Home improvement has many options, but when it comes to kitchen cabinets, homeowners often wonder about “cabinet refinishing vs refacing.” In this guide, we’ll explore each method’s differences, costs, and benefits, helping you make an informed decision for your kitchen.

What is the difference between Cabinet Refinishing and Cabinet Refacing?

Cabinet Refinishing: Refinishing revolves around working with your existing cabinets. Cabinets, especially those made of quality wood, can accumulate wear and tear over the years. Refinishing involves sanding down these cabinets, whether they’re wood cabinets or other materials, to remove the old finish. Once they’re prepared, a fresh stain or paint is applied, giving them a rejuvenated appearance. This process brings out the natural beauty of wood; if you have painted cabinets, it can provide a fresh and vibrant color. Essentially, you’re updating the style of your cabinets without altering their basic structure.

Cabinet Refacing: Refacing offers a more extensive transformation. If your current existing cabinets have a design that feels outdated or their structure is compromised, refacing becomes a viable option. Here, you replace the old cabinet doors and drawer fronts with brand-new cabinet doors, often featuring a new door style that better suits your current design preferences. The cabinets’ skeleton or main structure remains unchanged, but your kitchen’s look and feel can shift dramatically with new faces. This method is like fitting your old cabinets with a brand new outfit, offering you a wide range of styles, finishes, and materials.

Both processes have their merits. Refinishing is more about reviving and enhancing the current style, whereas refacing is about introducing a completely new style. It’s essential to understand the type and style of your current cabinets to determine which option will serve you best.

Comparing Costs: Refinishing vs Refacing

refinishing vs refacing kitchen cabinets

Cost is a significant factor for most homeowners. Refinishing is generally more cost-effective since you’re using the same materials and just updating their appearance. Though more expensive, refacing offers a drastic change in appearance and might increase home value more than just a refinishing job. According to Forbes Home, refaced cabinets can cost between $1,300 – $12,000. For a detailed breakdown of costs, the Remodeling Calculator offers invaluable insights. While “refinishing vs refacing kitchen cabinets” might seem like a toss-up in costs and value, both have their merits.

Making a Strategic Choice

If you’re pondering the question, “What is the difference between refinishing and refacing cabinets,” consider your end goal. Refinishing is ideal for those on a tighter budget or if your cabinets are in good structural condition. Refacing makes more sense if the current cabinet design feels outdated or if there’s significant wear and tear.

Local Cabinet Refinishers: Finding the Right Professionals

Finding the right team to handle your cabinet project is crucial. Local expertise ensures the job gets done right. For those in the area, the team at Prep Smart Painting is your local cabinet refinishers of choice. We provide excellent craftsmanship and attention to detail, ensuring your end results meet the highest standard.

It’s also worth checking out reviews and getting referrals. Platforms like the Better Business Bureau can help you find trustworthy professionals.

Making Your Decision: Refinish or Reface?

refinishing vs refacing cabinets

When weighing the options of refinishing or refacing, one of the most significant factors to consider is the current state of your kitchen cabinets. Are they primarily functional, just a bit worn-out, or do they no longer fit with your desired aesthetics? Analyzing your kitchen’s layout also plays a crucial role. While the layout remains unchanged in both options, the appearance can shift dramatically based on your choice.

The kitchen is often termed the heart of the home, and your cabinets are the main visual element within that space. If you’re content with your current kitchen’s layout and want a fresh update, kitchen cabinet refinishing might be the most appropriate. This process rejuvenates your existing cabinets, giving them a fresh and modern appearance without the hassle of major renovations. However, kitchen cabinet refacing can transform your space if you’re seeking a more drastic change. Replacing old fronts with new designs gives you the feel of entirely new cabinets without redoing the entire setup. This choice is especially significant for those who wish to modernize their kitchen or correct previous design decisions that no longer align with their tastes.

Refinishing kitchen cabinets often brings out the wood’s natural beauty, giving it a renewed glow. It’s about preserving and enhancing what you currently have. On the flip side, refacing provides more room for creativity. From selecting different materials to choosing a design that aligns with your vision, refacing offers a broader spectrum of change. It’s like getting a brand-new wardrobe for your kitchen while keeping the structure intact.

In essence, the decision boils down to your personal preferences, budget, and how attached you are to your current cabinets. Whether you opt for a slight refresh with refinishing or a more noticeable transformation with refacing, the goal is to elevate your kitchen’s overall appeal and functionality.

Finishing Touches: Making the Smart Choice

Your kitchen is the centerpiece of your home, and its cabinets play a major role in setting its tone and style. Whether you’re looking to revive the charm of your space with refinishing cabinets or are considering a significant update with brand-new cabinet doors and a new door style, the options are vast. Navigating the refinishing vs refacing cabinets debate is essential for making an informed decision. It’s all about choosing to align with your vision, needs, and budget. If you’re feeling unsure, consider reaching out to the expert professional cabinet painters at Prep Smart. We can advise on refinishing and refacing and are here to guide you every step of the way.

Why wait? Elevate your kitchen’s aesthetics and functionality today. Reach out to Prep Smart Painting, and let’s bring your dream kitchen to life!


Choosing between cabinet refinishing and refacing depends on your budget, the condition of your current cabinets, and your desired aesthetic outcome. Professional Painters in Rhode Island suggest that refinishing is cost-effective and ideal for cabinets in good structural condition, offering a refreshed look while preserving the existing framework. Professional Painters in Connecticut emphasize that refacing, though more expensive, provides a dramatic transformation with new doors and drawer fronts, significantly enhancing your kitchen’s appeal and potentially increasing your home’s value. Professional Painters in Massachusetts recommend considering your specific needs and consulting with professionals like Prep Smart Painting to make an informed decision that best suits your kitchen renovation goals.