9 Reasons You Need To Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets Right Now

Written by Jaymi Naciri Posted On Wednesday, 02 September 2015 12:40

They're gross, they're grimy, and they're dragging the rest of your kitchen down with them. They're your kitchen cabinets, and they alone could keep you from getting a decent price on your home - if you can sell it at all. If you're getting ready to list your home and your REALTOR® has told you that kitchen is a buyer repeller, you may have all the reason you need to paint those cabinets. But if you need a few more, read on.

1. Kitchens sell homes

Everyone's heard that saying, right? But what it really means is that bad kitchens cost people sales or at least profits. Nobody's shelling out top dollar for your dingy, dark, outdated mess. But that doesn't mean you have to do a full-blown renovation. Painted cabinets can give the feel of an updated kitchen at a fraction of the cost of a total redo.

"Painting cabinets, especially if you do the job yourself, costs far less than outright replacement. Bargain-basement cabinets for a 10x12-ft. kitchen can easily top $5,000," said This Old House. "Refacing cabinets, a process of veneering existing cabinet boxes and replacing doors and drawer fronts, is another option, but a top-notch refacing job starts at $3,500. The materials for painting (brushes, primer, paint) will cost about $200.

2. It looks dark and dreary

Older kitchens that don't reflect today's open floorplan trend can feel small and cavelike. Dark cabinets exacerbate the issue.

Erin Williamson Design

This kitchen, with its outdated layout and mismatched appliances, would distract potential buyers. Blowing out those upper cabinets and updating, well, everything, would be great. But even without making major changes, it could be improved greatly by painting out the cabinets. Going with white will make it look larger and blend in with the appliances and countertops.

3. It looks dated

"It's not updated" is code for "It's going to cost me too much money to renovate that mess myself," which is code for, "I'm not buying that house."


Look at how this kitchen went from meh to masterful just by painting the cabinets white and swapping out the hardware. The once sorry space is now a selling point.

4. It looks dirty

Knicks, scratches, and worn surfaces will elicit smirks, not smiles. The takeaway is a house that's not taken care of, not one that buyers are clamoring for.

5. It looks small

Those dark wood cabinets are making your kitchen feel tiny, and tiny kitchens are not a selling point. Dark colors suck up the light, while lighter colors like white reflect light. If you have a small space or one that's closed in (or both!), lightening up the cabinets will make a world of difference in how the space feels.


A reflective surface for your backsplash will help further, by bouncing light around the room to make it feel more spacious.

6. It looks cheap

And if your kitchen looks cheap, perception is that the rest of the house might be cheap too.

7. It makes everything else look bad

Even a kitchen with nice countertops, appliances, and fixtures can be brought down by cabinets that aren't up to par.

If you think a fresh coat of paint can't make a real difference, just take a look at this kitchen.

Willow Oaks New Homes

8. It's a cheap and easy DIY project

Easy doesn't mean it won't bring a certain level of pain, but the pain is in the tediousness of having to patiently go through all the necessary steps to achieve a good result, not in learning new and complicated skills or using dangerous equipment that—for us clumsy people—might mean the loss of a finger.

Those couple hundred bucks you spend can bring thousands of dollars in value when you sell. And if you don't want to do it yourself, it's still a relatively low-cost option. "Having a pro do the work will run at least $1,000, more if the painter insists on stripping all cabinets," said This Old House.

If it's all the sanding that has you concerned, try a product like Cabinet Transformations.

That's how this kitchen was transformed. The no-sand option uses a deglosser to remove grease and grime and take the shine off the wood to prepare them for painting.

9. It may just cause a divorce

The thing about kitchens is that everyone wants them updated, but few people actually want to do the updating. A complete renovation: a) takes too long; b) costs too much; c) is an enormous hassle; d) and can cause such a rift between people that it may end their relationship.

Do your fellow man (and woman) a favor, and paint your cabinets.

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