I get asked this question all the time – especially after I painted all my kitchen cabinets and doors black, “how much does it cost to paint kitchen cabinets?” As is true with most things interior design and and renovation, there isn’t one single answer. But I do have some rough estimates that you might find helpful from my experience.
While you can pay for a professional to complete the job for you, it may be worth taking on this project as a DIY to save some cash. Plus, painting your cabinets is really not that hard, and you don’t need any power tools or sharp objects. As such I like to challenge folks to give it a try if saving money on the budget is a serious factor. But before you do, ask yourself…
Are you just upgrading old paint? That’s simple enough. But what if the cabinet doors have warped, or are in serious disrepair? Well, things just got a bit more complicated. But never fear. You got options.
As usual, I’m gonna give you the tea on what to know if you want to hire out your kitchen cabinet paint job or take on the DIY yourself. Ready to get started?
The Average Cost to Paint Kitchen Cabinets Varies
The average cost of painting kitchen cabinets varies a lot because there are a wide variety of factors to consider. First, you need to consider the material costs of your project. Next, there are the labor costs.
For better or for worse, location plays a big part in pricing. To give an example, we’ll take a look at some data released by Angi in February (2022). The site gathered average kitchen cabinet painting costs from across the US, and costs varied wisely.
How much does it cost to have a professional paint your kitchen cabinets?
- If you live in New York City, the average cost is about $950.
- However, if you live in Boulder City, CO, the same job would only cost you around $580.
- Head out West to Seattle, and now you’d be looking at an average cost of $1,000.
- Travel down south to Texas, and the price for the same paint job was reduced to an average of $780.
- I live in San Francisco and it cost me almost $3,000
- You can do it yourself for less than $200 dollars with supplies and paint
As you can see, your location plays a giant role in the total cost of your project. This is largely due to labor wages, cost of materials, and the average home sales price.
Fortunately, a lot of professional businesses will offer free estimates. Be sure to get lots of quotes. This allows you to get an idea of how much your project will cost without needing to make a commitment right away. That said, prices vary even on a local level, so I always recommend getting multiple quotes from various companies before making a decision.
What is the average labor cost paid to someone painting cabinets?
There are two main ways that labor costs will be calculated: by the hour, or by space (which is usually based on either the linear foot total or the number of square feet).
How much does it cost to paint cabinets per hour or linear foot?
Just like with the general question “how much does it cost to paint kitchen cabinets”, there isn’t really a set rate that you can expect to be charged. Prices generally run between $20 to $55 per hour, or $30 to $60 per linear foot.
If your cabinet will require a lot of prep work or extra coats of paint, you should anticipate the per-foot price to be on the higher side. If you have a large kitchen then you should expect to pay more as well (since it will take them longer to complete the project).
Once again, I’ll mention the importance of getting multiple quotes! Getting your kitchen cabinets painted costs hundreds and often times thousands of dollars, so try to save some money when you can, but I never go with the cheapest quote. Of course, don’t settle for a cheaper company with poor reviews. Instead, try to find a balance between quality work and reasonable pricing.
What is the right paint type and finish for kitchen cabinets?
The paint color you end up choosing is extremely important. It will set the tone for your entire kitchen – sometimes even your home. So be sure to think long and hard about the color, or colors you want in your space. I highly suggest a cabinet quality paint. A standard wall or trim based paint won’t be hard enough to withstand the requirements of daily use in a kitchen and you will be touching them up often if not. Invest in a good paint. Read more a bout finish and paint options here.
Do you have any decorations in your kitchen? If so, you should make sure that your choice of paint colors and finishes fits in with the other decor. This is especially true with any artwork you have hung up (speaking of, here’s a print & a painting I really like!).
When you’re trying to figure out how much does it cost to paint kitchen cabinets, you have to consider the type of paint you’ll need for the job. Do you want a lighter color? A darker color? What about the finish- Gloss, semi-gloss, or flat?
Gloss versus semi-gloss. Which is better?
Gloss and semi-gloss paint tend to cost the most, whereas flat paints are generally the cheapest. This makes flat paint a good option for painting larger kitchens on a budget. The downside is that flat paint isn’t as easy to clean, which could be an issue if you have lots of drawer faces and cabinet boxes to clean regularly. I insist on satin or semi-gloss with a cabinet grad paint. don’t use any old paint. You need a hard curing paint that can have almost a week to cure, so it’s good a hard to resist the ware and tear of daily use.
What is better for kitchen cabinets oil-based or water-based paints?
You also have to consider the type of paint you’ll need. Oil-based paints are very common, followed by water-based and latex paints. While oil-based paints are more resistant to wear and tear than the alternatives, they also take longer to dry and put off a lot of fumes (which could make a small kitchen uninhabitable for a few days).
Water-based and latex paints don’t really put off any fumes (which means you won’t smell your paint job for days), but they aren’t as resistant to moisture, temperature changes, and general wear-and-tear as their oil-based alternatives.
Required Repairs & Replacements
Aside from labor and the cost of materials, there may be additional costs you have to consider. Of course, prep work is something that you will likely be aware of (as part of the initial quote), but previous damages could also increase the potential cost you’ll end up paying.
Although a new paint job is sure to look great initially, it won’t do much if your current cabinets are falling apart. Do you have a small crack in one of your cabinets? If so, you might consider painting over it, but this may not be the best idea. It’s almost guaranteed to come back, ruining the paintwork!
Cabinets with minimal damage can most likely be repaired, but for heavily damaged cabinets, you may need to consider replacing them. For some, you’ll be able to get away with replacing only the door. However, others might require an entirely new cabinet.
How much does it cost to paint kitchen cabinets? Well, it depends on what—if anything— needs to be replaced or repaired, which is nearly guaranteed to drive the price up.
If you do have to entirely replace them, I recommend taking a look at your current home accents in the kitchen and trying to find cabinets that fit perfectly with your decor, rather than simply selecting a similar model. Who knows: you might be able to find a cabinet/cabinet style that you like even better!
I know it can seem like a giant pain, and you might be thinking that you *probably* could get away with putting it off (especially if it’s only a small crack). However, I would highly recommend making sure your painters fix any cracks, chips, or other issues with your cabinets when they paint them. At a minimum a good sanding and smoothing out of any old paint and dings is a must.
Now that we’ve gone over the average cost of having a professional paint your kitchen cabinets, let’s briefly review the DIY options. How much does it cost to paint kitchen cabinets if you do it yourself? Well, the price still varies, but generally, it’s a lot less.
You’ll have to buy all the materials yourself, and there are a lot of things you’ll need, including (but not limited to:
- Painter’s tape
- Paint brush(es)
- Paint roller(s)
- Sanding paper
We won’t be going over the steps of how to paint your kitchen cabinets in this article (although I do have a few other painting projects you can check out!). However, if you guys want me to, I’d be happy to write one: just let me know in the comments!
You can expect to spend between $200 to $600 painting your kitchen cabinets yourself. The final cost largely depends on the materials/tools you already have, and what you’ll need to go out and buy. Generally speaking though, it’s usually cheaper to do the job yourself. The most important thing to do is be sure to fully remove your cabinets, and remove all the hardware.
Don’t forget to label each hardware set so you know which goes with which. In addition, you need to lightly sand your surfaces to ensure your paint will adhere. Be sure to clean up all dust too. You don’t want lint and dust collection on the surface. I like to use a paint sprayer, but you can use a microfiber paint roller as well. Be sure to do at least two coats, and let the paint set for at least 48 hours, but 5 days is ideal to get them nice and cured.
Plan Before Painting
It might not seem like a big deal, but painting your kitchen cabinets can actually have a giant impact on your home (especially if your kitchen table is within view of the cabinets!). A fresh layer of paint adds a sense of cleanliness to your kitchen and helps liven the room. Also, don’t forget to swap out or upgrade your kitchen cabinet hardware. If you are going to paint them anyway this is a great time to do so. Here’s how to swap our your hardware all on your own.
It can even help improve the reflective lighting for your indoor plants (like this Ficus), which they’re sure to appreciate. All in all, if you have the time and the money, painting the cabinets is just a nice way to refresh your kitchen.
I suggest starting by taking a look at your current cabinets. Search for any defects, damages, or blemishes and take note. Then contact a few different painting companies, get a few quotes, and start figuring out the color/finish you want for your freshly-painted cabinets before you schedule the job. As with everything, proper planning can go a long way!
DIY vs Contractor Costs
A lot of people assume that painting your cabinets yourself can save a lot of money. While this is definitely true in some situations, it ultimately depends on the materials and tools you have on hand.
Materials & Tools
If you’re painting the cabinets yourself then you’re free to use any paint you’d like. However, if you choose to hire a contractor, they will most likely insist on using high-quality fire retardant paint. Painting yourself could save money on paint.
Even a seemingly simple task such as painting your cabinets requires a variety of tools. If you don’t have any of these tools, you should prepare to pay between $200 to $600 for everything you’ll need to complete the job. Expenses include:
- Painting Tape
- Drop Cloths
When painting, you’ll have the option between using brushes and using a spray gun. Quality spray guns cost hundreds of dollars, so it makes much more sense to rent one. However, renting a spray gun will cost $40 to $120 per day, adding to your existing expenses.
The final amount you end up paying will largely depend on how much paint you need. One gallon of paint usually covers about 350 sq. feet, but it’s important to remember that it’s best to apply multiple layers of paint.
Paint prices vary, generally falling between $15 to $80 per gallon. Designer paints can cost up to $100 or more per gallon! However, these are the prices you’ll likely pay at your local home improvement store. Painters often purchase their paint for up to 50% off, which can significantly reduce paint costs.
Before you can start painting, it’s important to prep the area. This involves removing anything in the way, dismantling the cabinets (if required), and fixing the cabinets (if required). Prepping the area yourself doesn’t cost anything, but it will incur additional costs if the contractor has to prep the area.
You can likely reduce costs—even if you hire a painter—by prepping the area before they show up. Prepping the area yourself doesn’t cost anything (unless the cabinets need to be fixed), but it could take up a significant amount of your time.
DIY vs Repainting vs Refinishing vs Refacing
- The DIY Approach usually costs between $200 to $600.
- Repainting your cabinets professionally can cost anywhere from as little as $300 to as much as $7,200. However, the national average for this job is only $900.
- Refinishing your cabinets generally costs between $1,800 to $4,100. Refinishing is the process of sanding the existing cabinet faces, addressing any minor damages, repainting them, and then re-installing them.
- Refacing your cabinets will cost between $4,300 to $10,000. This process involves replacing the existing doors and drawers with new ones, as well as laminating the existing cabinet components. New fixtures are often added as well.
How much does it cost to paint kitchen cabinets? As you’ve certainly realized by now, there isn’t a simple answer to that question! However, hopefully, you’ve at least gotten a rough idea of how much you can expect to pay to have it done professionally (and how much you could save by doing it yourself).
Commonly asked questions about the cost of painting kitchen cabinets
Is it cheaper to paint or replace kitchen cabinets?
The overall cost of a painting project is nearly always cheaper than getting new cabinets. That said, if your current cabinets are practically falling apart (i.e., will need heavy repairs), it might be a good idea to replace them altogether.
How much does labor cost to paint kitchen cabinets?
The exact cost varies depending on the painting contractor and the painting method they use. As of 2023, the national average cost sits at $1,200, but this could go as low as $73 (or as high as $4,000) depending on the painting project in question.
Is painting kitchen cabinets worth it?
I think it is. The total cost you’ll end up paying is far less than the cost of replacing them and it instantly refreshes your kitchen space!
Is it better to hand paint or spray cabinets?
Spraying paint is a great way to achieve a beautiful paint job that dries quickly. However, since it’s hard to get an even coat, you may want to leave this method to experienced and/or professional painters. For a first-time DIYer, I think that hand paint is the best way to paint your cabinets.
What kind of paint do professionals use to paint kitchen cabinets?
Professionals use various types of high-quality paint to paint cabinet surfaces. While oil-based paints are the traditional choice, latex paints are catching on. Some more eco-friendly painters may choose to use water-based paint instead.
Thanks for reading, guys. Will you consider giving your cabinets an upgrade? Want more ideas on how to level up your home in jiffy? Head to my top 10 ways to make your home look like a million bucks post. Ya gotta try at least one! I promise you can do it. xoxoxox