The Real Cost to Paint Kitchen Walls & Cabinets (DIY or Professionals)

Last updated: December 20, 2019

A bright, white kitchen

Since it’s the room typically used for cooking, dining, and gathering, you probably want to make sure your kitchen continues to look inviting over time. As trends change, more and more people have been upgrading their kitchen with nothing more than fresh coats of paint. Whether you’re upgrading to a modern look or just want to freshen up your kitchen, there’s plenty to think about before beginning your next paint job.

There’s a lot to plan before you get started, including whether you turn it into your next D.I.Y. project or you go ahead and hire a contractor. This article will help you get started by discussing the following topics:

Before we get into choosing between the D.I.Y. route or hiring someone to paint your kitchen, let’s review what it typically costs to paint this important part of your home!

Cost to paint kitchen walls

If you’re thinking about painting your kitchen, chances are the walls will be a big part of that project. The walls alone will cost between $155 and $320, depending on the square footage, the type of paint used, and any potential labor. Painters usually quote projects by job rather than by square foot. However, one of the key inputs to the job cost calculation is the size of surfaces to be painted, which is commonly assessed by square footage.

In order to save on costs using the DIY route, you’ll want to make sure the walls have been accurately measured with the proper amount of paint and primer purchased. Measuring the kitchen walls, however, can be slightly trickier than other rooms in the house. Here are some things to consider when measuring the walls.

  • Appliances – Can the appliances in your kitchen be removed? If yes, you’ll want to make sure you do this for a more precise paint job and for less of a mess. Either way, you’ll want to make sure to subtract the square footage of the appliances from that of your walls when calculating the area to be painted.
  • Cabinets and cupboards – You’ll likely have some cabinets along your walls. Make sure to not include these in the measurements of your walls so that you don’t waste money.
  • Textures and backsplash – If part of your paint project includes the backsplash or textured walls, this will need to be noted. These additional features will take more time, and paint and will cost you more.
  • Trim, baseboards, doors, and windows – Chances are your kitchen walls will have one or all of these things. If they do, make sure to collect separate measurements and subtract their square footage from that of your walls. Trim, doors, etc. will be painted separately from the walls.
Pans hanging over counter along the kitchen wall

How painting your kitchen is different than other rooms

Most rooms in your home allow for endless possibilities when it comes to painting. Your kitchen, on the other hand, requires that you think long and hard about the type of paint you use. Not only is the kitchen one of the most high-traffic areas of your home, but lots of activities happen that can have an effect on the state of your walls.

Here are some things to consider before painting your kitchen.

  • Base of paint used previously – Before starting any project, it’s important to know the base of the paint – oil or latex – used to previously paint the kitchen. If you paint with a latex-based paint over top of an oil-based paint, the paint will peel and chip.
  • Desired look – Different types of paint will leave your walls with a different look. If you’re wanting the walls to have a matte look, you’ll want a paint with a satin or eggshell gloss. However, if you want a bit more shine, semi-gloss paint will do the trick.
  • Water – If your kitchen sink is against the wall, you might want to look into a paint that can handle being splashed once in a while. Oil-based paints are popular for these purposes.
  • Food stains – Your kitchen is the place where meals are made, so you’re walls are going to get dirty. The glossier the paint, the better! Paints with a higher gloss, such as satin or semi-gloss, allow for more scrubbability without damage.
  • Wear and tear – Like all things in your home, your kitchen walls are susceptible to damage over time. While you might feel tempted to pick out a cheaper paint, purchasing high quality paints from well-known brands are the way to go. These paints, although pricier, will be much stronger and able to stand the test of time.

How to calculate the cost to paint kitchen cabinets

Changing up your cabinets are a great way to bring new life to your kitchen. Painting them as opposed to replacing them will definitely save you money, but still be prepared to pay up. The average cost to paint your kitchen cabinets can be anywhere between $200 to $1000, depending on square footage, selected paint, and potential labour.

In order to make sure you don’t spend more money or time than needed, it’s important to properly measure your cabinets in order to purchase the correct amount of paint and not waste time. Here are the steps to measuring your kitchen cabinets and calculating the cost to paint them.

  1. Select a side to begin with.
  2. Measure the height of the cabinet (from top edge to bottom edge) with your preferred measuring tool. Record the number.
  3. Measure the width of the cabinet (from left edge to right edge) with your preferred measuring tool. Record the number.
  4. Multiply the height by the width to get the square footage.
  5. Repeat steps for the remaining accessible sides.
  6. Add all the numbers together to get the total square footage for the cabinet.
  7. Repeat all steps for additional cabinets you wish to have painted.
  8. If you want to calculate how much paint you need, divide the total number of square footage by 400 (the square footage a one gallon can of paint can cover). The answer is the amount of paint cans you’ll need to purchase.
  9. Multiply the number of cans needed by the cost of your selected paint.

Difficulties of painting kitchen cabinets

Although they have less square footage than your walls, painting your kitchen cabinets can require a bit more work. These are some things to note before beginning:

  • Cabinet doors – In order to get the most precise paint job, it’s recommended to remove the cabinet doors from the cabinet and paint both parts separately.
  • Hinges and handles – Like the cabinet doors, you might also want to consider removing the hinges, doorknobs, and handles. This will ensure that the painting is more precise and allow for a quality paint job by keeping paint away from the parts of the cabinet you don’t wish to paint.
  • Panels – Cabinets with panels look great, but they can create more work. Even though it’s all the same colour, panels are often painted on their own and with different brushes to create a high quality appearance.
  • Matching appliances – You might have a great paint in mind, but you will want to think about how it will look next to your appliances. If possible, you consider painting them as well.
A full view of a kitchen with plenty of cabinets and appliances

Cost to paint per kitchen cabinet

The cost to paint your cabinets is calculated by the total square footage of all the cabinets, which on average will cost $3 to $10 per square foot. If you’re hiring professional help, there will be an additional $75 to $150 per cabinet.

Where the price really begins to increase is dependent on what else needs to be purchased in order for the job to be completed. It’s likely that you will also need to purchase primer, which is important in helping to make sure your paint job is long-lasting and looks great. Additional costs can come from the supplies and potential labour (ie. sanding, spraying, etc.).

How much it costs to paint kitchen cabinets D.I.Y.

If you’re choosing to go the D.I.Y. route, calculating the cost to paint your kitchen cabinets can be a little intimidating. Just remember to start by measuring the square footage of your cabinets. The total amount of square footage of your cabinets will provide you with a good starting point for calculating the cost.

From there, you’ll be able to calculate how many gallons of paint and primer will be needed. This is also a good time to think about what tools you need to do the job yourself, which can add up to an additional $200 to $600, and if other surfaces around your cabinets will need their own paint jobs (i.e. trim, backsplash, appliances, etc.).

Should I D.I.Y. paint my kitchen?

Deciding whether or not to paint your kitchen yourself depends on how much time and effort you are willing to put in and the reasons why you’re choosing to paint in the first place. Some things you should consider are how long it will take, how stressful it will be, how much preparation is needed, and how perfect you want it to be.

Work involved in D.I.Y. kitchen painting

Painting your kitchen might sound simple enough, but there’s more to consider than you might realize. These are the things to consider before you begin the process on your own.

  • Removal of kitchen accessories – Most items, such as appliances, tables, chairs will need to be removed from the kitchen to keep these items clean and to ensure an accurate paint job.
  • Wall cleaning – For the best finished result, you will want to clean the wall before you paint. Buy good cleaning supplies so the paint will last longer with less wear and tear.
  • Taping – You will want to tape objects and edges that you don’t want to paint, ensuring you have smooth lines. This will also save on clean up.
  • Choosing paint – There are many paint types to choose from, with different finishes and looks. This will require getting the right primer, quality, and sheen of painting materials.
  • Stress – All D.I.Y. jobs are stressful and challenging for beginners. Take things slow, give yourself time, and be prepared to make adjustments (as you won’t always get it perfect the first time).
  • Family living – The kitchen is a busy area and receives a lot of use; it’s also an essential part of living. Going without the kitchen will be challenging, and you’ll have to prepare ahead of time.
A person pouring a can of white paint into a paint tray

Key things to consider when D.I.Y. painting your kitchen

Before starting any D.I.Y. project, it’s best to set realistic expectations. Here are some questions you can ask to determine if this is the right direction for you.

Do you really have the time?

Do it yourself projects are more time-consuming and challenging than a professional job. Without the experience, it will take more time to complete and it will likely not be flawless on your first attempt. If you go into it with a positive mindset and are prepared to handle these setbacks, a D.I.Y. project might be right for you.

Be realistic about your timeline and objectives. While you may expect to paint your kitchen in a day, this is not likely to be the reality. Determine how long it will take, leaving yourself wiggle room in case you run into problems. If you don’t think you can go a long time without having access to a functioning kitchen, you may want to hire professional painters.

Have you painted before and what level of quality are you looking for?

Those willing to accept small imperfections and with experience doing D.I.Y. projects may be able to paint the kitchen for themselves. If you are particular about the finished results and unwilling to address the problems that could arise from a D.I.Y. project, you should likely hire a professional team.

Can you make the necessary investment in equipment?

When people consider painting themselves, they often forget about the added costs of equipment. Painting requires specialized tools and materials above the cost of paint, which will be included in costs from professional painters. If you choose to do it yourself, you will need the following:

  • Paint and primer – These are the obvious basics. Although primer may not be needed, it is usually recommended. The quality, sheen, and colour of the paint will impact costs.
  • Equipment – Painting requires special tools, such as one (or multiple) brush(es), tape, sandpaper, a bucket, and sometimes more.
  • Gas and time driving – While these costs may seem minimal, the more you need to go back to the store to make repairs, the more this will go up. With professionals, you don’t have to worry about these added fees.

Do you need professional advice when it comes to colours and other things?

Even if you decide to paint yourself, you may not know the best paint types to use or the colours that suit your home. You may need to consult with a professional painter before doing a D.I.Y. painting project to make sure you do it right and have considered everything.

What about improvements and enhancements?

Does your kitchen need more than just paint? Renovating can be a big job, and it is often a good idea to do all the renovations you intend to do at once. Repairing wall damages can cost $40 – $45 an hour, replacing cabinets can cost thousands, and removing mold can be more than $500.

However, failing to do this before you paint can lead to more repairs and upgrades needed down the road. Make sure you fully consider all updates that need to be done and plan the right order to do the work.

Should I hire professional kitchen painters?

If you go the professional painter route, you will want to select a reliable, high-quality contractor. When choosing, here are some things to think about:

  • They have a great portfolio
  • They offer a warranty on labour and materials
  • They are bonded and insured (see our homepage for an example)
  • They have excellent ratings on HomeGuide & Google
  • They don’t ask for a large down payment
  • They include setup and complete cleanup costs in the quote
  • They provide excellent communication from your first phone call or email

Steps for getting an accurate kitchen painting quote

To get a clear, accurate quote from the professional team you hire, here are some things to consider when looking.

1. Make a list of everything you’re painting

If you’re painting all walls, one wall, or just some surfaces, be sure to provide a list of all aspects you’ll be painting.

2. Measure everything

Consider all the surfaces that may need to be painted and measure each separately. This way, it’s easy to change your mind about painting certain sections and isolate the costs for different things.

3. Decide what primer and paint you’ll be using

One of the most basic things you’ll need to do for painting is choose the paint and primer. Costs will vary across types, brands, and even colours. Costs are also always relative to the square footage you are painting.

4. Call a professional painter

Professional painters are always available for consultation and a cost breakdown. If you want help with this, call City Painters or one of the local businesses in your area.

A person marking the trim along the floor

The bottom line: ranges of kitchen painting costs

There are many things to weigh when figuring out the best way to paint your kitchen. Deciding between a D.I.Y. or professional project depends on how much time you are willing to take for the renovation and the investment you wish to make.

The D.I.Y. route: $155-$320

If you choose to paint the room yourself, you will also need to determine costs yourself. A 10’ x 10’ room with a square footage of 150 feet will likely cost between $155-$320 on the wall paint alone. More importantly, the costs you save in money will likely be balanced by the amount of time the job will take, as you lack the experience of a pro, need to do each step yourself (and learn as you go), and work this around your work and personal schedules.

Hiring professional painters: $175-495

Professional painters will mean added costs, but will save you time, effort, and likely to a higher quality job. Labour costs can range from $175 to $495. When you add the costs of materials like paint (another $150 to $350), you are looking at a final estimate between $325 and $845. However, this will save you time, stress, and result in a professional-quality finish.

Have you made your decision?

Now that you have the facts, it’s time to decide how much you’re willing to spend on painting your kitchen. If you decide on the professional route, the City Painters is here for you. Contact us here or give us a call to get a quote for your project!