9 Reasons You Shouldn’t Paint Your Cabinets

Painting cabinets can be a cost-effective way to refresh the look of your kitchen or bathroom, but there are some potential drawbacks and considerations to keep in mind.

Assortment of paint brushes and other tools.


Properly painting cabinets requires thorough preparation. This includes cleaning, sanding, and possibly priming the surfaces to ensure the paint adheres well. This process can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. Without proper preparation, you may end up with uneven texture, color, insufficient coverage.


Cabinets are subjected to daily use, which means they’re exposed to wear and tear, moisture, and cleaning products. If the painting process isn’t done correctly, the paint may chip, peel, or wear off over time, leading to a less durable finish.

Person air painting cabinet doors.

Professional Look

Achieving a professional-looking finish can be challenging, especially if you’re not experienced with painting. Uneven brush strokes, drips, or streaks can affect the final appearance of the cabinets. Properly preparing the cabinets can help, but your best bet is to hire a professional.

Time and Effort

Painting cabinets can take a long time, longer than you may have planned on initially. You’ll need to set aside time for preparation, painting, drying, and reassembling the cabinets. If you’re using multiple coats of paint, the process can be even more time-consuming. Be sure to budget plenty of time for your DIY project.

Looking for More Color?

If you’re looking for something a little more colorful, consider our sister company, Kitchen Design Pros. They have accent colors like red, black, light blue, green, and much more. Go check it out.


While painting cabinets is generally less expensive than completely replacing them, the costs can add up. You’ll need to buy paint, brushes or rollers, sandpaper, primer (if necessary), and potentially other supplies. Beyond monetary costs, there is also a considerable amount of time you’ll need to dedicate to the project.

Odors and Fumes

Paints and primers can emit strong odors and fumes, which can be unpleasant and potentially harmful if not properly ventilated. This is especially important in the kitchens where food is stored. Uncovered foods are most at risk but even covered foods can be impacted.

Collage of four kitchens with different colors and styles of cabinets available from RTA Cabinet Store.


If your cabinets are made of low-quality materials or are very old, painting might not be the cost saver you’re hoping for. In some cases, it might be more cost-effective to invest in higher-quality cabinets rather than trying to get more mileage out of cabinets that are on their last leg.

Ready for New Cabinets?

Take a moment and see what RTA cabinets have to offer. You may be surprised how far you can stretch your budget with ready-to-assemble cabinets.


While painting can transform the look of cabinets, it might not be the best option for all types of cabinets. Some wood types or finishes might not take well to paint, and the result might not be as pleasing as you anticipated. Choose your color and type of paint wisely so you don’t end up with a color that will become dated or a texture that won’t go on smoothly.

Resale Value

If you’re planning to sell your home in the near future, consider whether painted cabinets will enhance or detract from the overall appeal of your kitchen. While a white kitchen is popular, some buyers might prefer the natural wood look.


Once you’ve painted cabinets, it can be difficult and time-consuming to return them to their original state. If you’re unsure about the paint color or style, it’s important to carefully consider this decision before moving forward. Try paint swatches taped to the cabinet door or paint a small area then see how you like it over the course of a week or two.

It’s tempting to think of painting cabinets as quick fix when it’s a serious and irreversible decision. It’s essential to weigh the potential drawbacks against the benefits. If you’re not confident in your painting skills, it might be worth consulting with professionals who specialize in cabinet refinishing to ensure a successful outcome.

Or better yet, consider RTA (ready-to-assemble) cabinets, which are just as DIY-able and more affordable than most new cabinets.

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