Costs to Paint Kitchen Cabinets: DIY vs Hiring Professional Painters

Last updated: December 20, 2019

Whether they’re in your kitchen, your bathroom, or your laundry room, cabinets can really help set the atmosphere. That’s why it’s important to keep them looking trendy and new. If your cabinets are in need of a makeover, chances are you’ve been considering a fresh coat (or two) of paint.

Before getting started, you’ll need to know the costs of having your cabinets painted and how choosing to DIY your project or hire professionals will have an affect on how much you spend. This article will help you make some important decisions by addressing the following topics:

Before we dive into how much it can cost to have your cabinets painted, let’s learn why painting cabinets is more difficult than you would think.

Challenges of painting kitchen cabinets

Painting your cabinets isn’t as easy as grabbing a brush and slapping on a coat of paint. There happens to be a fair amount of challenges that could arise before you can actually start painting. Here are some things to consider beforehand.

  • Dismantling the room – In order to get the most precise paint job, cabinets will need to have their doors, handles, and hinges removed for full access to all surfaces. This means a lot of deconstruction and reconstruction of the room.
  • Removing appliances, accessories, and food – Whether you’re painting your bathroom or kitchen cabinets, you will likely have to remove a lot of items in the room and store them until your project is complete. This is to make sure the paint job is as precise as possible while making sure paint stays off items where it doesn’t belong, including your sink, stove, mirror, fridge, and more.
  • Where to paint your cabinets – When painting cabinets, it’s best to remove their doors and paint them separately, which means you’ll have to find a place to paint them and let them dry. Don’t be surprised if your kitchen table or the floor become your new workspace.
  • Differences in paintwork – If you think painting your cabinets will be as easy as the walls, think again. In order to look their best, cabinets require a smaller brush and different technique, especially if they’re paneled. Regardless of whether they’re your kitchen cabinets or bathroom cupboards, expect to dedicate a little more time and money.
Kitchen cabinets surrounding stove against a brick backsplash

Repainting vs. refacing cabinets

If you’re thinking about changing the look of your cabinets, there are actually other options besides repainting them. Many people who wish to do renovations on their home have turned to refacing to give their cabinets a sleek and modern look. However, refacing your cabinets as opposed to painting them comes with a lot of differences.

When repainting your cabinets, you’re just applying primer and paint to them in order to improve their look. Refacing your cabinets involves using a thin layer of wood or plastic to cover the exposed frames of the cabinets and then replacing the door, hinges, knobs, etc. in order to create a brand new look.

If you’re considering refacing your cabinets as an option, here are some things to note:

  • Will cost more than painting but less than replacing your cabinets
  • Less hassle and a greener solution than tearing out your old cabinets
  • Quick and simple process, but a little more work than painting
  • Great solution for a new look if you’re happy with the current layout of the room
  • Easy to continue using your kitchen during the process
  • Not a viable solution if the room has construction issues or if you are looking to do a renovation
  • If you want to use high-end veneers or hardware, you will spend more money

Cost of repainting cabinets vs. refacing

One of the biggest deciding factors of whether to reface or repaint your cabinets will likely be the costs of each. The cost of painting your kitchen cabinets can cost anywhere from $1200 to $6000 while the cost of refacing them will likely be within the higher end of $1000 to $9000. The costs will be determined based on the requirements of the project. These are the things that will end up having the biggest effect on your final costs.

Painting Cabinets

Refacing Cabinets

Things that affect the cost

  • Type of paint used
  • Type of primer used
  • Supplies needed to complete the job
  • Labour
  • Laminate vs wood vs high quality wood
  • Quality of the new hardware (hinges, knobs, handles)
  • Supplies needed to complete the job
  • Labour

Calculating kitchen cabinet paint cost

If you’ve made the decision to paint your kitchen cabinets, you likely want to know how much the paint is going to cost. In order to know the cost of painting your cabinets beforehand, you’ll have to know the right way to measure them. Here are the steps to calculating the cost to paint kitchen cabinets per square foot.

  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.
A closeup of white measuring tape along a white surface

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

Deciding to paint your cabinets on your own can sound fun and even comes with perks. However, there are a few potential downsides to painting on your own. Here are the pros and cons of D.I.Y. painting your cabinets.


  • Costs less than hiring professional painters
  • You have complete control over the project, including what paint is used and what you do with it


  • You’ll end up spending more over time if the project isn’t done correctly
  • Unless you have a background in painting, you might lack some skill sets required to do a quality job
  • Having to purchase your own materials will add to your costs

These are the things to consider before you begin the process on your own.

  • Removal of accessories – Handles, hinges, and other accessories will need to be removed or taped to make sure cabinets are painted properly.
  • Cleaning – For a high-quality finish, you will need to clean the cabinet surface you are painting prior to painting.
  • Taping – To keep lines clean and edges safe from paint where you don’t want it, you can use painter’s tape.
  • Choosing paint – The primer and paint you use is one of the main choices you’ll need to make. This will include the brand, type, quality, and sheen.
  • Stress – As a beginner, there will naturally be some anxiety and stress involved with the project. Be forgiving with yourself as you attempt to get the job done to your standards.
  • Family living – Remember that despite this being your work zone, it’s also where you and your family live. Consider the personal life adjustments you’ll have to make while you’re doing this job.

Cost to D.I.Y. paint cabinets

When figuring out the cost to paint your cabinets D.I.Y., a lot of different factors can affect how much you’ll need to spend. It can cost between $382 to $1,064 with an average of $697 being spent on kitchen cabinets. If you’re needing to invest in supplies, expect to spend anywhere between $200 and $600. Supply costs tend to be what lead many people to consider the professional painter route.

A person holding dollar bills in their hands

How much it costs to have cabinets professionally painted

So what exactly is the difference in the cost of painting your cabinets D.I.Y. vs the costs of having your cabinets professionally painted? It all comes down to the additional offerings that increase the cost, which can be easily explained in the case of painting kitchen cabinets. These are the things that will affect the costs of professionally painting your kitchen cabinets.

  • Square footage – 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.
  • Paint type – This plays a factor no matter the route you take, but a professional painter will likely insist on a higher quality paint. If you’re having your kitchen cabinets painted, it’s likely that they’ll recommend you use a fire retardant paint.
  • Condition of the cabinets – Prep work will be worked into the cost, so you might spend more depending on the state of your kitchen cabinets.
  • Layout – If your kitchen has a difficult design that requires more work in order to properly paint the cabinets, you will likely be charged for the additional time spent.
  • Where you live – The city that you live in can have a big impact on the cost, as pricier areas tend to result in many contractors charging more.
  • Removal of appliances – Professional painters will remove any relevant appliances as part of their prep work, but it will result in additional labour costs.

Should I have my cabinets professionally painted?

If you’re feeling anxious about painting your cabinets yourself, you might want to consider having them professionally painted. Professional painters have the skills and expertise to get the job done as quickly as possible, while making sure the final result is one you’ll be happy with.

Here are some benefits of hiring professionals.

  • They’ll give you quality results that look great
  • They are trained to spot structural defects before they begin painting (saving you from lots of grief later)
  • They are familiar with colours and patterns and can offer great advice on what paints to use
  • They’re trained in safety, reducing the risk of an accident in your home
  • They can conduct surface preparations before beginning to paint
  • They can complete the project in a timely manner
  • They will make sure their final results are clean and long lasting
  • There will be reduced stress on your part

Choosing the right painting professional for the job

If you want to have your cabinets professionally painted, you will want to pick a trustworthy, efficient contractor. When choosing, here are some things to consider:

  • They have a great portfolio
  • They offer a warranty on labour and materials
  • They are bonded and insured
  • 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

Good painters will also do most or all of the following.

  • Preparing cabinets before beginning to paint
  • Mix, match, and apply paints and finishes
  • Provide decorative and faux finishes
  • Planning and prep work
  • Move furniture and equipment as necessary
  • Calculate the amount of materials and time required
  • Remove fixtures
  • Taping off areas
  • Choose and purchase paint, brushes, and supplies
  • Quote and negotiate job prices
  • Clean up supplies and replace fixtures following completion
  • Communicate to keep you updated on the progress

Now that you have the facts, it’s time to decide how much you’re willing to spend on painting your cabinets. 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!