Stained vs Painted Cabinets – Which is Better for Your Kitchen?

The overall look of your kitchen cabinets depends a lot on the kind of finish you choose. Stained and painted cabinets are the two most popular finishes in the marketplace. While both can transform your kitchen significantly, each has its own positive and negative points. This blog post outlines the most common pros and cons of stained and painted cabinets so you can decide which is most suited for your kitchen.

Stained Cabinets – Pros and Cons

If you want to add a traditional touch to your kitchen, stained cabinets are ideal. Besides displaying the natural beauty of wood grains, they complement other distinct elements of your kitchen.

Stained kitchen cabinets



  • Easy touch-up: When your kitchen cabinets are stained, you can easily add finishing touches as required. Stain blends nicely when you reapply it to damaged areas. When it comes to picking out touch-up markers for stained cabinets, you can choose almost anything.
  • Balanced look: Stained cabinets create a balanced look inside your kitchen. The thin layered stain soaks into the cabinet’s surface and reflects wood’s natural beauty at its best. If you want to strike a perfect balance between texture and colour, go for stained cabinets.
  • Cost effective: Stained kitchen cabinets are quite affordable. If you ever decide to redesign your home and want to save money on kitchen remodelling, consider stained cabinets. Buying customized ones will of course cost more than readymade ones.


  • Visible wood imperfections: Besides the best features of wood, stained cabinets show almost every blemish, such as colour inconsistency and uneven grain spread. It is advisable to avoid choosing stained cabinets if you are not a fan of wood’s blemishes.
  • Dust and dirt: Dark stained cabinets do not hide dust and dirt particles well, which is why they demand frequent maintenance. Lighter cabinets stain and chip easily but hide dust well.
  • Improper for MDF cabinets: Medium density fireboard (MDF) cabinets save money but do not take stain well. Stains also look quite different on surfaces made of MDF. If you choose stained kitchen cabinets, it is better to look for other ways to save money rather than opting for MDF.


Painted Cabinets – Pros and Cons

Painted cabinets are ideal if you like bright colours and minimal interior design. As painted cabinets are available in a wide variety of colours, you can choose the one best suited to your kitchen interior. They add a unique touch to the entire look and functionality of your kitchen space.

Painted kitchen cabinets



  • Clean finish: Painted cabinets give kitchens a clean and sleek finish. You can find them in pure white, cream, blue, grey and other colours. If you are fond of flawless finished kitchens, irrespective of the colour you choose, go for painted cabinets.
  • Vibrancy: Painted cabinets let you fill your kitchen with your favourite colours. From lipstick red to submarine yellow and mild teal, you can get painted cabinets in unique colours. As paint sticks well to wood, it does not knot and get lost in the grain mix. Painted cabinets reflect any tint you select. Customize them as per your preferences to fill your kitchen with colour and beauty.
  • Ideal for MDF cabinets: To reduce the money you spend on kitchen cabinets, choose medium density fireboard (MDF). This material takes paint nicely, so makes kitchen cabinets look great all the time, with little maintenance required. No matter the colour you choose, it is difficult to distinguish between natural wood and MDF when they get painted.


  • Hidden character features: As wood does not absorb thick paint well, painted cabinets are not a great option if you want to see knots and grains as they will mostly be concealed. Painted cabinets work well if you want a clean and contemporary kitchen but are unlikely to impress if the natural look of wood is your favourite.
  • Expensive: Painted kitchen cabinets cost more than most other options. If you are on a tight budget, you may not be able to afford them, although the cost of painted cabinets depends on from whom you are buying or customizing them.
  • Difficulty in touch-up: Paint touch-ups are difficult as you may not know the exact colour of your cabinet. When you have prefabricated or semi-custom kitchen cabinets, the paint company may fail to provide you with the right match. Many manufacturers apply paints by spraying; this gives a smooth finish but makes it difficult to touch up. When it comes to adding finishing touches, brushed finishes are the better option.

Both stained and painted kitchen cabinets can be useful and provide long-term function. Hopefully, this blog post has outlined their key positives and negatives. To choose between stained and painted cabinets, you need to know your exact needs and the kind of look you want for your kitchen. Considering the above-mentioned pros and cons of stained and painted cabinets will help you make a wise decision to help build your dream kitchen.

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