It’s where family and friends gather to cook and eat a meal together, do homework or crafts, and touch base with each other. It’s a well-loved, well-used, room. So, what do you do when it starts to look a little run down? Are you feeling like your kitchen could use a make-over, but you don’t want to break the budget?

Thankfully, there’s an easy solution! You don’t have to remodel the entire kitchen to update it. Instead, consider either painting or staining your wood cabinets for a fresh look. You get to enjoy the beauty of it for years to come, but if you ever decide to sell your home, a renovated kitchen plays a factor in increasing your home’s value.

Decisions, Decisions

It might be a hard decision to make: paint or stain. A good place to start is to find out what kind of wood you have. If the wood is plywood or poplar, painting them would make sense. Keep in mind paint will crack if the house temperature is not at a certain level. Another thing to consider is your overall style and taste. If you like the rustic look, staining would be a good choice.

Prep Work

Regardless of whether you paint or stain, you will need to do some prep work.

  1. Clean the cabinets.
    If you think about how often the cabinets get touched, you’ll be happy you did a deep clean. Regular cleaning of the kitchen cabinets can easily get overlooked in daily cleaning patterns, which creates a build-up. The surface of the wood needs to be free of any oil or grease. Remove the cabinets and scrub all surfaces with a degreaser then scrub down the face frames and cabinet boxes that are attached to the wall. It’s the best way to make sure the paint or stain adheres.
  2. Sand them down.
    You want to remove the finish so you’re starting out with fresh wood. A hand sander will do the trick. You’ll know the finish is removed because the sheen will be gone from the wood. Afterward, use your vacuum’s tools to remove any dust, followed by rubbing the wood down with a cloth or a clean, dry paintbrush. Push the bristles into the corners to remove as much dust as possible.
  3. Drying space
    You don’t want to get your cabinet painted or stained without having a place to allow them to dry. Set up a dry, dust-free space to hang your cabinets. Screw hooks onto the edge of your cabinets (the non-visible side; the tops of upper cabinets or the bottom of lower ones). Using ladders as supports, you can thread a piece of wood with hooks on them between the rungs and hang the cabinet doors there to dry.


Hold on! Before we talk about paint, we have to talk about the primer. Do not skip this step if your paint does not have it in it. Primer prevents flaking and chipping and helps the paint adhere. If you think of the abuse your kitchen cabinets take, it’s worth the extra time. Otherwise, you might be going through this process again a lot sooner than you thought.

Paint is a fantastic way to give your kitchen a sleek, flawlessly smooth finish. The thickness of it covers knots and grains of the wood, making color the primary focus of the kitchen. Paint hides flaws but does require touch-ups, so make sure you have extra paint on hand so you don’t have to color match later. Applying the paint with a spray gun is recommended to keep an even and uniform look. You can use a paintbrush, but the results will be uneven.


While paint covers wood, stain brings out the color and imperfections. Red Oak, Chestnut, and Ash are popular choices because of texture and the natural impressions of the wood itself. Staining usually gives a washed-out look and is meant to enhance not cover, so the color of the wood will affect the overall final color.

Better Safe than Sorry

It can get costly buying the tools and supplies you need to complete this project. If you get the wrong weight sandpaper or accidentally drop a door before it’s dry then the cost can go up. It’s better to let the professionals handle it.

At The Painting Company, we take pride in all that we do. Our professional staff is held to a high standard of quality in Arizona and Nevada. From our initial contact with your free residential quote to making sure the work area is in clean condition, we want to make sure that you get what you need at a price you can afford.

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