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Painting vs. Replacing Kitchen Cabinets: A Tale of Two Kitchens

When my spouse and I bought our first home, we faced a common dilemma: our kitchen needed an update, but our budget was tight. Replacing the cabinets wasn't an option, so we rolled up our sleeves and got creative with paint. Now, two years later, with another kitchen remodel under my belt where I chose replacement over paint, I want to share my experiences of painting versus replacing kitchen cabinetry.


Our First Kitchen Remodel - Choosing Paint Over Replacement

We inherited oak cabinets that were sturdy but dated. Replacing them was out of the question, financially speaking. So, inspired by countless DIY shows and articles, we decided to paint them. I chose a soft grey color, complemented by gold hinges, a matching gold faucet, and chic gold pulls. The transformation was remarkable. The once-drab kitchen was now a vision of modern elegance.


To ensure a smooth finish, despite the deep wood grain of the oak, we followed a meticulous process. The cabinets were degreased, sanded, primed, painted, and finally sealed. Being in construction, I knew the importance of each step.


The Test of Time - How Our Painted Cabinets Fared

Fast forward two years, and it's time for an honest review. Although initially beautiful, the paint didn't remain pristine. High-traffic areas suffered the most - drawers and doors began showing signs of wear, with small chips revealing the wood underneath. It was a bit disheartening to see our hard work showing signs of age.


Despite our best efforts and professional-grade preparation, the painted surfaces couldn't withstand the daily demands of a bustling kitchen. This experience taught me a valuable lesson about the durability of painted cabinetry, especially in high-use areas.


Our Second Home - Choosing Replacement Over Paint

For our second home, I decided to replace the kitchen cabinets. This decision was influenced by our previous experience and a desire for a more customized look. We opted for a two-toned design with elegant shaker-style cabinets - grey for the base and white for the upper cabinets.


The process was significantly different from painting. Replacing the cabinets allowed us to completely transform the layout and feel of the kitchen. We complemented the cabinetry with the sleek, bespoke Samsung kitchen appliance package in white glass. And my personal favorite: a dedicated coffee bar area, making the space uniquely ours.


The Final Verdict

So, which is better? Painting or replacing? It depends on your circumstances. If you're on a tight budget and willing to put in the effort, painting can breathe new life into old cabinets. But be prepared for potential wear and tear over time. On the other hand, if you're looking for a long-term solution and have the budget, replacing the cabinets offers durability and customization that painting can't match.



Every kitchen has its story, and each remodel comes with its lessons. Our first kitchen taught us about hard work and the transformative power of paint. Our second kitchen showed us the impact of custom cabinetry. Whichever path you choose for your kitchen remodel, remember that both options can lead to a beautiful, functional space that feels like home.

By A'mia Michele






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