Updating the appearance of your kitchen or bathroom cabinets with paint or stain is one of the best, low-cost ways you can transform your living space.

Refreshing your cabinets is a simple way to renovate your kitchen or bathroom without major construction. Painting bathroom vanity cabinets a neutral color can make a small space feel brighter, bigger and more modern. Staining gorgeous wooden kitchen cabinets can draw out the rich grain of the wood and make them look new again.




It’s amazing the difference a fresh coat of paint or stain can make to cabinets. There are advantages of both paint and stain. Here are some questions you should answer and considerations to weigh before making a choice:

What’s Your Style?

One of the first things to think about is which style you like best and what will look good in your home. If you’re in search of a clean, modern look, paint your cabinets. Painted cabinets appear very smooth, hiding the grain of the wood.



If you prefer a more natural, classic look, you should stain your cabinets. Staining your cabinets highlights the natural grain of the wood and offers a more traditional aesthetic. If you choose to stain your cabinets, be sure the wood is in good shape because the grain will be accented by the stain.



There are many different types of paint and stain, so you’ll find plenty of options no matter which treatment you choose. Although paint has more color options, there are still a variety of stain finishes, too, so you are sure to find the perfect look for your kitchen or bathroom.

Spahn & Rose carries Rust-OleumBenjamin Moore and Valspar paints. Because paint comes in every color of the rainbow, it can be hard to determine which hue will look best in your home. To help, Spahn & Rose has a great visualization tool to help you determine the best color for your space.

Stain comes in many different colors as well. Spahn & Rose carries both Valspar and Cabot stain, and Valspar’s Solid Stain alone comes in 100 different colors. You’ll find plenty of options no matter which finish you choose.



What Is the Function of the Cabinets?

It’s important to consider where the cabinets will be in your home and how you’ll use them.

Kitchen Cabinets

If you’re resurfacing your wood kitchen cabinets, you may want to stain rather than paint.

The kitchen is home to many delicious, but often messy, creations. Stained kitchen cabinets are typically easy to clean with water, which is great for a room that often serves as the heart of the home. Stain will last at least twice as long as paint, preventing you from having to retouch more frequently. However, if you choose to paint your kitchen cabinets, be sure you’re selecting a paint brand, such as Benjamin Moore’s SCUFF-X that’s formulated to resist dirt and scuffing.



Stain is also easier to touch up than paint. If you need to touch up one cabinet, for example, the stain will blend better with existing stain than paint will with existing paint.

Bathroom Cabinets

Painting is a good choice for bathroom vanity cabinets, base cabinets or a bathroom medicine cabinet. The sheer number of colors available ensures you’ll find the perfect color for your design, making bathroom renovation easy.

The bathroom is another of the home’s most highly-trafficked areas, so consider an oil-based paint or water-based paint with a 100 percent acrylic enamel formula for durability. Also, be sure that the paint you choose is waterproof or water-resistant, so steam from the shower won’t make it chip or peel.



How Much Do You Want to Spend?

It’s important to keep costs top-of-mind for any home projects. Spahn & Rose cabinet design experts will walk you through each step of your cabinet project while helping you stay on budget. There are numerous cabinet styles and plenty of price options within each style. All cabinets can be modified to suit your exact needs, in all different price ranges.



Having a professional paint your cabinets will cost more than staining them: A professional paint application typically costs $2,000 to $5,000, while a professional stain application runs $1,500 to $4,000.

What About DIY?

Of course, you can save money by doing these projects yourself. When painting cabinets, prepare the surface properly and take time and care when applying, as paint will highlight any imperfections. One smart DIY tip: Make sure to number the cabinet faces and hardware so you can later put the correct cabinet face back in the right spot.

You’ll likely spend a little more on paint supplies than stain supplies. When painting, you’ll need sanding equipment, painter’s tape, primer, paint, rollers or paint brushes, drop cloths and paint trays. These supplies typically cost around $200.

For staining, you’ll need to purchase sanding equipment, painter’s tape, stain, drop cloths and rags to apply the stain, supplies that typically cost $100 to $150.



It’s worth noting that staining cabinets is quicker than painting and mistakes will be more easily hidden.

How Long Will These Treatments Last?

Paint on cabinets lasts about 10 years; stain on cabinets lasts 20 to 30 years.

Why the discrepancy? Paint is more prone to chipping and cracking than stain. Painted cabinets are also more difficult to maintain and clean. However, some cleaners can dull the surface of stained cabinets over time.

What’s the Best Option for Higher Resale Value?

Using dark stain with light tile is an extremely popular design. Cabinet painted a neutral color are a timeless option that many homebuyers love. Bold colors might fit your style, but may not impress future homebuyers. It’s best to stick to neutrals if you plan to sell your home in the near future.



Are There Other Options?

In addition to painting or staining, you can add glaze to your cabinets. Glaze can be applied on top of stain or paint to enhance the cabinets’ look. Glaze is a semi-clear coating, so you can start slowly with one layer at a time and stop when you’re pleased with the finished product.

Glaze is colored and goes atop the paint or stain you have already applied. It highlights the color of the cabinets, adding depth and dimension. A darker glaze applied to light cabinets creates a more defined look. The finished product will be darker and look more antique than the paint or stain alone.

Whatever you decide, know that your Spahn & Rose cabinet design experts are here to help you every step of the way. Be sure to check out the paint and stain we offer, and reach out to your local cabinet design expert with any questions.