro: Natural Warmth and Charm
If you love wood grain, let it shine! Stain exudes a timeless warmth, and showcases more craftsmanship than paint.
Pro: You Can Retone
If you like wood finishes, but just not YOUR wood finish, talk to your painting company about retoning. It’s an ideal way to update your style without going the painted route.
Con: Showcase Blemishes
Yikes… Stain showcases all the natural charm, but it also highlights the imperfections. To look its very best, stained surfaces need to be in excellent condition.
Con: Some Limitations
Lower-grade materials, like engineered MDF (fiberboard) can’t be stained. There are painting limitations too for these substrates, raising larger questions about whether a pull-and-replace cabinet upgrade would be a better option.
Con: Some Stains Look Dated in Older Kitchens
In older kitchens especially, the wrong stain choice can create a dark, dated aesthetic. Your hardware and door/drawer face style might only accentuate this look. That’s why so many homeowners opt for a radical change with paint. It’s crucial to really think through your space, style, and natural light before committing to a particular color.
Our Best Advice? Talk with an Experienced Cabinet Painting Company
The right professional will offer both services, and provide an unbiased perspective based on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. They can also offer samples so that you can see and feel what the surfaces will be like in your home. That makes a huge difference!
If you have any additional questions about your Bay Area cabinet painting or finishing project, please reach out. We’re here to help!