White vs stained kitchen cabinets [2022]

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So you’re planning to remodel your kitchen with the installation of new cabinets, including painting and staining. But a particular question keeps ticking in the back of your head about the color scheme. You are wondering, what color do I want? What will look best in my kitchen? White or stained?

white vs stained kitchen cabinets

Kitchen cabinets are a big investment when you’re redoing your kitchen. With custom cabinets becoming more and more popular, the topic becomes even more confusing.

If you can’t decide between the stained and painted cabinets, I am here to clear the fog and help you decide if stained or white kitchen cabinets are right for your home! So, let’s look at the details of each option.

Painted Cabinets

Painted cabinets are a great option if you want a fresh look or want to update the color of your kitchen.

white vs stained kitchen cabinets great

They are beautiful and can be customized to any color or style. You can also match any color you have in mind, like white or black, or you can use a color wheel to find the perfect match.

The best thing about painted cabinets is that you’ll get an updated look without breaking the bank.

Painting is also a good option if you want something more durable than waxing—it lasts longer than wax does and doesn’t require maintenance often since wax doesn’t need reapplying after each use.

Stained Cabinets

Stained cabinets are a popular option for kitchens, and for good reason. They can be made to look like any color you want, and they add warmth and character to your space.

Stained cabinets can be made from any wood and have a variety of colors and finishes to offer.

Staining is a process that permanently seals and preserves the wood, and you can use any stain for this project.

One thing to keep in mind about staining is that you will need to re-stain your cabinets every few years if you want them to keep looking nice.

Because they’re stained on wood surfaces, these cabinets will last for years without any special care or maintenance.

White vs. Stained Cabinet Costs – What’s The Difference?

When comparing stained vs. white kitchen cabinet costs, it’s important to note that both are inexpensive options compared to solid wood cabinets or custom built-ins.

white vs stained kitchen cabinets built ins

This makes them great for a stylish makeover without costing a fortune. However, there are still some differences worth taking into consideration:

Stained cabinets are generally less expensive than painted ones because they don’t require primer or paint as part of their installation process.

They are also easier to install as there’s no need for special tools like electric sanders or paint spray guns.

White cabinets are a tad bit more expensive than stained ones due to the labor and materials required to finish them properly and maintain their luster over time.

Are Stained Kitchen Cabinets a Popular Finish?

With the rise of DIY home improvement, it’s no surprise that kitchen cabinets are now a popular choice for homeowners. But which finish is most popular?

Stained kitchen cabinets are taking over because they can be customized to match any room design, from traditional to modern.

Stains can be applied in various shades and tones; hence a great choice for homeowners who want to create a custom look for their kitchens.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) states that stained kitchen cabinets are still the most popular choice.

The reason behind this popularity is that stained cabinets are attractive, and a large variety of finishes, ranging from light and bright to deep and dark stains, are available.

Why Would I Choose Painted Cabinets?

There are several reasons why painted cabinets are a great choice for your kitchen or bathroom:

They Save Money

Painting cabinets is less expensive than replacing or refinishing them.

You can paint your existing cabinets instead of buying new ones, saving you thousands of dollars in remodeling costs.

They’re Easy to Maintain.

Painting is a simple task that doesn’t require special skills or tools—just a good brush and some paint.

If you need to touch up small scratches or chips on your cabinets, all you have to do is sand down the area, apply primer and paint it again — no need to call a professional!

They are Durable

Painted cabinets can last decades without chipping or peeling, if properly maintained and cleaned regularly with mild soap and water or a nonabrasive cleaner.

What’s The Trend In Kitchen Cabinetry, Stained vs. Painted Cabinets

Painted cabinets have been a popular trend for years, which will not change anytime soon.

white vs stained kitchen cabinets change

Apart from making your kitchen feel new, they work well with traditional and modern styles.

You can paint your existing stained cabinetry any color, but some colors are particularly popular now. Here are some of our favorites:

  • White – White can make any place super bright and airy. It’s a great choice for anyone who wants to make a statement with their kitchen.
  • Gray – Gray is a neutral color that goes with almost anything, including other gray paints!

You can paint your cabinets gray and choose other colors for accessories, like wall art or appliances, so everything matches perfectly.

  • Black – Black cabinetry has been popular for years for being so classic and timeless.

And it’s still strong today, thanks to its versatility and ability to add drama to any kitchen design scheme.

Caring for Cabinets Through Wear and Tear

Stained cabinets are more difficult to repair and clean than painted ones. If you have a spill or a drip, it’s often easier to wipe off of stain than off of paint.

And because they are porous, stained cabinets absorb spills and dirt more readily than painted ones. So if you have a spill or a drip, it’s harder to clean off of stain.

Painted cabinets, however, can be damaged by heat or humidity. With time, they can fade or turn yellow due to sunlight exposure, which is why most professionals recommend that you use quality paint with added UV protection when painting your kitchen cabinets.

Which Cabinet Finish Will Look Best in My Home?

When it comes to choosing your kitchen cabinet finish, there are a lot of options! From wood-look finishes to stainless steel to laminate, it may not be easy to decide which one is right for you.

White cabinets are always a good choice if you’re looking for a crisp, clean look. They’re cool, stylish, and possibly won’t go out of style.

white vs stained kitchen cabinets stylish

However, stained kitchen cabinets might be the way to go if you want your kitchen to have more personality.

Staining offers infinite possibilities when it comes to color and style. You can choose from various stains or paints, so each design will be unique and different from the last one.

Stained kitchen cabinets also add warmth and texture that white cabinets cannot provide.

Type and Style Options

Many finishes and styles are available for painted and stained cabinets. The finish you choose will depend on the look you want to achieve and how much time you want to spend maintaining the cabinets. Have a look at some of the different options.

Types of finishes for painted cabinets: 

  • Acrylic enamel
  • Polyurethane
  • Epoxy paint
  • Milk paint
  • Water-based varnish

Types of finishes for stained cabinets:

  • Oil based
  • Alcohol based
  • Dye
  • Water based
  • Pigmented stains (such as eggshell or black walnut)

Styles for painted cabinets:

  • Shaker style
  • Transitional style
  • White-hued

Styles for stained cabinets:

  • Solid color stain (wooded tone, red, yellow, green, or a dark stain)
  • Accent color that is placed on the edges or corners
  • Organic surfaces

Material and Installation Cost

When choosing a kitchen cabinet finish, homeowners have two main choices: painted or stained. Both offer several finishes and styles, but one may be better than the other, depending on your needs and budget.

Staining cabinets is another popular option for updating your kitchen cabinets. Staining is more affordable than painting because it does not require priming first and can be done in less than half the time as painting (especially if you are doing more than one coat).

When done by professionals, the total cost of painting kitchen cabinets is around $5,000. If you want to do it yourself, it will cost $1,000 to $2,000, depending on what paint you use and how much work goes into preparing the cabinets.

When done by professionals, the total cost for stained cabinets is around $4,000. If you want to stain them, it will cost between $1,000 and $2,500, depending on what stain you use and how much work goes into preparing the cabinets.

Aesthetics and Colors

When it comes to aesthetics, painted cabinets look better than stained ones because they offer more variety in finishes and colors.

It’s important to remember that although paint can cover up many imperfections in wood (such as knots or wood grain), you won’t be able to cover up anything already damaged or worn down on your existing cabinet doors.

Painting also offers a wider range of color options than staining does. While plenty of stains are available in different shades and hues, there are fewer options available regarding stains.

Which Wood Is Best for Hardwood Cabinets?

The best hardwood for cabinets is pine, a softwood, and it is also durable and low maintenance. Soft woods like cedar hickory and redwood can also be used for cabinets, but they require more care.

Are White Cabinets More Expensive?

The short answer is yes; white cabinets are more expensive than standard-colored cabinets.

This is because white cabinets require a different paint formulation than standard colors, which means that the cabinet manufacturer has to use more paint to cover the surface of each cabinet.

Can I Paint Over a Stained Cabinet?

Absolutely! A stained cabinet can be painted with any paint. You should only consider whether or not the stain has penetrated the wood and how much of it has.

If you have a very deep stain, you may want to consider using a primer before painting.

Choose Your Cabinet’s Color Scheme Now

To wrap this up, I will go with a conclusion somewhere in the middle. Both options offer beautiful designs and can be just as efficient and professional as the other, but it ultimately comes down to personal preference.

If painted kitchen cabinets are more to your liking, you should go for it. However, if birch cabinets are more your fancy, then stained cabinets could be a better choice.

But overall, both of these cabinet styles probably shouldn’t even matter; what matters is how well the cabinet was structurally and aesthetically designed.

Ariel Path

With over three decades of experience in food manufacturing and kitchen design, I bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. My expertise spans across various aspects of the culinary world, from kitchen appliances to cooking techniques, food selection, and promoting a healthy lifestyle. My ultimate goal is to educate and inspire you in creating your dream kitchen, where functionality meets aesthetics. As a trusted source, I strive to provide valuable insights and guidance to make your kitchen remodel an enjoyable and successful experience. Together, let's transform your space into a culinary haven that reflects your unique style and meets your specific needs. See more details here.

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