Kitchen Cabinets Painted vs Stained

As a kitchen designer in NY, I get the question very often today as to whether the customer should install stained kitchen cabinets or painted ones. Most people are unaware that most of the pictures we see in the magazines are painted doors. Since wood does not come white the doors are either covered with Thermofoil, Formica or are painted.

When deciding whether to have kitchens that have stained cabinets or white kitchens/painted, consumers should consider the pros and cons listed below. If you are choosing white kitchens to help make your small kitchen look bigger maybe you could consider a light maple cabinet.

The pros to painted cabinets

  • Having kitchen cabinets painted white makes the kitchen look bigger
  • Gives a crisp refreshing new look.
  • Allows you to have that darker counter without making the kitchen look dark.
  • Can contrast nicely with appliances.

The Cons

  • They will show smudges and dirt more easily
  • They usually get yellow over time that is if they are very white
  • They are usually more money to buy
  • Hairline cracks may develop are not considered a defect, and therefore are not warrantable.

I am still finding in NY anyhow that stained cabinets are what consumers want despite most magazines having white kitchens.. The stained wood has a rich look and shows off the beauty of the wood highlighting the grain. Stained cabinets give the home a warmer feel and can compliment other furnishings in the home.

So in conclusion while we see mostly white kitchens in magazines, consider the above pros and cons before having kitchen cabinets painted. Hairline cracks typically will be found on painted cabinets due the fact that wood and paint contract and expand differently. If this is a concern then you can choose a painted MDF cabinet or a MDF cabinet that is covered with thermofoil. If it is a busy kitchen it may not be a good idea to use a light painted door as it is difficult to keep clean.

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