Painted vs. Stained Kitchen Cabinets: Which is Right for You? - Cabinet Depot

Painted vs. Stained Kitchen Cabinets: Which is Right for You?

December 8, 2023

Painted vs. Stained Kitchen Cabinets: Which is Right for You?

If you’re considering remodeling your kitchen or bathroom, you probably have cabinets on your mind. Nowadays, you have two main options: painted cabinets or stained cabinets.

While both types have pros and cons, they can each be beautiful and classic. Deciding which option is right for you is critical to designing your new space.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the perks of each style and help you decide which cabinets to install in your home.

Painted Wood Cabinets 101

Painted kitchen cabinets are a popular choice for homeowners who want a fresh, vibrant look in their space. A classic choice, painted cabinets offer a variety of benefits, as well.


Versatility. Painted cabinets offer dozens of color and finish options. You can choose from dark, moody shades, light pastels,painted cabinets or bold, bright, colors. A variety of sheen choices are available. No matter your unique style, you can find a color palette that helps you create the exact space you want.

Flexibility. If you decide to update the look of your kitchen or bathroom in the future, it’s easy and affordable to repaint cabinets – without a significant renovation.

Modern style. Painted cabinets create a modern, sleek aesthetic. Bright, bold, or muted colors can create a fresh and contemporary look (check out this kitchen remodel for an example), particularly when you add some modern hardware.

Ideal for concealing flaws. Paint offers a smooth, consistent finish that covers wood flaws and allows you to use less expensive wood for your cabinets. This is an excellent option for anyone who is on a budget but doesn’t want to sacrifice that clean, timeless appearance.


Painted cabinets can chip. Wear and tear will chip painted cabinets and reveal the wood or primer underneath. While you can touch these chips up, painted cabinets may be too much maintenance for some people.

Visible cracks in joints. As wood expands and contracts with changes in humidity and temperature, painted surfaces may show cracks or lines at the joints. These “joint lines” are more noticeable in painted cabinets than in stained cabinets.

Limited grain visibility. Paint obscures the wood grain and provides a smoother, more uniform appearance. If you appreciate the look of natural wood grain, painted cabinets may not be the best choice.

Prone to yellowing. Over time, white or light-colored painted cabinets may turn yellow (especially with exposure to cooking oils and grease). This can affect the kitchen’s overall appearance and may require you to repaint the cabinets.

Stained Wood Cabinets 101

Stained cabinets are a beautiful, quality choice for kitchens and bathrooms. Here are a few of the pros and cons of these timeless cabinets:


stained cabinetsNatural beauty. Staining allows the grain patterns and characteristics of the wood to shine through. This provides a warm, timeless, organic look. Check out this kitchen remodel for an example of the traditional beauty stained wood cabinets offer.

Customization. Staining allows you to customize your cabinets. By choosing the intensity of the stain, you can create a personalized, unique look for your kitchen cabinets.

Easy maintenance. Stained cabinets are easy to maintain. Regular dusting and occasional polishing will keep them looking beautiful. Stains may also be easier to touch up or reapply than painted finishes.


Limited color options. With stained cabinets, you have fewer color options than you would with painted cabinets. If you’re looking for a specific color (especially if it’s a color that isn’t naturally present in wood), staining might not be the ideal choice.

Susceptibility to fading. Stained cabinets, especially those exposed to direct sunlight, may experience fading over time. This can alter the color of the stain and affect the overall appearance.

Dependence on wood quality. The quality and type of wood used for cabinets significantly impact the final appearance of stained cabinets. Lower-quality or less attractive wood may result in less appealing stained finishes. Additionally, no two pieces of wood are the same, so stained surfaces can look different across your space – even if you use the same stain color throughout. This is especially true with wood species like Cherry and Hickory, which feature a lot of variation.

How to Decide if Stained or Painted Cabinets Are Right for You

Choosing between stained and painted cabinets depends on your preferences, style, and the overall aesthetic you want to achieve in your space.

painted or stained cabinets

While both options are beautiful, customizable, and can suit your style preferences, there are a few factors to consider before you decide.

If you love wood grain’s warm, textural appearance, stained cabinets will allow you to embrace the traditional look. If you’re looking for something a little bolder, sleek, modern, painted cabinets may be the better option.

When it comes to maintenance, both types of cabinets are roughly equal. Stains penetrate wood deeply and provide long-lasting protection. Painted cabinets, on the other hand, are durable but will require touch-ups in high-traffic areas. Fortunately, covering small chips with a fresh coat of paint is easy!

If you’re considering the cost of the cabinets, remember that stained cabinets can be more expensive, especially for high-quality wood. That said, cheap wood will date your house, and investing in quality cabinets will only add to the value of your home.

Ultimately, both painted and stained cabinets can be beautiful, timeless, and high-quality. You can also customize both types of cabinets to suit virtually any kitchen design. If you’re still struggling to decide between the two, contact a professional cabinet design company for personalized input and design ideas.

Cabinet Depot: Your Source for High-Quality Cabinets in the Pensacola & Gulf Breeze Area

Are you looking for a reliable team to help you design the perfect cabinets for your new kitchen or bathroom space? Cabinet Depot is here for you.

A family-owned company, we’ve helped customers design beautiful, customized spaces since 1995. We’re proud to serve customers in Pensacola and the surrounding areas, and we’ll work with you to bring your kitchen or bathroom model to reality – from design to construction and beyond.

Ready to learn more about us or how we can help you? Contact our team now!