Repaint or Replace Kitchen Cabinets? Which Is the Best Choice?

Image of Kitchen Cabinets, so should you Repaint or Replace Kitchen Cabinets?Kitchen cabinets are among the primary components of a beautiful kitchen. More so, they are the first thing that guests will notice when they enter the room. Therefore, homeowners are always on their toes to avoid having old and outdated cabinets. But also there are so many options to choose from, like whether to Repaint or Replace Kitchen Cabinets.

It is better to repaint your kitchen cabinets instead of replacing them. The cost to paint a kitchen cabinet is typically ⅓ to ½ the replacing cost. Also, we have durable and high-quality cabinet paints that will deliver a perfect outcome. But, this recommendation applies to cabinets that are in good shape. Otherwise, please consider replacing broken kitchen units.

That said, both replacing and painting activities have pros and cons. And you are safer choosing the best strategy that suits your existing kitchen cabinetry. Therefore, please engage with this piece as we do an in-depth study of these methods. I believe that after going through this article, you will find it a lot easier to make a decision on whether to repaint or replace kitchen cabinets?

How Much Does It Cost to Repaint Kitchen Cabinets Professionally?

The cost of professionally repainting kitchen cabinets is anywhere between $4,000 to $9,000 and higher. More specifically, the average cost for mid-sized kitchens is approximately $6,800. 

However, the price depends on various aspects such as the kitchen size, the cabinet areas you are painting, the extent of damages, complexity, and the materials needed. Check out how these factors affect the repainting cost.

  • Size. Larger kitchens usually have more cabinets. Therefore, you will expend more labor, time, and materials. So, please be ready for an increased cost for a huge kitchen space.
  • The Area You are Painting. There are various surfaces in a kitchen cabinet, such as shelves, frames, and doors. Thus, you’ll need more materials, time, and labor if you want to cover more areas.
  • Damages. It is always prudent to fix damaged cabinet areas instead of painting over them. More so, these damages only get worse with time and will ultimately show through the paint. In addition, severe imperfections can cause the paint finish to peel and crack more quickly.
  • Complexity. The amount you are painting, damages, and size fall into this category. But you can also add the cabinet’s layout. For example, tight and confined spaces can make painting harder. And you will have to strip off already painted surfaces before applying a new finish,
  • Materials. High-quality paints and application materials are more expensive than cheaper ones. Therefore, you’ll have to give up more money to deliver a sophisticated result. However, you will ultimately get value for your cash if you follow the correct application procedure.

Typically homeowners consider repainting kitchen cabinets to deliver a new look. Also, kitchen trends seem to be changing so quickly and more drastically than we expected. Therefore, repainting seems to be the cheapest strategy to remain in the trendy wagon.

Additionally, whitewash oak was a popular option in the 1980s and 90s. But now painters prefer a more natural look like oak. So, they purchase darker wood finishes such as maple and cherry.

Still, painting is way cheaper than replacing kitchen cabinets, even with these advancements. Cabinet paints cost anywhere between $200 to $600, depending on the brand. Also, the new paints are durable and feature every bit of the longevity of new cabinets.

Lastly, it is possible to paint your cabinet kitchens yourself. You only need to have the right supplies and expertise. Even so, please put in the required effort and time. Otherwise, you’ll be sacrificing quality for some coins and end up with a failed product.

How Much Does Cabinet Paint Cost Vs Replacement?

The painting base cost ranges from $200 to $600, depending on the chosen paint brand and preferred application supplies. However, this cost applies when you are doing the work yourself. 

Alternatively, you can get a painting contractor. They will charge you around $120 to $170 per cabinet and $20 to $30 per drawer. But you can be sure of a sophisticated and durable finish.

The other option to spice up your kitchen is replacing the cabinets. We have dealers that offer premade, standard-sized stock cabinets in a factory. Thus, replacement becomes the cheapest of all your cabinet choices.

Although these cabinets are cheap and seemingly affordable, they are a bit dull. Also, stock cabinets may clash with or stand against detailed crowing molding or other special features in the kitchen.

The cost of these cabinets is approximately $60 to $200 per linear foot. But you can go for semi-custom cabinets, where you start with stock cabinets. Then add fancy details like glass inserts and fancy trim. These adjustments will hike the price to around $100 to $650 per linear foot.

Also, you can go for custom cabinets, which a woodworker makes from scratch. Therefore, it is possible to include personal details such as a custom paint color, specialty shelving sizes, and slide-out shelves.


Unfortunately, custom cabinets are very expensive and cost about $500 and $1,200 per linear foot. But they guarantee very high quality. So, please consider them if you have some more money to spare.

Kitchen replacements require you to incorporate the installation costs. Also, cabinet installation is not something you want to do alone because improper installation can lead to uneven cabinets. Worse still, they may pull away from the walls after some time.

It would then be best to get an expert to help with fixing the cabinets. Hence, you can expect to spend about $150 to $380 per linear foot. In addition, each cabinet may need 60 to 80 minutes to install. So, ensure you factor in an hour or two of labor per cabinet.

That said, please make a fully informed decision about painting or replacing your cabinets. The main objective is to have a successful kitchen renovation project. Thus, pick the most suitable strategy.

Do You Have to Sand Cabinets Before Painting?

You are better off sanding cabinets before painting. This way, you give the paint a good surface to grip. However, you do not need to sand bare wood. Also, you can skip this step if your cabinets have a factory finish.

Remember that cleaning comes before sanding. It helps to avoid pressing down contaminants in the wood during sanding. In addition, cleaning reveals rough edges and areas that need light or heavy sanding.

Is It Better to Spray or Roll Kitchen Cabinets?

It is better to spray kitchen cabinets as you do not have to worry about having brush strokes in the finish. More so, sprayers aid in painting every nook and canny and cover even uneven surfaces and behind objects. 

On top of that, the topcoat does not require a touch-up or sanding. Therefore, it is possible to quickly deliver a uniform layer free of missed spots and bubbles.

Paint application is often faster with sprayers because they cover a greater surface area in less time. In addition, you only need thinner layers to achieve a perfect look, and thus you’ll require less drying time between applications.

You will incur fewer labor expenses for a painting spree. More specifically, spray painting applies twice as much paint as standard paint brushing. So, it is practical to hire an expert to help you do the job.

Even so, it would be prudent to avoid over-spraying the surface. Otherwise, you may end up with paint mist on nearby objects. Hence, please cover any surfaces or objects within several feet of the painting area.

Additionally, it would be better to pay more attention to the surface preparation stage. Ensure that you sand the surface well before applying the paint. This way, the surface is already smooth before you paint it.

Sometimes you are working on more traditional or older woodwork and need a more stable strategy. Thus, it would be better to brush-paint the surface. Also, you can consider using a paintbrush to maintain the wood’s natural look.

On top of that, hand-brushed cabinets are more forgiving and easier, especially when the surface has evident chips, nicks, and dents. Thus, please assess your project needs and choose the best strategy.

Does Painting Kitchen Cabinets Decrease Value?

Yes. Painting kitchen cabinets increase their value. On average, you only need $300 to paint the cabinets. Also, painting is a more economical alternative. Therefore, you can expect a significant return on your investment. 

How Can I Paint my Kitchen Cabinets Without Brush Marks?

Brush marks are not a lovely outcome for a painting project. Hence, it would be best to avoid them at all costs. Fortunately, there are a few strategies to adopt to keep your finish free of brush marks. They are as follows.

  • Use Drop Cloths

It is easy to get paint everywhere when painting paint cabinets. Therefore, please consider using drop cloths for your work. Also, the cloths protect the cabinet doors from dust and protect the walls and floors from paint.

  • Use Sandpaper or Sanding Sponges

A sanding sponge is often an obvious choice for this task, even with minimum pressure. However, it would be best to sand with the correct amount of pressure. Otherwise, you may end up creating uneven or inconsistent sanding spots.

It is okay to use a sander. But it might be a little heavy-handed for this kind of task. Also, please consider having a respirator or mask to avoid inhaling sanding dust. This way, you reduce the risk of respiratory issues.

  • Use A Quality Brush

Nothing is more annoying than pinching your fingers into a fresh paint finish to remove a fallen bristle. It wastes time as you have to wipe the paint off your finger. Even worse, it compromises the paint job. Thus, you will deliver better results if you get a high-quality brush whose bristles do not fall off.

Fan through new paintbrushes with your fingers. This exercise frees the bristles from each other and facilitates a smooth brushing session. Also, please consider brushes from animal hair as they easily accept paint.

Even so, you can use brushes with synthetic fibers. They are more eco-friendly and work perfectly for latex paint. Additionally, they are more durable and easy to clean. Thus, you won’t have to go back to the shop now and then.

  • Choose the Correct Cabinet Paint

The outcome of the paint finish highly depends on its quality. More specifically, you can use brands like Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams. Also, it would be best to get Zinser as your primer to facilitate the best finish.

Remember that cheap quality paint will deliver a noticeable poor finish. In addition, you may end up using more paint than expected. So, it is prudent to spend some more money on high-quality paint and avoid unnecessary hassles.

  • Get the Right Paint Amount

Mostly, a painter would want to use the least amount of paint possible—the exercise aids in using less paint and thus leads to fewer costs. But you may end up with ugly brush marks on the surface.

It would be best to put more than a little bit on the paintbrush for a more expert finish. However, please avoid using excess paint as it leads to streaks. Also, always keep the paint on the tip of the brush. Otherwise, it will run down the handle and lead to more issues.

  • Avoid Applying Too Much Pressure To the Paintbrush

This practice is a common beginner mistake. More so, it has more cons than pons. Therefore, you will most likely not deliver the desired finish with too much pressure. In addition, the idea is always to apply the paint to the brush not too far down into the bristles. This way, the accessory can float on the surface with some buoyancy.

Remember that the paint won’t float on the surface when you apply too much pressure. It will also lead to a blotchy paint job, and the surface may even show through due to uneven distribution.

Fortunately, you can always fix the mistake of applying too much pressure on the paint. Let it dry and go over it with a palm sander or sandpaper. Then, try another paint coat to smooth it out.

But then again, the rules may be different for artistic painters, who may find a few brush-marks beautiful. Also, some artworks need these marks to deliver a specific pattern or image.

Therefore, you will get your preferred results by knowing the specific patterns and finish you want.

  • Leave End Strokes In The Same Direction

There is some incredible magic in leaving paint strokes in the same direction. For instance, go around the room’s perimeter first when cutting in a bedroom with a brush. Use a hand 

bucket and carefully cut in the corners and edges to leave the strokes in one direction.

This recommendation is critical for the topcoat as it is the final coat. Therefore, a high or poor quality paint job depends on how seriously you take it.

  • Consider Using a Foam Roller or Paint Sprayer 

Foam rollers and paint sprayers are perfect ways to avoid brush marks. More so, they guarantee you more coverage and a perfect outcome in a short duration. However, it is prudent to cover surrounding areas and surfaces with masking.

What is the place of brushes? You may ask. Brushes are ideal for touching up hard-to-reach places, cutting in the edges, and doing small projects like painting kitchen cabinets and furniture. In addition, they help you to control the paint amount to apply on the surface.

But still, spray guns and foam rollers are easy to use, especially those without pro and high precision tips.

How Can I Paint my Cabinets Without Removing Them?

You can paint cabinets without removing them by covering countertops with newspaper. This way, you avoid accidental paint drips and spills. Also, you can consider using canvas or plastic drop cloths and tarps on the floor when working on bottom cabinets.

Please secure the drop cloths with some painter’s tape to keep them intact. In addition, remove old cabinet hardware, knobs, handles, and closures. You may not have to unfasten the cabinet door. So, you can leave them on their hinges.

However, it would be best to remove the cabinet doors if you want to paint their facade. The move will also allow you to paint the door hinges to match the cabinets. 

Why You Should Never Paint Your Cabinets?

Believe it or not, we have some instances when it is not prudent to paint your cabinets. For instance, paint hides key character features. Therefore, it will not showcase the wood’s grain and natural beauty.

In addition, paint is a thick formula, and it sits on top of the lumber instead of soaking into the wood. This attribute creates a flat and plain surface. Even worse, it hides the wood knots, making the solid wood cabinets beautiful and desirable.

It is best to avoid painting your cabinets as paints are harder to touch up and renovate. There will always be eventual and inevitable wear and tear on kitchen cabinets. So, ultimately it is just a matter of time before you see the need for some repainting.

Unfortunately, color matching and touching up the cabinets is quite a hassle for painters. More so, the paint results may worsen if you do not get the exact paint. Also, the paint finish will fade over time, and thus it may never match a hundred percent.

Even worse, most cabinet paint supplying companies prefer spray application. Therefore, touching up the existing paint finish becomes much harder.

Please avoid painting your cabinets as it is not a cost-effective alternative. Instead, stain kitchen cabinets as the costs are 10% to 15% lower than painting. In addition, maintaining a painted kitchen cabinet requires hundreds of dollars.

How Long Does Painted Kitchen Cabinets Last?

You can expect your painted kitchen cabinets to last about 8 to 15 years. However, the duration lengthens and shortens depending on if you delivered an expert finish. Also, how you maintain the cabinets influence their life span.

On top of that, remember that paint only lasts so long before it begins to peel, fade, and chip. Therefore, you will have to keep freshening up or updating the color scheme to keep a lovely surface.

It is essential to watch out for water-damaged cabinetry. This way, you can troubleshoot by replacing or sealing the wood before further damage. In addition, please consider how much you use the cabinets and choose the best alternative, either painting, refacing, or replacing.

Do You Paint Both Sides of Kitchen Cabinet Doors?

You do not have to paint both sides of the kitchen cabinet doors. The interior is only visible when you open the cabinet door. Thus, leaving the interior sides unpainted does not affect the outcome.

However, it is still okay to paint both sides of the cabinets doors if you prefer. The caveat is that you have to begin with the back of the door instead of the front. This way, you’ll avoid smudging the paint at the front if you flip the door too soon.

In addition, please consider the following instructions to get a perfect finish on the paint doors.

  • Remover drawer/door knobs and stoppers.
  • Place an old towel on the kitchen floor. Then, sand the cabinet door properly.
  • Wash the doors to remove grime and sand dust.
  • Start painting.
  • Consider thin and methodical strokes flowing in the same direction.
  • Use a small artist’s paintbrush to cover hinges and inside narrow spaces.

How Do You Repaint Kitchen Cabinets That Are Already Painted?

The first step is to take off all the cabinet hardware, such as doors, hinges, and handles. Also, it would be wise to label the drawers and doors if you have many of them. Well, this may be a painful and tiring exercise, but you’ll be happy you did it when reinstalling the cabinet.

Please set up a painting station for the door and drawers. This way, you can paint other cabinet areas as you wait for them to dry well. Therefore, you’ll kill two birds with one stone.

The next step is to scuff the surface with extra-fine sandpaper lightly. Also, use a green scotch-Brite pad to smoothen the surface. Then, put deglosser on a rag and wipe the surface clean.

Additionally, it is better to consider using painter’s tape anywhere you suspect you may not achieve a straight line. Also, please use an angled 2.5-inch brush to trim out places that a roller can’t reach.

Remember to allow the paint to dry well, especially when adding multiple coats. You can also add small rubber stoppers to keep the doors and drawers from running against the cabinet box.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most asked questions on this topic. Keep reading for more…

  • Is It Difficult to Paint Kitchen Cabinets?

It is not difficult to paint kitchen cabinets as long as you get the correct paint. In addition, the work becomes much easier when you invest in high-quality brushes and suitable application techniques.

  • Is Cabinet Refacing the Same as Replacing

Cabinet refacing is not the same as cabinet replacing. Cabinet refacing involves changing the skin of the cabinets. It also involves replacing cabinet drawers and doors. Therefore, it improves the surface appearance significantly. 

On the other hand, cabinet replacing consists of getting new boards, doors, and drawers. In other words, you change the entire cabinetry. Also, the process may take a bit longer when you also want to paint or stain the replacements.

Cabinet refacing takes about two to four days. However, this duration depends on whether you work with an expert and the kitchen size.

  • Is it Cheaper To Reface Or Replace Kitchen Cabinets?

It is cheaper to reface kitchen cabinets. Replacing cabinets requires you to purchase completely new cabinetry, while cabinet refacing or refinishing needs some simple maintenance.

In addition, you only need to replace hardware for the doors during a reface. But you are buying everything new again during a replacing project, the frames, the door, the shelves, everything!

The only exception here would be when you are replacing old kitchen cabinets with cheap and basic cabinets. So, it becomes way cheaper than refacing the cabinets with more luxurious and expensive front-facing designs.

Ultimately, the chosen strategy depends on the cabinet’s condition and how you want the redesign to look. But generally, kitchen renovation and replacements are much more expensive.


Every painter will attest that one of the most cost-effective and quickest ways to transform an ordinary kitchen cabinet is by painting it. More so, adding a new color to the wall increases the value of the space significantly. But it would be best first to assess your options and decide whether to:

Repaint or Replace Kitchen Cabinets.

On the issue of whether to Repaint or Replace Kitchen Cabinets? It’s important to know that painting costs half the replacement cost. We also have very durable paints that will keep the cabinet looking lovely for a long, long time. In addition, painting helps you to cover old wood and helps it to appear fresh.

Therefore, repainting kitchen cabinets is perfect for your cabinets. But it would be best to decide the new look based on the cabinet’s conditions and style. Or else, you might end up with a flat and outdated kitchen after such a tedious task. How frustrating!