Great question and one that I get weekly. You can achieve great success by doing both, but the question is going to be: what can you afford? Staining or painting the cabinets can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $4,000 (if you hire a professional) depending on the amount of cabinets you are painting. You can always paint or stain them yourself to save some money. Buying new kitchen cabinets can get really expensive really quick because there are literally hundreds of options (type of wood, style of door, hidden hinges, exposed hinges, self closing doors, crown moulding, lazy Susan’s, spice racks, wine racks). I could go on, but I won’t. New kitchen cabinets can start at $4,000 for a small basic package and go up to $30,000. Although, most of the kitchen cabinet packages that I build in San Antonio average out to about $7,000. Keep in mind that there will also be an expense to take down those old cabinets and dispose of them. Maybe you can re-use some of those old kitchen cabinets in the garage to give you some extra storage space or maybe you can donate them to Habitat for Humanity.
Painting or staining your old kitchen cabinets is a great way to give your kitchen a more updated look. Something even as small as updating your door pulls or cabinet hardware can change the look of your kitchen cabinets. You can also opt to just replace the cabinet doors to give the cabinet a different look. Kitchen cabinets take a lot of abuse daily. Steam from boiling water, heat from ovens, dirty fingers and constant opening and closing can take its toll on your poor kitchen cabinets.” Danny Garcia, owner of Rhino Design Build, LLC in San Antonio, Texas.
Most cabinets stores have a design professional that can produce a 3-D drawing of what your new kitchen will look like once it is done. That is a great way to help visualize the finished product. Maintaining a good balance of the kitchen work triangle is very important. To keep your costs down, try to keep the sink where it was before and try not to relocate any gas or electrical lines. Most of my clients in San Antonio choose to upgrade their kitchen appliances and counter tops when we remodel the kitchen.