My best guess is that the question arises in 1 out of 4 listings. But I’ve lost count of how many dozens of times I’ve stood in the middle of a dated kitchen with Seller and Stager debating one critical question:
Should we “paint out” the kitchen cabinets?
Nothing screams “old” or “tired” like old, tired kitchen cabinets. So smart stagers almost always recommend changing out the hardware and slapping on a new coat of white paint.
Sellers are usually concerned about pre-sale Return On Investment. (Painting cabinet faces is cheap but not dirt cheap.) So they’ll try one or more of the following arguments against painting:
- It’ll be obvious to buyers that we just painted them.
- Whoever buys the house is redoing the kitchen anyway.
- It’s better to let the natural wood show.
- I actually like the cabinets.
But usually the Seller will be convinced that the ROI is worthwhile because the paint will:
- Make the kitchen photograph better and photos are key marketing tools.
- Create a cleaner, crisper, brighter first impression
- Give buyers the hope that they can delay remodeling for a year or two since they’ve just depleted their savings on a downpayment.
Cabinet-painting works every time. Case in point, here’s a professional photo of outdated kitchen cabinets in a condo I sold two years ago. (The sellers didn’t have enough lead time to stage or paint the cabinets):
Here’s a hurried cellphone pic of the same kitchen snapped by the painter who — for the new owners — recently painted the cabinets white:
I rest my case, but you can be the judge.