The Pros & Cons of Stained vs. Painted Cabinets

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So you just finished a kitchen or bathroom remodel and all that’s left to do is to put a finish on the cabinetry. The problem is you aren’t sure whether or not you want the cabinets stained or painted! This decision is something a lot of people find themselves unsure about as there are pros and cons to both. Let’s look at stained vs. painted cabinets and decide what is right for you.

Stained Cabinets

Pros:

  • Versatility
    A wide variety of different styles are available when you choose to stain your cabinets. Natural or rustic looks are difficult to achieve with paint. This means that if you’re going for a certain theme then stained cabinets will have a good chance of providing what you’re looking for.

  • Showcases Hardwood
    If you’re looking for something that doesn’t detract from the wood then stained cabinetry is the way to go. Since the stain is thinner than paint it can seep into the surface helping that natural look from the wood shine through.

  • Minimal Long-term Maintenance
    A kitchen remodel is already quite expensive so you may find yourself dreading the touch-up required to keep your cabinets looking their best. Thankfully stained cabinets require minimal long-term maintenance meaning they will maintain their great look even after years of use.

  • Less Expensive
    Staining your cabinetry is far less expensive than painting it. The stains themselves come at an affordable price while also being easy to replace due to the fact that they’re easier to replicate than other paints.

Cons:

  • Fewer Color Options
    Stains are better suited for numerous styles and types of hardwood, however, the color selection is noticeably smaller than that of paint.

  • Highlights Unsightly Grains
    While stains can bring out the beauty of wood they also bring out the blemishes too. Imperfections that could normally be covered up by paint are now at the forefront of your view so tread carefully when deciding which finish is right for you.

  • MDF and Stains are Not Good Together
    While staining is cheaper than painting, the wood in which you need to put it on is more expensive. This means there is a higher upfront investment in the cabinet’s material.

  • Dark Stains don’t Hide Dust Well
    Dust is a big problem for stained cabinets. It shows up easily on the darker stains and requires more upkeep in order to keep them looking good.

Painted Cabinets

Pros:

  • Variety / More Color Options
    Now that you finished your bathroom remodel you may be wanting to increase the appeal with a bright contrast between multiple colors. Paint offers much more in terms of variety than stained cabinets do, meaning you’ll have a much higher chance of finding that shade you’re looking for if you choose to paint.

  • Contemporary Style / Clean Aesthetic
    If you prefer a smooth flawless finish over the more characteristic stained cabinets then painting is the way to go. The clean aesthetic offered by a solid white or gray is a great option for anyone looking for that elegant design.

  • Hidden Grains
    Not everyone loves that grainy look offered by staining. If you find you prefer to keep those wood knots hidden then a thick coat of paint is your solution.
  • Opportunity to Save
    Unlike staining, you can paint the more standard medium-density fiberboard (MDF). This can save you money as the hardwood associated with staining tends to run at a higher price.

Cons:

  • Hidden Grain
    While some people don’t like it there are many people who feel that the grain of the cabinets adds to their character. If you’re looking for something more visually interesting then covering the grain may not be the way to go.

  • Higher Costs (paint is more expensive than stain)
    Painting cabinets isn’t the most budget-friendly way to finish them. Depending on the size of your kitchen you can spend hundreds or even thousands more than you would with alternatives. Determine how much you’re willing to spend after a kitchen or bathroom remodel and decide if painting is worth the price tag.

  • Maintenance Issues
    Paint is prone to chipping and deterioration over time. Even without extended use scratches aren’t uncommon and are difficult to fix.

  • Colors may be difficult to replicate.
    Paint touch-ups can be tricky. If you don’t know what color you used then replicating it can be a long and tedious process.

  • Dark paints don’t hide dust well.
    Just like stained cabinets, darker paints fail to hide dust as it stands out easily on the surface of the cabinet. This can be annoying to some homeowners and can turn maintenance of your cabinets into a nuisance.

Are You Ready for a Professional Remodel?

For over 30 years, Caruso Kitchens has created thousands of award-winning dream kitchens for Colorado residents. With over 150 years of combined experience, our skillful designers will help you create the kitchen of your dreams. If you have any further questions or would like to schedule an interview, call us today. We are located in Lakewood, Colorado, and serve the entire Denver Metro Area.

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