Kitchen Cabinets: Is it Cheaper to Repaint or Reface?

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Is it cheaper to repaint or reface kitchen cabinets?

If you are looking to give your kitchen cabinets a new lease on life, you may be wondering whether it is more cost-effective to repaint them or reface them. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of each option, taking into consideration factors such as budget, time, and desired outcome. By the end, you should have a clearer idea of which route to take for your kitchen renovation project.

Which is more cost-effective: Repainting or Refacing Kitchen Cabinets?

Repainting kitchen cabinets is generally more cost-effective than refacing them. Repainting involves applying a fresh coat of paint to the existing cabinets, which can be a relatively inexpensive DIY project. It also provides an opportunity to change the color or finish of the cabinets, giving them a completely new look at a fraction of the cost of refacing.

Refacing, on the other hand, involves replacing the cabinet doors and drawer fronts while keeping the existing cabinet boxes. This process requires professional installation and can be quite expensive, especially if you choose high-end materials and intricate designs. However, refacing does offer the advantage of completely transforming the appearance of your kitchen without the need for a full cabinet replacement.

Ultimately, the decision between repainting and refacing kitchen cabinets depends on your budget and the desired outcome. If you are looking for a budget-friendly option that allows for a simple cosmetic update, repainting is the way to go. However, if you want a more dramatic transformation and are willing to invest more money, refacing might be the better choice.

Frequent Questions

Are there any cost-saving benefits to repainting kitchen cabinets instead of refacing them?

Repainting kitchen cabinets can offer several cost-saving benefits compared to refacing them. Here are a few reasons why repainting might be a more economical option:

1. Lower cost: Repainting cabinets is generally less expensive than refacing them. Refacing involves replacing the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, which requires purchasing new materials and hiring professionals for installation. On the other hand, repainting only requires paint and supplies.

2. DIY-friendly: Repainting cabinets is a project that can often be done by homeowners themselves, eliminating labor costs. With proper preparation, tools, and some patience, you can achieve professional-looking results at a fraction of the cost.

3. Customization options: Repainting cabinets allows you to have complete control over the color and finish. You can choose from a wide range of paint colors to match your kitchen’s aesthetic, giving you the opportunity to personalize your space without breaking the bank.

4. Time-saving: Repainting cabinets is generally quicker than refacing them. While refacing may require weeks for materials to be ordered and professionals to complete the installation, repainting can often be done within a few days, depending on the size of the project.

However, it is important to note that the decision between repainting and refacing should be based on the condition and quality of your existing kitchen cabinets. If the cabinets are in poor condition or need structural modifications, refacing might be a better long-term investment. Consult with a professional to determine the most suitable option for your specific situation.

How much can I expect to save by repainting my kitchen cabinets compared to refacing them?

When it comes to saving money, repainting your kitchen cabinets is generally a more cost-effective option compared to refacing them. Repainting cabinets involves sanding down the surface, applying primer, and then adding several coats of paint. This process typically costs around $2 to $5 per square foot, depending on the quality of paint and any additional materials needed.

On the other hand, cabinet refacing involves replacing the cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and sometimes even the hardware while keeping the existing cabinet boxes. This process can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000 for a standard-sized kitchen, depending on the materials used and the complexity of the job.

Therefore, repainting your kitchen cabinets can save you thousands of dollars compared to refacing them. However, it’s important to consider the condition of your cabinets and the desired outcome. If your cabinets are in poor condition or if you desire a more drastic change in appearance, refacing may be a better option despite the higher cost.

What are the pros and cons of repainting versus refacing kitchen cabinets from a cost perspective?

Repainting kitchen cabinets:

  • Cost-effective: Repainting cabinets is generally cheaper than refacing them.
  • DIY-friendly: You can save money by repainting the cabinets yourself, as long as you have the necessary tools and skills.
  • Quick process: Repainting cabinets can be done relatively quickly, allowing you to transform your kitchen in a shorter amount of time.


  • Limited color options: While you can repaint cabinets in various colors, you are restricted to the available paint options.
  • Less durable: Painted cabinets may not be as durable as refaced cabinets, especially if the paint finish gets chipped or worn over time.
  • Existing damage: If your cabinets have significant damage, such as deep scratches or water damage, repainting may not effectively cover these flaws without proper repairs.

Refacing kitchen cabinets:

  • Extensive customization: Refacing allows you to choose from a wide range of materials, finishes, and styles, giving you more options to match your desired aesthetic.
  • Durability: Refaced cabinets typically offer greater durability than repainted cabinets, as they often involve replacing the cabinet doors and drawer fronts.
  • Increased home value: Refacing can enhance the overall appearance of your kitchen and potentially increase its resale value.


  • Higher cost: Refacing kitchen cabinets can be more expensive than repainting, as it involves purchasing new materials and potentially hiring professionals for installation.
  • Longer process: Refacing cabinets usually takes longer than repainting, as it involves removing the existing cabinet doors and drawer fronts, installing new ones, and potentially adding other modifications.
  • Limited structural changes: Refacing does not allow for significant changes to the cabinet layout or structure. If you want to completely change the layout or functionality of your cabinets, refacing may not be the best option.

Ultimately, the choice between repainting and refacing kitchen cabinets depends on your budget, desired outcome, and the condition of your current cabinets. It’s advisable to consult with professionals or gather quotes to determine the most cost-effective and suitable option for your specific needs.

In conclusion, when deciding between repainting or refacing kitchen cabinets, it is important to consider both the cost and the desired outcome. Repainting kitchen cabinets can be a more cost-effective option, especially for those working with a limited budget. However, it may require more time and effort to achieve a professional finish. On the other hand, refacing kitchen cabinets can provide a complete transformation while preserving the existing layout. This option tends to be pricier but offers a higher-quality result. Ultimately, the choice between repainting or refacing kitchen cabinets depends on individual preferences, budgetary constraints, and the level of transformation desired.

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