How Much Does It Cost to Paint Kitchen Cabinets?

The cost to paint kitchen cabinets is the cheapest of all the kitchen cabinet renovation projects—if all you really need is a cabinet face-lift. Expect to pay an average of $809, or between $395 and $1,234 for kitchen cabinet painting.

By Brie Greenhalgh | Published Nov 9, 2021 10:53 AM

Cost to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Photo: istockphoto.com

  • Typical Range: $350 to $1,300
  • National Average: $809

Updating your kitchen cabinets is one of the best ways to quickly improve the look and feel of an area where you likely spend a lot of time. And depending on the surface and condition your cabinets are in, you don’t have to replace them to achieve that goal. Repainting kitchen cabinets continues to be one of the most popular kitchen renovation projects that can breathe new life into your space and improve your home’s value.

The cost to paint kitchen cabinets is lower than you might think—certainly lower than replacing or even refacing them. On average, homeowners spend $809 to repaint the doors and cabinets in their kitchens, with a typical range of $395 to $1,234. This cost is primarily made up of labor but also includes supplies. If existing cabinets need a lot of work to strip off poor surfaces before repainting, if lots of finish work is required, or if there are a lot of cabinets in a large kitchen, this cost could increase to an average of $7,000. These are the most common factors in determining the cost to paint kitchen cabinets, but keep reading to discover more about kitchen cabinet painting costs.

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Factors in Calculating Cost to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Paint comes in many colors and finishes, and some are higher quality than others and will cost more. The supplies your project needs will also affect the cost, as will the overall surface area, layout, and total size of the kitchen cabinets you will paint. And since painting kitchen cabinets is a labor-intensive job, you’ll find that a lot of the cost is wrapped up in labor fees. Here are the factors for how the cost to paint kitchen cabinets is determined.

Paint Type and Quality

Different paints are made for different environments and visual effects. Some paints are extra glossy, but they are more expensive than flat or matte paint. The in-between option is an eggshell or satin paint that works on many surfaces, but it might not stand up to the heavy use of kitchen cabinets. Oil-based paints also leave a rich, brushed look and latex paints create a smoother finish. You’ll also need to select the correct primer for your wood and the paint you choose. A paint professional can help you determine the best options for your needs.

Painting Method

As you prepare to paint kitchen cabinets, you’ll need to decide how you want to paint them. You can use a brush, roller, or paint sprayer. Spraying is an efficient method that can get the job done quickly and evenly—if the tool is used correctly. If your kitchen cabinets have grooves or recesses, then using a brush is best for these tricky areas if you don’t plan to spray paint, but you can switch to a roller for the larger flat surfaces. Whichever method you choose, you’ll need to purchase the brushes, rollers, drop cloths, painter’s tape, paint pans, sanding materials or paint strippers, primer, and paint that you’ll need if you’re DIY-ing the job. You’ll probably pay between $200 and $600 for painting supplies. If you hire professional painters, they’ll already have the supplies.

Surface Area and Cabinet Design and Layout

It costs $3 to $10 per square foot to paint kitchen cabinets, or an average of $30 to $60 per linear foot, including labor, materials, and supplies. This does depend on the condition of the cabinets and how much work is needed to remove doors and hardware. If you have standard kitchen cabinets (not oversize or inset with glass), a painting contractor might quote you a price per door ($100), drawer ($25), and cabinet ($75 to $150). Additionally, tricky or tight layouts with lots of corners will increase the cost since it’s time-consuming to work in those areas.

Kitchen Size

The size of your kitchen correlates to the total surface area that determines your cost to paint kitchen cabinets. If you already know that you have a small kitchen, the cost will be on the lower end, but large kitchens with big cabinets will likely cost more. Not only will you need more paint, but you’ll also need more drop cloths to protect the floor and countertops—and you’ll need more time.

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Color

Are you going from a darker color to a lighter color? Your best bet is to sand or strip off the paint first, but if you’re in a hurry to cover cabinets that are in good condition already, then at least use a primer to allow the lighter color to show up properly. Using a primer is essential to ensure the right shade of paint on any surface, and a primer helps the paint adhere better. You’ll also pay more if you plan to use two paint colors to accent each other. Make sure to speak to a paint professional to make sure you choose a color and type of paint that works on your surfaces. There isn’t a specific paint for kitchen cabinets, but you need to make sure the style you choose works with your long-term needs and vision.

Condition of Cabinets 

In some cases, old kitchen cabinets are in terrible shape: peeling paint, warped laminate, dirty surfaces, or cracked wood. Some cabinets cannot be repainted in their current state and might require significant effort to repair the wood to a usable condition. Be advised that damaged laminate should not be painted over until it has been repaired or refaced. In every case, hardware should be removed and the old surface sanded or stripped before being primed so that the new paint coat can adhere properly. The more work that needs to be done, the more it will cost to prepare the cabinets for painting.

Labor

The cost to paint kitchen cabinets includes a fair amount of labor fees. On average, kitchen cabinet painters charge $20 to $50 per hour, depending on your location. Sometimes they’ll choose to base their rates on the total linear feet of the cabinets or charge by the door, drawer, and cabinet.

Cost to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Photo: istockphoto.com

Additional Costs and Considerations

Beyond the essential items that make up kitchen cabinet painting costs, there are a few additional considerations to help you answer the question you might have of “How much do painters charge?” While every project will require site preparation, some cabinets won’t need refacing or repairs, so consider these following factors on a case-by-case basis.

Site Preparation and Primer

The level of site preparation and primer your project needs will vary, especially if you’ve opted to spray paint the cabinets. Covering every surface is essential to avoid unwanted paint stains on hardwood floors, countertops, sinks, appliances, or vents. This is even more true if you’re using more than one paint color, as you’ll have a second round of site preparation to cover the newly painted areas, too. And again, using a primer as your base coat is essential to ensuring a good bond and color saturation for your preferred paint.

Removing Doors and Drawers

Part of the lengthy process of site preparation is also removing doors and drawers. It’s difficult to properly paint these surfaces when they’re still in place. Removing them and their hardware allows you or a pro to sand them better and paint them more carefully. However, it does take some time, so you’ll need to factor in labor costs for this task.

Removing the Appliances 

To get each cabinet surface prepped and painted, you might need to remove your appliances to access hard-to-reach surfaces. Usually, this includes dishwashers or fridges. It can take several days to paint kitchen cabinets, so plan for this situation.

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Repainting vs. Refacing 

Repainting kitchen cabinets is a common task that can be done on many kinds of woods and some laminates, as long as they are in adequate condition and are sufficiently prepared. It’s an easy way to take existing cabinets and simply change the color or stain to update the appearance.

An alternative renovation option is to reface your cabinets. This is helpful if you want to update the exterior of the cabinets without having to pay for completely new cabinets—a more expensive venture. You can replace the doors completely or have new veneers professionally attached to them. Usually, this includes adding new hardware, which can also be done if you’re just repainting. Refacing cabinets is a common option for homeowners who have laminate cabinets in poor condition that can’t be repainted as is.

Reasons to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

It’s not hard to find a reason to update your old kitchen cabinets with a fresh coat of paint. Perhaps you’ve just bought an older home that needs some fixing up, or you’re looking to sell your house and recognize the need to spruce up the interior. Whatever the reason, updating the appearance of your kitchen cabinets to a timeless color scheme is an easy way to boost your home’s value.

Outdated and Dirty Cabinets

As fresh and new as your cabinets may have looked when they were initially installed, they might look wholly dated or covered in layers of dirt and grime from years of use. This is a top reason people should consider painting their cabinets. Cleaning them out, sanding off the old color or finish, then adding fresh paint and hardware can make an old kitchen feel brand new. This is especially true if you switch to a lighter color scheme, which has a way of making the space feel bigger, too.

A New, Refreshed, and Modern Look

Are you tired of the same old look? With dozens of renovation TV shows and plenty of blogging inspiration, it’s easy to suddenly realize you’re ready for a change. Updating your cabinets with fresh paint and new hardware can completely revitalize an old, traditional space to a new, modern space with less effort (and cost) than a full renovation.

Added Value to Home

Since most of us spend a fair amount of time gathered in kitchens filled with delightful aromas, having a space that looks and feels open and appealing can really become a great selling point for your home. Painting kitchen cabinets to an updated, trendy color that still blends with your existing countertops and floors is a great way to add value to your home. Many homeowners don’t realize how important the appearance of a kitchen and its cabinets is to prospective home buyers. Spending a little money on this effort will go a long way toward making the house more attractive.

Cost-Efficient Alternative to Remodeling

Remodeling your house is the fastest way to increase its value, but it doesn’t always fit the budget. A more cost-effective and quicker method is to simply paint your kitchen cabinets. If the job is done correctly, the paint can last—and look good—for years to come. It’s a small investment up front that has long-term benefits for you and future homeowners.

Cost to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Photo: istockphoto.com

Cost to Paint Kitchen Cabinets: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional 

In the long list of DIY projects homeowners have been known to tackle, painting kitchen cabinets seems like it would be near the top of the list. It seems fairly straightforward to know how to paint kitchen cabinets. While it’s certainly not the most complex task, and it doesn’t require a lot of specialized equipment, it’s important to note that it takes much longer than you might think. If you have 200 square feet worth of cabinets to paint, you can expect around 20 hours to prepare and remove the finish, plus another 15 to 30 hours for the actual priming, painting, refitting, and cleanup. It’s no small sacrifice to have your kitchen largely unusable for several days in a row or more if you can’t get it all done at once. Furthermore, though many DIY enthusiasts paint their own cabinets, it’s a common mistake to prepare the cabinets inadequately. Missing this step, or doing it improperly, can prevent your paint from lasting a long time.

Hiring kitchen cabinet professionals offers numerous benefits for busy homeowners. The first is that they can send a team of laborers to work all day on the job so it can be completed in fewer days. That means your kitchen is disrupted for a much shorter period, letting you get back to enjoying it sooner. Professionals are also well prepared to properly protect the rest of your kitchen, choose the right supplies to remove the finish, prime the cabinets, then paint them. You can also rely on their expertise to help you choose suitable stains, colors, and types of paint for the look you want to achieve. If you have an average-size kitchen, the cost to paint kitchen cabinets is much lower than any kitchen renovation project. Spending the money on professionals who can ensure the cabinets last a long time can be a wise investment that saves you time and money in the long run.

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How to Save Money on Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Don’t let the cost of painting kitchen cabinets sway you from hiring professionals. There are several ways you can save money on this fun project.

  • Accurately calculate how much surface area you’ll need painted to avoid overestimating how much paint you’ll need.
  • Ask a professional if your cabinets can handle using a paint with primer included or if your situation will work best with a separate primer.
  • If you have an old tarp or old bedsheets, they can work as drop cloths. (When hiring a professional, you won’t have to worry about providing things like drop cloths.)
  • Use the paint that works for your budget and your vision. An ultra high-gloss paint might not be necessary if you’re going for a muted look.
  • At the same time, be willing to spend a little extra on good quality paint that will last longer than a year or two.
  • Follow paint companies on social media where they advertise upcoming sales.
  • Remove the cabinet doors and drawers yourself to save on time and labor.
  • Ask for a quote on the hardware you might choose to update. The company may have access to wholesale pricing, or you might find it on sale at a local hardware store.
  • If you’re also considering having some rooms painted, ask if there is a discount for booking both jobs at the same time.
Cost to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Photo: istockphoto.com

Questions to Ask About Painting Kitchen Cabinets

There are lots of tips to know about painting kitchen cabinets so you can have the best possible outcome. Use the following questions to help narrow down your research for a company that is qualified to handle your project.

About the company:

  • How long has your company been in business?
  • Do you specialize in painting kitchen cabinets?
  • Do you have a portfolio of work I can review?
  • Can I speak with any references?
  • Who will be doing the work?
  • Will there be more than one employee?
  • Do you charge by linear foot or by the door and cabinet?
  • Can I review an itemized estimate?

About the job:

  • What types of paints do you use and recommend for my kitchen?
  • What are the steps you’ll take to complete this entire project?
  • How much prep work will my cabinets require?
  • Will you number the doors and drawers so they are replaced correctly?
  • What kind of preparation should I do before you arrive?
  • What painting method do you recommend to achieve the look I want?
  • What if some cabinets or drawers need small repairs?
  • How long will the job take?
  • Will I have any access to my appliances during the painting process?
  • What if you run out of paint? How will you ensure the second batch is an exact match?
  • Will you finish with a top coat?
  • Is your work guaranteed or warrantied?
  • Is there anything I should do to help maintain the cabinets?
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FAQs

Choosing the right paint color and hardware and gauging how much time and effort is needed for this time-consuming project can be daunting. But having as much information as possible can help alleviate concerns or questions you might have about the process. The answers to these frequently asked questions can help.

Q. Is it worth it to paint kitchen cabinets? 

Almost without exception, yes, it is. In some instances where the cabinets are too damaged to be repainted, or you’d rather update the cabinets or the layout of the kitchen, then you’d need to look at replacing them instead. Otherwise, the cost to paint kitchen cabinets and update to a fresh, classic, or trending appearance is well worth it. Updating your kitchen is one of the most rewarding ways to see an increase in your home’s value.

Q. How much does it cost to have cabinets professionally painted? 

On average, it costs $809 to paint cabinets professionally. The typical range is $395 to $1,234, but the cost can also exceed this if it’s a large kitchen or extensive prep work is needed to be able to paint old cabinets. The size of your kitchen, the surface area of your cabinets, the type of paint you choose, and local labor rates all influence your total cost.

Q. Is it hard to paint cabinets?

The painting process itself is not difficult. It’s also not the most time-consuming part. The biggest challenge is preparing the cabinets for the new paint to last for a long time and look great. The cabinets must be cleaned, sanded or stripped, doors and drawers removed, hardware taped or removed, and all surfaces protected. Improperly preparing your cabinets for new paint is the biggest mistake that people make when trying to DIY this multiday job.

Q. Is it better to spray or paint kitchen cabinets?

It depends on the look you’re going for. If you like the rich texture an oil-based paint applied with a brush leaves behind, then your best bet is to have them hand-painted. Spray painting is an efficient way to evenly spray paint on any surface, even if it has grooves. You simply need to make sure that the professional is comfortable using the spray painter and that you’re using the best paint to achieve the smooth result you want. It can be messier to spray paint cabinets, so ask if they will cover the entire kitchen or spray them outside in a protected area.

Q. Do I need to add a protective seal to cabinets after painting?

Generally, yes, it’s recommended to add a protective seal to your kitchen cabinets. You’ve just invested in a quality project, and the best way to protect that investment over time is to seal the paint. Kitchen cabinets experience a lot more use and abuse than a plain old wall does, so protecting it from food, grease, dings, cuts, and liquids is a wise idea.

Sources: HomeAdvisor, Thumbtack, Homeserve, HomeGuide

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