Should I Paint My Kitchen Cabinets?

Wilsonart Wednesday

Welcome to Wilsonart Wednesday! We've teamed up with the kitchen experts at Wilsonart to answer our readers' questions about kitchen renovation. We'll be posting the answers on Wilsonart Wednesdays all summer long, so ask your questions here and check back in for the answers!

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Q: I moved into my gut-rehab condo 8 years ago. It included pretty good quality cherry cabinets, but I have always hated them. Would it be a big mistake to paint them? I wonder this from a design perspective and a re-sale perspective.

- Sharon F.

Q: The kitchen in the home I am purchasing is modern and newly remodeled but very dark. I'd love to have the cherry wood cabinets painted white, but I've been warned that this is "not good for resale." We plan on living in this house for 5 years or less. Are darker wood cabinets more appealing to homebuyers than white?    

- Rachel Z 

A: The question of darker wood versus painted (white) cabinets is a common one these days. Depending on the overall design of your kitchen, the style of your home, and the geographic region you live in, the degree of popularity ranges quite a bit. So, think about these questions while making your decision:
  1. Cabinets’ style and aesthetic – cherry wood can be beautiful, but consider the style of your cabinets and if they complement the kitchen design, as well as the overall aesthetic of your home. Painting them may bring about a more cohesive design throughout the whole space, which would be more appealing to you and better in the long run (in terms of resale).
  2. Renovation budget – if you move forward with painting the cabinets, will you be doing this yourself or will you hire a professional? If you really want to paint, you need to make sure the cabinets end up looking as good or better than the current cabinets. You’ll need to remove the doors and the hardware, and then sand, prime, and paint the cabinet box as well as the doors, which you’ll then need to remount properly. It’s a lot of work, so make sure you’re ready for it. If not, consider your budget for hiring a professional so the job is done right (and out of your hands!). 
  3. Consult a realtor – in many parts of the country (the Midwest for example) cherry wood is a selling point in homes. Look at listings of similar homes in your area and see how the kitchen description is worded. You can also reach out to a local realtor to get their opinion.
  4. Choose color carefully – as important it is to have the cabinets painted properly, you want to make sure you choose the right color. There are literally hundreds of “white” paint options. Remember, lighting conditions play a strong role in how paint will look in the final space, so test out some colors before making your final decision (Tip: tape a paint swatch on the front of each existing cabinet and live with it for a few days. Watch the light throughout the day and take note of color differences).
While all of these questions should be taken into consideration, the most important one is the kitchen’s role in your family’s life. Is it truly the heart of your home? Are you one who cooks often, and enjoys entertaining in this space as well? If you’ll be spending a lot of time in this space, you should love it. And that’s one of the most important facts to consider, regardless of resale value.

If you need any help, give the Wilsonart Visualizer a try! 

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