Cabinets Painted or Stained?

Updated on September 05, 2013
C.R. asks from Olathe, KS
16 answers

We are planning on redoing our kitchen cabinets soon but can't decide which is better. If you were looking at a house to buy, would you want the kitchen cabinets to be painted or stained? If painted, what color? If stained, what color?

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answers from Dallas on


I loathe painted cabinets. Wood, is wood. Wood should be treated in such a way, to bring out it's beauty. Not, to be covered. The stain completely depends on the style of the kitchen, the space, and the lighting.

I hate white cabinets. HATE them.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Everyone I know likes white cabinets... If you can stain white, I think that's better than paint. But if not, I've seen repainted white that look really good. Maybe bc it's been done professionally. Interesting some people on here like dark bc I have had so many conversations with people how they only like white. Dark makes the room dark etc... A friend bought a beautiful big new house and the kitchen is huge with plenty of light so dark should be ok but first thing they're going to redo are the cabinets.

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answers from Columbia on

It really depends upon the style of your kitchen/cabinets. Check out for some great ideas.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

I just repainted my old 1980's cabinets that are made of melamine. They came out great using a product from Rustoleum called Cabinet Transformations. Go to their website to see amazing before and after photos to give you ideas. I went from a medium tone looking faux wood to a "whitewashed" look by using their pure white kit and then adding the glaze.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We just had our dark kitchen cabinets painted white, and they look phenomenal. We changed the hardware to a rubbed bronze, changed the floors to a dark hickory hardwood, and will be getting granite too.

ETA: Ideally we would have been able to replace the cabinets, but that's not in our budget, and it's actually incredibly wasteful of perfectly solid cabinetry that are just an eyesore. We can still see the grain of the wood through the paint, and I love it. Our kitchen is getting a "French Country" vibe now.

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answers from Los Angeles on

The rule "never paint real wood" has served us well.
Light to medium stain.

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answers from Philadelphia on

Depends on the style of the cabinets although I don't particularly like painted wood. However, if they are oak, I would paint since I think oak cabinets is a very dated look. In all fairness, I am a cherry fanatic or I like maple that looks like cherry.
If I was painting, I would probably go with white. While people might not love it they can probably live with it. Good luck!

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answers from Seattle on

Our cabinets are stained very dark and it gives the kitchen a modern look.
I do not like painted wood cabinets. It looks nice for a year or so and then the paint starts chipping where the doors and cabinets meet.
I also always feel painting over wood cabinets just looks cheap, but then maybe that's just because I have never seen a "professional" paint job on cabinets - any house that we ever lived in someone had obviously done a hackjob.
When in doubt I would say stain them.

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answers from Dover on

Stained. I don't like the dark wood so I go for an oak or a honey oak.

Not only do I think it looks better, but the darker stains make the room look darker.

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answers from New York on

We bought an apartment with cabinets which are stained a dark brown black color and have a matte finish. the look is very modern, and goes nicely with the stainless steel appliances, hardware, and beige granite countertops and backsplash.

I was thrilled and thought I had scored a coup because frankly, my husband would never have chosen something of that ilk were we to re-do the kitchen ourselves. His is a more traditional aesthetic.

While the look is still fabulous, the maintenance, frankly, sucks. Every droplet of water, finger print, and smear shows up against the solid dark wood.

There's something to say for medium wood tones.

Good luck to you and yours,
F. B.

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answers from Chicago on

I would never buy a house with painted cabinets unless I was planning to ripe them out.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

If I walked into a house with pure white cabinets with a minimal cabinet door front and dark counter tops that has good appliances I don't think the rest of the house would matter because that is my dream kitchen.

I use my Shark Steam Mop that can be flipped over to quick clean the cabinet doors and sides plus the appliance fronts and sides at my FIL's house that I clean each week. The paint is so easy to keep clean and pretty. I love having that painted surface. White floor is a must also. Sterile and clean looking. Shark Steam Mop or a Floor Mate will keep them perfect.

Wood is also nice but I want white cabinets, shaker style door fronts, brushed nickel handles, and dark dark dark dark green counter tops. I have all new black appliances and I love how clean and shiny I can get them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

I HATE painted cabinets.
Unless they are beyond staining, don't paint them. We house hunted last year, and a few houses w/ painted cabinets were really unappealing. JMO. I personally do not like white cabinets, in some kitchens it may look flattering but I would never choose white.
We recently purchased the kit from Lowes where you can "restain" your cabinets w/ out having to sand them. It's about $150 a kit, and there are many many color choices!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

White paint! We just redid our kitchen and got all white cabinets, and they look SO much better than the dated honey-colored ones. When we redid our previous kitchen we also did white painted cabinets (with light yellow walls). It really brightens the place up.

One consideration would be the size of your kitchen. Both our houses have been old 100-year-old ones, so the kitchens were small. The white was needed to open things up.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

When we were house hunting we saw a kitchen that had all the cupboards in the kitchen painted black.
It made the room very dark and oppressive.
It totally turned me off.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Well the real question is, are you moving or staying there?? If you are planning on moving now or in the near future I would absolutely go with stained. Do a basic lighter color stain and be done with it.

If you're staying then do what makes you happy!

We are currently in the middle of a MAJOR kitchen remodel and have torn down walls, moved doors, etc. Anyway, we had custom cabinets made and my painter is downstairs as we speak getting ready to prime them! I am actually going with a bright and fun pickle green color for my cabinets. The base of my island we are painting a rustic orange/red color. I'm not into white cabinets either, they get dirty, but I love painted cabinets in funky and/or bright colors.

I do agree that has awesome ideas. That is where I got most of my ideas actually for my cabinets.

My kitchen would not be very resale happy but we didn't worry about that. We have no plans to move and I wasn't about to plan for something "just in case". I made (am making I guess!) my kitchen in a way that made me happy and I can't wait until it's done!!

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