Professional painters can freshen up kitchen cabinets with paint at a fraction of the cost of installing new cabinets. Solid-color cabinets, for example, particularly in shades of gray, are a hot design trend these days. Another option is to paint the upper and lower cabinets different colors (one lighter, one darker) or to paint the cabinets in the kitchen island a different color from all the rest. Requesting more than one paint color will increase the final cost because the painter will have to purchase more supplies. Various other factors affect the cost of hiring a pro to paint kitchen cabinets.
Kitchen size and linear feet of cabinets
The size of the kitchen generally dictates the number of linear feet of cabinets that need to be painted. Some paint contractors charge by the linear foot—anywhere from $30–$60—while others charge per cabinet box, door, drawer face, etc. Prices for having kitchen cabinets painted professionally can range from $1,200 to $7,000, with additional costs for better paint quality and other variables.
Cabinet design and layout
The existing layout of a kitchen or other cabinetry can add complexity to a paint job. Tight angles, cabinets installed in corners that have double hinged doors and other constricted spaces can make it difficult for painters to get to cabinet doors or drawer faces to paint them without knocking against other surfaces. Some painters will charge extra for tricky or tight layouts if have to remove doors to paint them outside or in another location and reattach them later.
Terry Gardner, owner of Southern Cal Colors in Gardena, California, offers interior painting services, including repainting cabinets. He says that, in some cases, it takes more time to prepare a client’s existing cabinets to be painted than to actually paint them. Preparation may include cleaning, sanding, patching and minor repairs—all of which adds to the overall cost. Gardner also applies a primer coat to all surfaces to be painted. He says he typically charges about $900 to repaint cabinets in a small to medium-size kitchen. Gardner also recommends that cabinets get at least two coats of paint after the primer, especially when using water-based (acrylic or latex) paint.
Spray in place
Chris Botta, owner of Affordable Cabinet Refinishing in Phoenix, Arizona, typically charges $38 per linear foot of cabinetry for painting and has developed a way to paint clients’ cabinets in place rather than removing all hardware, cabinet doors and drawer faces. He also offers different refinishing options. Southern Cal Colors owner Gardner sprays in place, too, when he can, though it is sometimes necessary to remove some doors and drawer faces to apply primer and paint, especially in smaller kitchens with less room to maneuver.
Spray, roll and paint with doors removed
If spraying in place is not an option, the professional painter will likely use a combination of spraying, rolling and brushing the cabinet boxes, removing doors and drawer faces and spraying them outdoors or in other space, such as a garage. Painting cabinets with the doors removed costs $2,000–$8,000, depending on the size of the kitchen, the amount of detail work and the paint quality.
Using higher-quality paint (or just a more expensive brand) can add a few hundred dollars to the total cost. It’s a good idea to consult with a professional painter about the wear and tear the cabinets will need to withstand. Most pros can then advise accordingly on the best finish and quality of paint.