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My Painted Kitchen Cabinets- 5 Years Later

My Painted Kitchen Cabinets- 5 Years Later

I find it truly hard to believe,  but as of last month, my husband and I have been remodeling our fixer upper home for five years now. And man…what a freaking journey it has been!

While a majority of the projects here have been a DIY effort, there have been a handful of projects we decided to  hire out. One of which is the transformation of our existing kitchen cabinets.

a follow-up review of my painted cabinets after 5 years

In February of 2015,  we hired a professional to paint our outdated, oak kitchen cabinets white.

Half a decade later,  I am giving an honest, follow-up review of the oil-based paint job.

how my painted cabinets are holding up

So before I get into the juicy details of my review, I wanted to show you the “before” photo of our cabinets. The picture above was taken the day we moved into our 1980’s rancher.

Wanting to brighten up our dingy, outdated kitchen on a reasonable budget, the cabinets were one of the very first projects we invested in.

In addition to new flooring and back-splash, painting the walls and the cabinets dramatically transformed the space…

an honest review of my painted kitchen cabinets

Why We Hired a Professional Painter:

Given the basis of my blog is DIY home improvement, I am sure many of you are wondering why we decided to outsource this paint  job. Well…

At the time, I didn’t know much about home improvement nor was I acquainted with recent advances in paint technology-namely milk paint -which I now love (you can read all about milk paint in my post here).

From the websites I had browsed at that time, I concluded that oil-based paint was the only way to go and my prior experience with oil-based formulas were an absolute nightmare (super long dry time and very unforgiving of rookie paint mistakes). In a nutshell, I absolutely despised working with oil-based paint.

Wanting to ensure durability and a sleek, professional finish, we decided it was worth the approximate $1,500 in professional labor to have our cabinets resurfaced.

After seeing what an undertaking it actually was (removing the cabinet faces and hardware, sanding, priming, painting, sanding again, painting, literally watching paint dry, repeat), I was completely assured in my decision. Not to mention, the immediate transformation was incredibly satisfactory.

So…five years later, you are probably wanting to know if it was all ultimately worth it.

My Painted Cabinets 5 Years Later:

In general, I am still satisfied with my professionally painted cabinets .

Given they have had to endure half a decade of abuse from not only myself but my rowdy children, it is really a wonder they aren’t in terrible shape. That being said,however,  there are visible signs of chipping in a few trouble areas.

While all of  the top cabinets are essentially unscathed, the bottom section of cabinetry (in the most highly-utilized section of my kitchen) could use a paint touch-up….
my painted cabinets after 5 years

oil based painted cabinet review

Thankfully the chipping is only occurring at the perimeter of one drawer and one door.

reviewing the durability of oil based paint

When I zoom out a bit, the chipping is not all that detectable.

Below is a picture of one more trouble area in a different section…

an honest review of my painted cabinets 5 years later

Other than these documented problem areas, my cabinets are holding up quite beautifully.

If you are an absolute perfectionist and looking to brighten up your wooden cabinets, refinishing them with paint may not be for you. You may need to consider replacing your cabinets.

However, if you recognize there will be some paint touch-up maintenance required every few years, a paint job may just be your most cost-effective solution.

Bottom Line: With the excessive abuse my cabinets have endured for the past five years (especially from my boys), I actually find it impressive that I am only experiencing wear and tear in three specific areas. After a little touch-up job (which I am penciling in on the ever-expanding “to-do” list), I am confident the cabinets will look good as new. In summary, I have concluded that $1,500 for a refinishing job versus $10,000 for entirely new cabinetry is a win in my book.

Hope this helps those of you on the fence about painted cabinetry.

Now get out there and design some good vibes along with a fabulous life.

If you found this post helpful, I would be so thankful if you could share with a friend or on social media. This helps grow my audience- funding all of the free material on this website. Thank you for supporting my small business. xoxo

painted kitchen cabinet review, 5 years later

an honest review of my painted kitchen cabinets



My journey in interior design and home improvement began with transforming my first fixer-upper home, all while managing a budget and raising two young boys. My work, a reflection of my passion for creating beautiful, uplifting spaces, has been recognized by top publications like Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, HGTV, and more. I invite you to explore my site and witness the transformation of my home and the vibes we've designed.Read more...


Sunday 15th of March 2020

Erica, what a wonderful transformation! Money well spent. As always you do a fabulous job of making your house a home for your family! love your blog!

Designing Vibes

Monday 16th of March 2020

Thank you so much for the sweet words, Susie. Take care my friend. xoxo


Saturday 14th of March 2020

What about your milk paint cabinets? How have they been holding up?

Designing Vibes

Sunday 15th of March 2020

Hi Sarah! I actually wrote a dedicated review on the milk paint. Here is the link to that post

While that review was over a year ago, there really isnt anything to add to it as of now. Hope this helps.


Thursday 12th of March 2020

You just can't beat $1500 to transform a kitchen the way you did. As I look at the before pic it doesnt even look like the same space!!! Thank God for paint:)

Designing Vibes

Saturday 14th of March 2020

Thank you so much, Maria. Yes...never deny the power of paint. xoxo