Staining your kitchen cabinets is an easy, inexpensive method for turning a worn, outdated kitchen into something beautiful and warm and modern. With the right stain, a sander and a rag, your kitchen cabinets can be transformed in days.

There are quite a few pros and cons to staining your cabinets. Obviously, a major benefit to staining them is the natural beauty that is showcased in the wood grain. Stain holds a good balance between color and texture. This is a big plus for homeowners. Unlike paint, stain won’t steal the spotlight from your wood’s natural character. Since stain is thinner than paint, it seeps into the wood’s surface, which adds to the woods distinctive features and doesn’t take away from it.

Depending on the type of wood that your cabinets are made of, the patterns in the wood grain can be amazing. There is not a lot of touch up to stained cabinets as you would with paint. When you do have to touch them up, it is easy to blend in with the older stain. There are touch-up markers for stains that are easy to find and resemble your stain. The touch-ups tend to blend better on stained cabinets, especially the ones with a lot of grain.

Ultimately, the cost hinges on several factors, like kitchen size, cabinet construction, manufacturer and so on. But stains tend to keep costs on the lower side, which is a huge benefit if you are trying to stay within a budget or even flipping the house. Stain generally costs less than paint, although customized options can tend to be more expensive. 

So what happens if your cabinets are not solid wood but made from medium-density fiberboard (MDF)? The short answer – stain will not look as good as paint. MDF cabinets can offer huge savings but simply doesn’t take stain as well as paint. Imperfections are not hidden when you stain your cabinets like they would be if you painted them. 

Stain also shows any blemishes that your cabinets or wood have. Some may refer to this as the woods character, some don’t want to see the imperfections, like uneven grain distributions and inconsistencies with color. Stains can take a back seat to the wood when applied, which allows every distinct feature to show through – which can be for better or worse.