Kitchen Cabinet Refacing vs. Painting: Which Option is Best for You?

Kitchen Cabinet Refacing vs. Painting: Which Option is Best for You?


In the world of kitchen remodeling, there’s a constant dilemma that homeowners face: Should you reface or paint your kitchen cabinets? Both options have their merits, and your choice ultimately depends on your goals, budget, and the current state of your cabinets. In this article, we will delve into the nuances of kitchen cabinet refacing and painting, helping you make an informed decision to breathe new life into your kitchen.

The Beauty of Kitchen Cabinets

Before we dive into the comparison, let’s appreciate the central role kitchen cabinets play in your kitchen. They serve both practical and aesthetic purposes, offering storage and contributing significantly to the overall look and feel of your kitchen.

Kitchen Cabinet Refacing: Giving a Facelift

If you’re looking to update your kitchen without the cost and hassle of a full-scale renovation, kitchen cabinet refacing might be the perfect solution. This process involves giving your existing cabinets a fresh new look by replacing the cabinet doors and drawer fronts while keeping the existing cabinet boxes intact. It’s a cost-effective way to transform the appearance of your kitchen and breathe new life into the heart of your home.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you understand the process of kitchen cabinet refacing:


The first step is to assess the current condition of your cabinets. Are the cabinet boxes sturdy and in good shape? If so, they are candidates for refacing. If there’s significant structural damage, it may be more practical to consider full cabinet replacement.

Choose a Style

Select a cabinet door style and finish that suits your design preferences. This is where you can get creative and customize the look of your kitchen. Whether you prefer a classic, modern, or rustic design, there are numerous options to choose from.

Remove Old Doors and Drawer Fronts

The existing cabinet doors and drawer fronts are removed carefully. At this point, it’s also common to remove hardware like handles and knobs.


New cabinet doors and drawer fronts, chosen in the previous step, are installed on the existing cabinet boxes. This can include new hinges and handles for a completely refreshed appearance. In some cases, veneer or laminate may be applied to the cabinet boxes to match the new doors.

Additional Enhancements:

This is an excellent time to add any additional elements like under-cabinet lighting, pull-out shelves, or other organizational features that can make your kitchen more functional.

Finish and Paint:

The new doors and cabinet boxes can be painted or stained to match your desired color scheme. This is where you can really personalize the look of your kitchen.

Countertops and Backsplash:

While not strictly part of the cabinet refacing process, consider updating your countertops and backsplash to complement your new cabinets. This can further enhance the overall look of your kitchen.

Hardware Installation:

Install new hardware such as handles, knobs, and pulls for the finishing touch. These small details can have a significant impact on the overall aesthetic of your kitchen.

Kitchen cabinet refacing offers several advantages. It’s a quicker and more affordable option than completely replacing your cabinets, and it creates less disruption in your home. It’s also an environmentally friendly choice since it reduces waste by reusing existing materials.

When considering kitchen cabinet refacing, it’s essential to work with experienced professionals who can guide you through the process and ensure a high-quality result. With the right choices in style, finish, and additional enhancements, you can achieve a kitchen that feels brand new and tailored to your taste, without the expense and hassle of a full renovation.

What is Cabinet Refacing?

Cabinet refacing is a process that involves replacing the doors and drawer fronts of your existing cabinets while keeping the cabinet boxes intact. It’s like getting a brand-new outfit for your cabinets, instantly transforming the look of your kitchen.

Pros of Cabinet Refacing

  1. Cost-Efficiency: Cabinet refacing is generally more cost-effective than a full cabinet replacement.
  2. Less Disruption: It’s a quicker process, causing minimal disruption to your daily life.
  3. Customization: You can choose from various materials and styles to match your kitchen’s aesthetics.

Cons of Cabinet Refacing

  1. Limited Transformation: While it updates the look, it doesn’t change the layout or functionality of your kitchen.
  2. Condition Matters: Your cabinets must be in good structural condition for refacing to be an option.

Kitchen Cabinet Painting: A Splash of Color

als for your cabinet type and consult with experts if needed. If you’re not comfortable with DIY painting, consider hiring a professional to ensure a flawless finish.

The Painting Process

Painting your kitchen cabinets involves sanding, priming, and applying a fresh coat of paint to the cabinet surfaces. It’s a classic way to rejuvenate your kitchen without an extensive overhaul.

Pros of Cabinet Painting

  1. Affordability: Painting is one of the most budget-friendly options for kitchen cabinet transformation.
  2. Endless Color Choices: You have the freedom to choose from a wide range of colors to suit your style.
  3. DIY Potential: With the right tools and skills, you can tackle cabinet painting as a DIY project.

Cons of Cabinet Painting

  1. Time-Consuming: It can be a time-consuming process, especially if you’re not experienced.
  2. Durability Concerns: The finish may not be as durable as new cabinet surfaces, and it might require occasional touch-ups.

Making Your Decision

Now that you’ve seen the pros and cons of both methods, how do you choose?

Consider Refacing If:

  • Your cabinets are in good structural condition.
  • You want a quick and cost-effective update.
  • You’re satisfied with your cabinet layout.

Consider Painting If:

  • You’re on a tight budget.
  • You crave a custom color for your cabinets.
  • You’re ready to invest time or hire a professional for the job.


In the realm of kitchen remodeling, the choice between cabinet refacing and painting is not one-size-fits-all. Each option offers distinct advantages, and the best choice for your kitchen depends on your unique needs and preferences. Ultimately, both methods can breathe new life into your kitchen, allowing you to enjoy a refreshed and stylish cooking space.


How long does cabinet refacing typically take?

The time for cabinet refacing varies, but it’s generally a quicker process than full replacement. It can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.

Can I combine cabinet refacing and painting for a unique look?

Absolutely! Some homeowners choose to reface the cabinet doors and then paint them in a custom color for a unique and personalized kitchen design.

Do I need to remove all the items from my cabinets before refacing or painting?

It’s a good idea to empty your cabinets before the work begins to protect your belongings and make it easier for the professionals to do their job.

Is cabinet painting a good DIY project?

While it can be a DIY project, it’s essential to have the right tools and experience. Otherwise, professional painters can ensure a high-quality finish.

How often do painted cabinets need to be repainted or touched up?

The frequency of touch-ups depends on factors like the quality of paint and the amount of wear and tear. On average, you might need to touch up every few years.

Is cabinet refacing more expensive than painting?

No, cabinet refacing can be more expensive, but it offers greater durability and quality compared to painting.

How long does cabinet refacing typically take?

Cabinet refacing usually takes a few days, making it a quicker option than completely replacing your cabinets.

Can I change the cabinet layout during the refacing process?

Cabinet refacing primarily focuses on the cabinet exteriors, so significant layout changes may not be feasible.

What type of paint is best for cabinet painting?

For cabinet painting, it’s best to use a high-quality enamel or latex paint for durability.

Do I need to hire professionals for cabinet refacing and painting?

While DIY is an option, hiring professionals ensures a high-quality result, especially for cabinet refacing, which requires precision and experience.

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