Should You Paint or Stain Your Kitchen Cabinets? Everything You Need to Know About the Two Styles

 It can be hard to know all the right ways to decorate your kitchen, especially when it comes to the more technical details. If you’re assessing how best to make your kitchen cabinets fit your personal style, you should consider whether paint or wood stain is the right choice for you. We’re here to answer all of your questions about the two different finishes, and how to tell which is best for your kitchen.

What are the primary differences between staining and painting wood? Painting is a more modern choice, and allows for more creative expression with a wide range of possible colors and details. Staining allows for a more classic look, and brings out the natural quality of the wood. While paint essentially sits on top of the wood, a stain will absorb into the wood. This means that staining is best suited for larger areas of wood, rather than detailing.


How long will the two finishes last? It’s definitely important to consider the durability of your chosen style. While painted cabinets typically last about ten years before they need a retouch, a wood stain can remain presentable for up to thirty years. In the meantime, stains are more efficient in covering up flaws and nicks in the wood.

Which style generally has higher resale value? A wood stain will typically have a higher resale value, creating a traditional, elegant look which buyers love. Of course, don’t let this discourage you from using paint if you prefer it – simply consider a more timeless style with resale in mind, in a neutral or light color.


Does this mean that stains are more cost-efficient? Generally, yes. The process of staining a cabinet is often cheaper than painting one, because fewer materials are required. It also saves time, as fewer coats are needed, and the finish lasts longer.

Which style is more trendy? Paint allows the homeowner to more easily keep up on trends, because it’s simpler than wood stain to change. It also makes customizing your cabinets easier, if you have a specific style in mind. A classic wood stain will never go out of style, but it is less aligned with modern kitchen trends.

Can I paint or stain cabinets myself? Absolutely. If you want to put a final coating on your cabinets without hiring a professional, you only need a few materials, many of which you may already have from previous paint jobs. However, if you do want to hire a professional, you might end up with a smoother look. If you’ve chosen paint and are applying it yourself, consider a paint sprayer, which will leave you with a seamless appearance and no visible paint strokes. If you’re using a wood stain, a sponge brush and a rag should create the same effect.

If you simply want beautiful cabinets without the hassle of finishing them, head on over to Cabinetmaker’s Choice and let us take care of the details. Our Executive Cabinetry’s Color Program consists of hundreds of colors, stains, accents, and glazes, so you don’t have to choose between expression and elegance. For more design and inspiration tips and cabinetry styles to fit any style and budget, check out Cabinetmaker’s Choice today!