How Much Does Painting Kitchen Cabinets Cost?

Annie Sisk
Written by Annie Sisk
Updated September 13, 2021
Modern grey and white wooden kitchen interior
Photo: starush / Adobe Stock

It costs $394 to $1,229 to paint your kitchen cabinets

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Painting kitchen cabinets is a great way to update your kitchen and give it a fresh look. The project costs about $700, but exactly how much you’ll spend depends on a number of factors. Learn how much it costs to paint kitchen cabinets by square footage, type of paint, material, and how much effort it’ll take to remove any existing varnish or paint.

How Much Does It Cost to Paint Kitchen Cabinets per Square Foot?

Based on an average cost of $25 for interior latex paint and a total potential coverage of 400 square feet, it costs approximately $0.10 to paint one square foot of your kitchen cabinets, excluding labor and other related costs. 

Professional painters usually charge more to paint cabinet doors and drawers, so you’ll want to get an exact quote when you’re trying to select a pro for your kitchen cabinet painting project.

How Much Does It Cost to Paint Kitchen Cabinets Near You?

The average cost of a gallon of interior latex paint in the U.S. ranges from $17.00 to $40.00 with a median price of around $25 per gallon. Costs may vary by location, but on a per-gallon basis, this range is fairly uniform across the country. 

While most costs associated with a kitchen cabinet painting project are fairly minimal, they can and do add up quickly. Paint prices, for example, don’t differ that much from city to city, nor does the cost of primer or necessary tools, such as plastic drop cloths and sandpaper. 

Variations in local cost averages are often caused by labor cost differentials. The list below shows the average total cost for painting kitchen cabinets in eight U.S. cities.

Costs to paint kitchen cabinets compared by location, with Minneapolis averaging $650 and Seattle $1,000
Photo: epic_fail/iStock/Getty Images Plus / Getty images

How Many Kitchen Cabinets Can I Paint on My Budget?

Modern kitchen with white upper cabinets and teal base cabinets
Photo: MatildaDark / Adobe Stock

For less than $4,000 in most parts of the U.S., you can hire a professional to strip, prime, and paint all the cabinets in most home kitchens. This estimate includes doors and drawers, but may not always include other parts of your kitchen, such as the baseboards or trim. 

To save money on your kitchen cabinet painting project, you can choose to do the work yourself, which will save the cost of labor. You can also shop around for less expensive paint. However, be careful to select quality paint that resists chips, dirt, and grime, as kitchen cabinets are particularly prone to daily wear and tear.

How Much Does It Cost to Paint Kitchen Cabinets Yourself?

For the average DIY cabinet painting project, you’ll save yourself the labor costs but you’ll also need to make sure you have the necessary equipment. Depending on the type of painting method you choose, that can offset or even exceed the labor costs. And there’s definitely an advantage to hiring a professional—not the least of which is that perfect, uniform, professional finish!

If you do choose to paint your own kitchen cabinets, you can expect to spend approximately $25 to $50 for the paint. If your cabinets need to be stripped or sanded before you paint, you may need to spend another $150 or so on necessary supplies to prep the cabinet surfaces.

Kitchen Cabinet Painting Cost Breakdown

Your project budget for painting kitchen cabinets will include a number of different materials and tools. The paint itself is usually the single largest expenditure outside of labor costs, but other necessary supplies can add up.

Paint

The cost of paint ranges widely depending on the type you select. Different finishes in particular can add a few dollars to each gallon. Flat finishes, for instance, average $27 to $40 per gallon, while high gloss paint can range from $30 to $120.

Stripping, Sanding, and Deglossing

To sand away existing paint or varnish, you’ll need sandpaper in 80, 150, and 220 grit with either a hand sander or a power sander. Sandpaper typically costs between $5 and $10 per pack. Alternatively, you can use a chemical stripping agent. Your local hardware or home improvement store most likely carries a large selection, priced anywhere from $7 to $50.

Equipment

Depending on what method you prefer, you may have the tools you need to paint your kitchen cabinets already on hand. You can pick up a paint roller and set of covers for about $20, or a set of three paint brushes of different sizes for $10 to $20. If you’d prefer to use a spray paint method, you’ll need to either purchase a sprayer, which can cost $200 to $400, or rent one for approximately $100 per day.

If your cabinets will need any repair work, it’s best to get it completed before you paint or repaint them. On average, repairing kitchen cabinets will cost approximately $300

Additionally, you’ll need to make sure you have all the necessary supplies to keep the rest of your kitchen splatter-free and get the job done safely, such as:

MaterialCost
Masks$10 – $35, depending on type
Tarps or drop cloths$25 – $50
Protective tape for glass edges and hardware on doors (be sure to get painter’s tape made for delicate surfaces)$10 – $20
Clean-up supplies (for latex paint, that’s soap and water, but you might also want to add a scraper)$10

So, for these additional supplies, expect to pay another $55 to $100 or so, depending on your circumstances.

How Much Does It Cost to Paint Kitchen Cabinets by Type?

Green uppers and a stained wood island
Photo: Jason / Adobe Stock

Kitchen cabinets can be crafted out of several different kinds of material. Each material requires a slightly different painting approach to achieve that smooth, uniform finish you expect for your kitchen cabinets. Take some time to identify the material you’re working with to ensure you’re using the best strategy in prepping and painting.

Wood

If your wood cabinets are already painted or stained, you’ll need to sand the surface so it will hold onto the paint more evenly and yield a more consistent, uniform look. You can also use a liquid or chemical deglossing agent if the surface is glossy. 

Wood cabinets that haven’t been painted or stained at all won’t need this kind of pre-painting prep work, saving you those costs. On the downside, you’ll have to use a primer as that kind of surface absorbs paint quite a bit, adding approximately $15 to $20 per gallon of primer.

Wood Veneer

Wood veneer cabinets are faced by a thin layer of actual hardwood on top of a thinner layer of some kind of pressed material. It’s certainly possible to repaint veneer cabinets. However, you’ll need to take a little extra care. 

Before you begin to prep the surface with sandpaper, carefully check your cabinet surfaces for any cracks, chips or loose edges. Use wood glue to fix those blemishes, then sand lightly. This should only add approximately $5 to $10 to the total cost for your project.

Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF)

If your cabinets are made from MDF, you’ll first need to seal the porous MDF edge with a bit of drywall compound, which costs between $10 and $20, depending on the brand and quantity you select. 

You’ll next need to apply a thorough coat of oil-based primer, which should be available in your local hardware or home repair store for approximately $60 to $70. That’s enough to cover 100 square feet.

Laminate

Laminate cabinets are basically topped with a layer of plastic on top of a composite base material with a slick finish. The best approach for painting laminate surfaces is to start with a good sanding to “rough up” the surface, then prime with a formula designed specifically for laminate surfaces, ending with a second sanding before applying the final coats of paint. Use fine-grained sandpaper and a gentle touch. 

The sandpaper will add approximately $5 to $10 to your total project cost. For the specialized primer, you can choose an acrylic-based adhesion primer or a chalk paint formula, costing anywhere from $20 to $80, depending on the brand and amount you choose.

What Factors Influence the Cost of Painting Kitchen Cabinets?

In addition to the type of material used in building your kitchen cabinets, other factors can also affect the total cost for your painting project. Examining these factors in your kitchen will help you anticipate any additional costs and ensure you’re properly supplied before you pick up a paintbrush.

Size or Quantity of Cabinets

The more surface area you have to paint, the higher the cost will be on average. Kitchen cabinet painting projects may also require more prep work. Cabinets that are already sporting a paint or stain coat will need to be stripped of the existing coverage, sanded, and possibly primed, so the greater the cabinet surface area you’re working with, the higher the cost of prep materials and overall project cost as well.

Quality of Paint

Paint can vary widely in price depending on the quality. Even if you’re strictly evaluating interior latex semi-gloss paint, you’ll find a large range in the U.S., from $20 to $60 per gallon.

Existing Surface

If your cabinets are already sporting a heavy coat or two of paint, or if they’ve been varnished, they’ll need some extra attention before you can apply the new color. Otherwise, the surface won’t “take” the new paint, and you’ll get an uneven finish. This work means you’ll spend more to get the sandpaper, scrapers, and deglossers, in addition to the higher labor costs.

FAQs About Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Should I paint my kitchen cabinets myself or hire a professional?

Painting projects are usually a great choice for the DIY-inclined. However, in the case of painting kitchen cabinets, you might prefer to spend a little more and get a professional to handle the job. 

Cabinets are more complicated surfaces to paint than flat walls and ceilings, thanks to their unique size, shape, and hardware configurations. Unless you’re an experienced DIY painter, you might want to find a professional local painter in your area to tackle this job.

How do I paint my kitchen cabinets?

Painting kitchen cabinets might seem like a simple job that should only take a few hours at most. 

To get the job done right, however, you’ll need to tackle several paint prep steps:

Why should I paint my kitchen cabinets?

You’ve got a few options to update kitchen cabinets. However, assuming the underlying structure of your cabinets is sound, you might find that painting provides the best mix of value and result. 

Replacing the cabinets entirely costs anywhere from $1,800 to $9,000 or an average of $5,400, or $13,000 to $30,000 for customization. Resurfacing costs can vary widely, ranging from $6,000 to $13,000.

  1. Take all drawers out and remove the doors from cabinets and cupboards. Remove the hardware and label it so that you’ll be able to put it back together when the paint is dry. 

  2. Clean your cabinet surfaces thoroughly to remove any build-up of grease, dirt, or stains. 

  3. Sand, scrape, and/or degloss the surface to completely remove the old paint or stain. 

  4. Prime the cabinets and let dry completely. 

  5. Paint the cabinets. You may need two or more coats in order to achieve the fresh, uniform look you want. 

  6. After the paint dries, put it all back together with doors and hardware.

What other projects should I do at the same time?

While your painting pros might need the entire kitchen space to complete their work, you might want to explore completing other kitchen jobs at or near the same time in order to minimize household disruption. 

For example, you may want to hire a professional near you to repair or replace the kitchen floor. Or you may want to take advantage of the existing paint project to tackle painting other rooms, either by your contractor or on a DIY basis.

What kind of paint should I use on my kitchen cabinets?

For most kitchen cabinet painting projects, you’ll want to select a finish that’s gloss, semi-gloss, or satin. These paint finishes will usually produce a fresh, modern look that appeals to most homeowners. Avoid matte paints, which are generally tougher to clean in a high-traffic area like your kitchen where spills and the residue from cooking can quickly accumulate.

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