Painted Cabinets or Stained Cabinets?

Kitchen cabinets are not just for storage. It is an essential element to your kitchen’s style and feel. Cabinetry brings everything together.  If you’ve been paying attention to the world of interior design, you probably noticed that painted cabinets are on-trend lately. Whether they’re steel blue, mustard yellow, emerald green, or classic white, painted cabinets are all the rage. There is a rising movement towards a streamlined look that focuses on simplicity and minimalism. Here and there however, you will find some wild and bold options popping up. The choice between painted cabinets or stained cabinets will depend on a number of factors. Each option has its own advantages.

Best Wood Material for Painted Cabinets

White Painted Kitchen CabinetsAside from the general pros and cons, you’ll need to consider the type of wood for your cabinets before you make any decisions. 
Paint grade cabinetry is usually a smooth, flat wood made of lower-quality materials because the paint will cover the grain.  Common painted cabinet material options include soft maple, hard maple, poplar, and hardwood frame with Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) panel.  Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is a non-wood, paint-grade material that doesn’t benefit from staining. Choosing medium-density fiberboard (think particle or furniture board) is an effective way to cut cabinet costs. The material also takes paint well. Whether it’s a gray, white or cream color, it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference between these materials and real wood when they’re painted.
Stain-grade is typically a higher quality wood. It can also have a rougher surface. Hardwoods benefit from staining because it brings out their inherently beautiful grains. However, either option will work as long as you prep the surface.
Gray Cabinets
So overall, painted cabinets can be cheaper than stained cabinets by using a less expensive wood material.

Benefits of Painted Cabinets

Painted cabinets offer a crisp, clean kitchen design. Paint is perfect for homeowners who aren’t a fan of the character marks common to stained wood cabinets and prefer a smooth, flawless finish.

Paint Allows You to Get More Colorful

Sea Green CabinetsFor cabinetry, homeowners are favoring customized colors that perfectly fit their kitchen spaces. Neutral colors are currently big favorites with tones like gray, yellow and white. Don’t count out the darker color pallet, though.  Black, navy, and emerald green has the high-end allure many desire. 
There are three major color categories you can choose from: light, medium, and dark. Light tones are mostly the neutrals mentioned above. They are loved for their simple, soft clean look. They project a timeless style, perfectly complementing other elements in the kitchen. Medium toned hues are the most common. Here, standard shades of blue, grey and yellow are popular.  On the extreme end of the scale, there are dark shades. Here, emerald green, inky black, navy blue and jeweled plum tones are common. Dark shades are the boldest, creating drama and unsurpassed luxury. Still, they are less popular compared to medium and light shades. Some even do a light or medium tone on the upper cabinets, and a bolder, complimentary color on the bottom cabinets. 

Basically, homeowners are seeking out unique colors that not only stand out but work specifically for their kitchen. If you are ordering custom made cabinets, you can choose any color you want. If you already have cabinets and want to renovate them, either get a professional painter or get ready for some extensive DIY painting work.

It’s modern

Baby Blue and White CabinetsIf it’s an updated, contemporary look that you’re after, then paint is the way to go. If you’ve got old-fashioned wood cabinets – such as oak, which has fallen out of style – paint can disguise any grains in the wood.

May Improve Resale Value

You can’t go wrong with white cabinets—42% of millennials prefer the trend, which is still on the upward swing. Grey paint is also trending upward, while wood tones (darker versus lighter) are still holding strong.

Benefits of Stained Cabinets

Stained Kitchen CabinetsIf you love the grain of a certain type of wood, then staining your cabinets is a fantastic option. While stained cabinets are more traditional-looking than painted cabinets, they still provide a classic, timeless look.
Stained cabinets let the natural features and grains of the wood show through. You can choose from a variety of stains. Clear to a very dark mahogany or chocolate brown adds a dramatic touch while still letting the wood’s grain and texture show through. You also have the freedom to choose the type of finish you’d like, including glossy, semigloss, and matte. Some stains even have UV protection.

It’s Up to You!

To design the perfect kitchen, it is important to understand what is imperative to you and then incorporate the latest trends around that. One thing to remember, trends come and go. Cabinets will last 20-30 years, so find something that you will continue to love for years to come.

The Top Tier Difference

We at Top Tier Kitchens & Baths set a high standard for outstanding customer service, high-quality kitchen and bath remodeling products, and impeccable installation.
For all your kitchen and bath remodel needs, you can trust us to complete the job with expertise and dedication to excellence. If you’re looking for ways to update your kitchen or bathroom, the professionals at Top Tier Kitchens and Baths can help!  We’d love to help you update your home.
Submit a quote request on our website at or give us a call at (417) 887-1100 to schedule a free, in-home consultation with one of our designers. We look forward to serving you!

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