How much does it cost to repaint kitchen cabinets? Everything you need to know

Let's keep that budget in check...

Kitchen with turquoise painted cabinetry and island and Crittal style doors
(Image credit: Future PLC/Brent Darby)

Let's face it - the kitchen isn't exactly cheap to redesign or redecorate, which is why we like to get budgeting before beginning. One thing which seems to stump people is what the cost to repaint kitchen cabinets will be. After all, how much paint do you even need? And is it even worth doing at all?

As we find with most kitchen paint ideas there are a few overarching questions we all have. How much paint do you even need? Is it even worth doing at all? Fret not, we've spoken to the experts to get your queries answered.

Let's take it right back to the beginning, and work out what you need to budget for with painting cabinetry.

'After choosing your kitchen cabinetry’s new tones, you just need to plan how much paint you need and include appropriate tools - like paintbrushes, painter's tape, primer - in your budget,' advises Charlotte Radford, Senior Product Manager, Valspar

'There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through a decorating project and realising you haven’t got enough paint. By calculating how much you need beforehand, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and effort.'

How much does it cost to repaint kitchen cabinets?

Kitchen with duck egg blue painted cabinets, marble splashback and exposed brick wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

The biggest question of it all - the cost to repaint kitchen cabinets. And, unfortunately one which can only be answered by asking even more questions.

'This is impossible to answer!,' says Helen Shaw, Director, Benjamin Moore UK. 'There are so many variables, including which paint you choose to use, if you prime first, and how many coats you apply. And, of course, the size of your kitchen will greatly affect the end cost.'

'This does depend on the size of your kitchen,' agrees Anna Hill, Brand Director, Fenwick & Tilbrook. 'But we would estimate that it costs an average of £6 per painted square metre based on two coats using our Interior Eggshell on a preprimed or virgin wood surface.'

Now, let's rewind and work out what type of paints we should be looking at.

What kind of paint is best for kitchen cabinets?

Close up of cabinets in neutral grey kitchen

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Parmiter)

First of all, steer clear of the fully matte shades in your kitchen cabinet repainting. 'A matte paint would not be suitable in the kitchen or any area where children or pets are running through,' advises Justyna Korczynska, Colour Consultant, Crown.

'Kitchen cabinets and islands work incredibly hard and are subject to the bumps and scrapes of a busy household, so it is important that your chosen product is up to the job,' elaborates Helen from Benjamin Moore.

'Preparation is also very important when it comes to durability. Take time to do the job properly. In terms of finishes, eggshell is one of the most popular, offering low levels of sheen for a smart contemporary finish.'

'Satin finishes are durable enough to wipe away finger marks or stains to ensure a long lasting and fresh look. If you prefer a more reflective finish opt for a semi-gloss or gloss paint.'

How do you work out how much paint you need for kitchen cabinets?

Kitchen with dark grey cabinetry, parquet wooden flooring, bar stools and exposed brick wall

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Now you've worked out which paint you want to purchase, it's time to figure out how much you need before you can get started with how to paint kitchen cabinets.

'You’ll need to measure the area you are painting in order to work out how much paint you need,' explains Helen from Benjamin Moore.

'Measure the width of each area and then multiply it by the height of the same area. This will give you a m2 figure. If you have lots of cabinets that are all the same, then multiply this first m2 amount by the number of cabinets you have. Finally, double the overall m2 total to account for applying two coats.'

'It's also useful to bear in mind that the amount of paint you’ll need is also influenced by the number of coats you’re applying to your cabinets,' adds Charlotte from Valspar. 'This is affected by the original colour or surface you are painting over, particularly if you’re planning to cover a dark colour with a lighter one. We recommend using two coats for deep and full colour and multiplying your square metres by two (as per the number of coats you are applying).'

'Once you’ve worked out the amount of paint you need to decorate, don’t forget to account for touch ups or ‘just in case’ scenarios.'

And the amount of paint can also depend on the colour you've chosen. 'If you are painting from dark to light or using a bright yellow or red, you may require a third coat,' points out Anna from Fenwick & Tilbrook.

Is it better to repaint or replace kitchen cabinets?

Kitchen with turquoise painted cabinetry and island and Crittal style doors

(Image credit: Future PLC/Brent Darby)

So is it even worth working the cost to repaint cabinets out, or is simply replacing them a better option?

'Painting kitchen cabinets is a budget-friendly way to modernise your space without the cost and stress of a full remodel,' advises Charlotte from Valspar.

'Paint is a fantastic, low-cost way to update your kitchen,' agrees Helen from Benjamin Moore. 'Cabinets can be painted in a bold, statement colour to renew the look of old woodwork and create a focal hue for the rest of the room to be styled around.'

'If your cabinets are still in good condition then it always makes more sense to repaint as it is more affordable and also better for the environment,' adds Anna from Fenwick & Tilbrook. 'Add new cabinet knobs to finish the look.'

Do painted kitchen cabinets hold up?

Close up of blue cabinetry and cream AGA

(Image credit: Future PLC)

In a word - yes. 'Trends tend to move slowly for kitchens, given the time and investment required,' explains Helen from Benjamin Moore.

There are also basically no limits for what colours you could be going for. 'Classic white cabinetry remains a popular choice for those looking for a versatile finish,' notes Helen. 'However, don’t be put off by colour. Green and blue shades are increasingly fashionable, with everything from subtle, light tones such as sage greens all the way through to richly pigmented deep navy tones.'

How long should it take to paint kitchen cabinets?

Kitchen with grey cabinets, blue island and patterned tile splashback

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Again, this can be a rather 'how long is a piece of string' answer. This is mostly due to the size of the room, how many cabinets you're looking at and how many coats you want.

That said, unlike what most people think, it's not exactly a weekend job. Once you take the proper steps to prepare the space, get everything sorted, and leave time for undercoats and layers to try, you could be looking up to between 3 and 5 days to completely repaint kitchen cabinets.

Thea Babington-Stitt
Managing Editor

Thea Babington-Stitt is the Managing Editor for Ideal Home. Thea has been working across some of the UK’s leading interiors titles for around 10 years.

She started working on these magazines and websites after graduating from City University London with a Masters in Magazine Journalism. Before moving to Ideal Home, Thea was News and Features Editor at Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc and Country Homes & Interiors.