Should I paint my kitchen cabinets?

Emily M
by Emily M
I have pickled white wash cabinets circa 1996. They aren't in very good shape (all different colors, flaking, not all solid wood, etc), not to mention they are PINK. No offense to anyone who likes this style, but it is most definitely not me. I haven't had a professional look at them, but I honestly doubt they'd be able to support granite or something of the like, whihc I would absolutely love to have. Should I spend the time and money to paint these (probably white), or save my money for when I can afford to replace both the cabinets and the countertops?
  10 answers
  • Peace Painting Co., Inc. Peace Painting Co., Inc. on Jan 18, 2012
    Emily, can you post some pictures to better tell? It sounds as if you are in the house for the long run. Best, Charles

  • Emily M Emily M on Jan 18, 2012
    this was taken before we moved in. I basically don't like anything in there...the cabinets, countertops, backsplash. Well, I do like the hardwoods. :P I'm debating whether to do a temp fix (painting cabs, new laminate countertop) or hold out for a full kitchen renovation. My fiance and I are getting married in May and just bought our house last spring, so there isn't a ton of reno money available at the moment :(

  • Designs by BSB Designs by BSB on Jan 18, 2012
    Hey! I installed BEAUTIFUL kitchens like that back in the late 80's! hehe First impression? Do not invest painting. They clearly look (to me) like they are builders grade cabinets and the cost of painting would be close to 1/2 the cost of new cabinets alone (of equal quality but of course not that pretty white wash) But, alas there are always greater circumstances to consider. Budget, how long you plan to stay in your home, etc. If you would share some details like this.. it will help us give you better advice (aka opinions) :)

  • Peace Painting Co., Inc. Peace Painting Co., Inc. on Jan 18, 2012
    It's hard to tell from those pics, paintwise, it would be nice to see closer ups. CP

  • There's one important fact you need to consider: If you paint the cabinets, and then add granite, you are now stuck with the cabinets! If you replace the cabinets, you may decide to redo the footprint (even slightly) and will end up with all new countertop dimensions! If the cabinets are in bad shape we highly recommend waiting to replace them before making other improvements about them.

  • AK is right on with this. You need to think future here. Any counter top replacement to help the kitchen could be compromised later on when your ready to upgrade the cabinets. You can paint anything and make it look good. But at what cost both in time and money. If the cabinet boxes are good and are not particle board you could consider doing a door replacement and face lift. But if the cabinets are particle board, do not put to much effort into them as its money wasted. Save your money, put a quick coat of paint that will complement the white counters and live with them for a while. Save for that dream kitchen and spend that money on that.

  • Rule4 Building Group Rule4 Building Group on Jan 19, 2012
    Great comments from everyone and I agree about taking the longer term view. We have painted kitchen cabinets for a number of clients and it's been very successful, but in these cases the original cabinets were good quality in a good state. You might like to learn more about painting from a blog post of ours - it's obviously a promotional piece for Rule4, but it explains the process and particularly making sure you use a contractor with a High Volume Low Pressure sprayer (HVLP) as this makes all the difference with the final finish. Good Luck! Allison.

  • Emily M Emily M on Jan 19, 2012
    I think I've been thinking what most of you have said already - to save our money for a full renovation. it just took other people pointing it out to me for me to say it out loud. I just dislike the color/look so much now that I wanted an immediate fix. Hard part is...painting for me right now is difficult to do on my own as I have had two shoulder surgeries this year. Womp womp. Plus, I don't have much experience painting cabinets or furniture. Does anyone have experience buying cabinets online? Is that too risky? Forgive me for being such a newbie with this stuff. I found some decently-priced cabinets at an online discount store. I just don't want to end up with cheap cabinets. Oh, and yes, the cabinets in our kitchen now are "builder-grade." So I thank you all for your comments :) Now to tighten that belt and get saving for our dream kitchen! :)))

  • Designs by BSB Designs by BSB on Jan 19, 2012
    cabinets online? I would not advise it. But I am very conservative about buying anything online that I haven't already seen with my own eyes or at least verified model numbers, etc to be true. There are so many variables to cabinets. Understand what you are getting because the sales pitch can be dazzling and shadow not giving you all of the details. Know the company, their reputation. Warranty. Return policy. Freight damage. What about quality of the finish. Ex: typically the finish on "cheap" cabinets can vary GREATLY from one cabinet to another. This of course is not seen in brochures or in displays, they hand pick those :) Know where it is made. I have been subjected to smelling the fumes that come from imports. Not cool. Just be practical and use common sense. If its cheap, most of the time, know you pay for what you get. Kitchens are a huge portion of the value of your home (typically 10-20% of the value). Do yourself a favor and do a lot of homework .. or just ask more questions here :)) My recommendation is to look at they are the largest manufacturer and have been around a long long time. (peace of mind if something goes wrong!) They offer a lifetime, yes full lifetime, guarantee on every cabinet line they sell. They have plywood options at every price point and are KCMA Certified plus have rec'd the Environmental Stewardship Program (committed to protecting the environment).

  • Yes, painting them is a great and affordable option compared to any other options. If top quality oil primer and oil base finish enamel is used, they will be as durable as other finishes, regardless of the common fears of painting them.... And you will have left over paint for touch-ups if needed. Also, be sure who ever paints them can spray your doors for the best result.