Painted vs. Stained Cabinets: Which Should You Choose?

Painted vs. Stained Cabinets: Which Should You Choose?

Changing the look of your kitchen can be fun and exciting. And one of the best ways to make a splash is by upgrading the appearance of your kitchen cabinets.

Choosing between painted vs stained cabinets can be a big decision. Both can look great, and yet there are advantages and disadvantages to each. Let’s take a look at a few things you should consider when deciding to transform your kitchen cabinets with a fresh new look.

Painted vs. Stained Cabinets: Which Should You Choose?

To paint or to stain? That is the question. Well, we have your answers! Read this guide to discover the pros and cons of painted vs stained cabinets.


Going with paint obviously provides a wide variety of options in regard to appearance. The finish can be solid, smooth, glossy, satin, or matte.

Also, paint is easy to apply to any type of wood, and you won’t see the grain or any other of the characteristics of the wood’s surface. Paint is also useful for disguising a lower quality or less expensive species of wood.


With stain, you will have far fewer color choices. This is because stain offers a translucent finish intended to amplify the natural color and grain of the wood. Typically you will have to choose between colors such as reds, golds, and browns.

Stain applies easily to wood because it absorbs into the grain, producing a beautiful finish that enhances the surface and tends to protect the wood.


The most significant factor in determining the cost difference is the species of wood being used. This is due to the fact that the grain quality will impact how well the finish applies and absorbs into the wood.

All things being equal, painted finishes typically cost around 15% more than stains for the same project simply because more paint is required to get the surface smooth enough for no grain to be visible.

Maintenance, Dust, and Durability

Dust will stand out more on certain colors than others. This is especially true with darker colors on both painted and stained surfaces.

Fortunately, keeping these surfaces clean is simple. Typically it requires little more than wiping the surface with a soft, clean cloth.

For stain, we recommend that you use a good furniture polish.

Paint tends to crack or flake over time, thus stain tends to be more durable over the long-run.

Choosing the Best Surface for Cabinets

Deciding between painted vs stained cabinets really boils down to a matter preference. Both look great on a wide range of surfaces. While paint might require more upkeep over the long-term, it also offers more color choices than stained kitchen cabinets.

This article should help you understand the major difference between paint and stain, making your kitchen remodel project as easy as possible. Now you can decide what looks best in your home and enjoy your new cabinets for years to come!

When should you refinish or paint your cabinets? Click here to see the answer.

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