Home Improvement

Painted VS Stained Kitchen Cabinets | What’s Best for You?

Whether you are renovating your house or building a custom home from scratch, the kitchen is considered the most critical part and should be designed carefully according to your needs and comfort. 

In the modern times of development and easy access to global markets, people often contemplate many design ideas and interior designing techniques. 

Carefully designed cabinetry not only increases the value of the house but also improves your lifestyle. From flooring to ceiling and ventilation to appliances, many options are available these days to help you design and construct your dream kitchen.

The style you choose may be modern or traditional, but when it comes to cabinets, the decisions always wrestle between whether you go for painted or stained.   

Each option is equally appealing and bears the characteristics suitable for different situations and household needs. Just ensure you get in touch with your custom home builders Dallas and seek their opinion before finalizing the look of your kitchen and its cabinetry. 

In this article, we’re going to shed light on both these alternatives so that you can choose the option that best fits your needs. 

Painted Cabinets

There are many types of paints available in the market. You can choose between Satin enamels, furniture enamels, or even oil paints. 

Make your choice according to your preference for thicker consistency or matte or gloss finish. While contemporary colors, such as blue and green, are popular these days, white and cream are timeless and still preferred by many house owners.

Stained Cabinets

While stained cabinetry comes with limited color options, it is ideal for owners who want to add a classic and rustic touch to their kitchens. 


The natural impression of the wood is accentuated in the finish. The grainy texture is maintained, and the stained look withholds an appealing effect. 

You can either go for a natural stain look or select from alluring shades of walnut, chestnut, mahogany, or wineberry.         

Painted VS Stained Cabinets

In Terms of Cost

Undoubtedly, the painted look is costlier than the stained one. The reason is the cost of products to be used. A painted surface usually needs no less than 2-coats of primer, again a double coat of paint, and in the end a single layer of topcoat. 

The cost also depends upon the space covered by your cabinets. The difference in cost of staining or painting is minimal in the case of fewer cabinets. 

But in the case of enormous space covered by cabinets, you will count the difference in thousands. The labor cost is also a factor as painting includes at least 2-workers to carry on the triple types of coating repeated frequently.   

Whereas staining the cabinets usually requires a double stain coating and oil-based finishing.

In Terms of Procedure

Painting on wood requires dissembling the cabinets from their holders and then restrains any possibility of slash. 

Cleaning and then sanding are usually done before dissembling them. Then the repeated coats of paint are followed by reassembling those dismantled cabinets.

While staining, you have to sand and condition the wood beforehand. The wood is ready for staining now. You can apply the oil-based topcoat in the end to finish off the look. 

In Terms of Maintenance

Your kitchen and baths are high-traffic areas in your home. It’s easy to predict that you don’t want any clutter around these spaces.

Painted cabinets make even the slightest stains and smudge prominent in contrast to stained cabinets. It’s nearly impossible to obtain the nearest match of the paint if you need to touch up the cabinets in case of chipping and cracking. 

Paints even discolor over time and change shade. The volatile temperature can create contraction and expansion of your surfaces and results in cracks.

On the other hand, staining is more durable as it penetrates the wood surface and embraces contraction or expansion without any difficulty. As a result, the wood becomes resistant to cracks or chips. This style also covers up all the grease stains and marks well. There are various low-cost variants available for touch up like stain pens, markers, or even a crayon.

 Painted cabinets – Pros

  •         Sleek, stimulating, and contemporary ambiance
  •         Choose from a wide range of color pallets to add up a pop of color
  •         Unwrinkled, lustrous finish with uniformity
  •         Covers up the flaws and dents of natural wood
  •         Best for medium density fiberboard

Painted cabinets – Cons

  •         Not practical in the long run
  •         Requires high cost
  •         Prone to scratches and chips
  •         Prolonged procedure
  •         Slightest stains and dirt is easily visible
  •         Touchup and preservation are overpriced

Stained cabinets – Pros

  •         Cost-effective
  •         Uncomplicated and effortless procedure
  •         Traditional appeal and customary layout
  •         Enhance wood’s original traits
  •         Always trendy and never gets obsolete
  •         Enduring in the long term

Stained Cabinets – Cons

  •         Stains don’t obstruct the discernibility of imperfections and discoloration
  •         Narrow choices of color pallets
  •         The surrounding elements like backsplash or appliances hardly complement 


Well, the decision entirely depends on your budget and custom home design needs. It also depends on the type of wood being used, and your preferences regarding comfort and style. The entire home architecture and decor theme is also taken into consideration.  

Sometimes house owners also select to mix and match these two options to create a fusion style that goes well with both classic and contemporary home decors. 

As a general rule, painted cabinetry is just the right choice for your contemporary home decor as it complements your interiors and high-end appliances placed in your kitchen. 

However, if your kitchen decor is inclined towards a classic or traditional layout, stained cabinetry can be your safest bid. 

If your budget allows, you can also elevate the impression of surrounding details by installing under cabinet lighting.  

Regardless of your choice, you have to get sure about your design vision first. Remember, kitchen cabinetry is a long-term investment. A well-designed kitchen not only enhances the look of your house but also increases its resale value. Also, you can spend quality time with your loved ones when you’re surrounded by things of your choice.

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