One of the most important decisions about a new kitchen is the cabinets. They are one of the most expensive aspects of the space, so choose a color that best suits the overall aesthetic and style. When deciding between painted versus stained, it also comes down to the differences in budget, maintenance and variety.
Painted cabinets are classic and sleek with an overall smooth finish. About three out of four kitchens feature painted cabinets and, not surprisingly, the majority of those are white. White paint is perfect for brightening a space and emphasizing natural light. It is timeless and can allow for some color and creativity to be brought in through décor.
Additionally, new trends like grey and emerald-green cabinets have become popular and bring kitchens to life. Paint has a wider range of color options, so get creative. Paint is also a good option for more modern kitchen styles. Painted kitchen cabinets can be simple or unique and can surely satisfy creative ambitions.
Paint is not the most budget-friendly. It typically costs 15% more than a stain. Depending on the size of the space, that could cost hundreds or thousands extra. Paint is ultimately thicker and more opaque than a stain and will hide any character that might be in the wood. Any knots, streaks or grain that might look nice will be covered up.
Paint is also much harder to touch up. If you have ever been into the paint section of Home Depot, you will understand that there is not just one white paint, there are thousands of whites, and they are all different. Once the cabinets are painted, it could be more difficult to find the exact color and touch up imperfections down the line. Cabinets are also all painted differently in manufacturing, so cabinets that were professionally sprayed might not look as good post-touch-up with a roller.
The roles were once reversed with stain cabinets making up three out of four kitchen cabinets. Most wood cabinets are made from either maple, birch, walnut or mahogany. Stained cabinets are a great option for showing off the characteristics of the wood grain for a more traditional antique style.
A stain is thinner in composition, so it can seep into the wood. It strikes a good balance between color and texture, making sure not to hide all the unique features of the wood. Touch ups are easy and stain markers can be bought just about anywhere. Even if the marker is not the exact color, because of the texture of the wood it will blend much more seamlessly. Stains also typically more budget-friendly and cost less than paint.
Stains are more cost-effective until customization. The price is dependent on kitchen size, cabinet and manufacturing construction and wood type. Customization options and additional cabinets to stain can easily become more expensive than paint.
Stains are also not as diverse in color options as paint, so finding the perfect one might be more difficult. Imperfections in the wood can be categorized as blemishes or character, but stains will show them off so make sure you like the look of all the lines, knots and cracks.
Each option has its pros and cons and looks beautiful in any space, but when it comes to deciding between painted versus stained cabinets, make sure to understand the differences in price, aesthetic, maintenance and style options so you make the best of your investment. Also consider other kitchen features including the backsplash, countertops, hardware finishes and appliances.
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