Painting Laminate Furniture

I shared earlier that I was going to attempt to paint a piece of laminate furniture.  In my thriftiness, I decided that it couldn’t hurt to try.  I did a lot of research on what products to use.  I’m really happy with the results, so I’ll share how I achieved them.

First of all, if you want a great finished look, there are some steps you can’t short cut.  Definitely take apart the piece of furniture as much as possible.  When I took mine totally apart, I ended up with 15 piece to paint.  But, then you don’t end up with cracks and crevises that you are trying to get paint into.  It worked out to be easier, I only have flat pieces to work with.  The second thing you should short cut is sanding.  There is not replacement for it.  I used a power sander and had all the pieced sanded in less then 30 mins.  There was some water damage on mine too, so this allowed me to smooth out any bubbles or imperfections.  When you are done sanding, make sure to dust off all the surfaces really well with a tack cloth or damp rag.


Now this is where I took a shortcut, I decided to use spray paint to save me some time.  It ended up only costing about $4 more for the primer and about $3 more for the yellow paint.  So, I thought it was worth it.

There is no substitute for sanding.

First I primed everything with Zinsser Cover Stain Oil-Base Primer Primer (purchased at Home Depot).  It is oil based and bonds fantastically and dries super fast.  When the primer was good and dry I put on the first coat of yellow paint, I used Rust-oleum Painter’s Touch Gloss in Warm Yellow.  It took two coats of the yellow to get good coverage.  I learned from my dad to put on a light coat and then go back and do another coat.  Putting it on thick to start with does not work as well.

Then there was just the puzzle of putting it back together.  Taking a picture beforehand was helpful.  It really looks like a new piece of furniture.  I’m so happy with the results.  I hope to get the rest of the room together later this week, so I can share it with you.

To see this cute cabinet in the finished bathroom, click here.

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63 thoughts on “Painting Laminate Furniture

  1. Kristina Gulino

    Ohhh I love this. We have a lot of laminate furniture (surprise, surprise – newlyweds + IKEA!) so I'd love to try this on our bookshelves at some point. There's really no chance in me hauling them down 3 stories just to spray paint, so maybe at the next home. Thanks for the tips – I'm bookmarking this for later!!

    Nook & Sea

  2. Aukse

    I couldn't have chosen a better color that this. It's so pretty! Will totally brighten up the bathroom. 🙂

  3. Terry hogue

    Looks beautiful! I'll have to try this on some pieces I'd like to redo! Thanks for sharing your techniques and trials!!

  4. Tiffany

    I recently repainted my Ikea laminate cabinets in my bathroom and I did not sand them down much. I just took some paper and lightly went across the entire surface to rough it up a little bit but it painted just as well

  5. Anonymous

    Thanks so much for this!! I have a dresser in my daughters room that I've been afraid to mess with!! I'm so excited to try it joe!!

  6. Jen L.

    I have wanted to paint several laminate pieces, but I have been nervous of the outcome. What grit sand paper did you use?

  7. Anonymous

    I wonder if you could use the new spray paint that is designed for painting plastic (like large heavy plastic kids furniture for outdoors)? It comes in many colors and the ads say it will stick to anything. I think I'll try it on something small like a laminated bookshelf first. I'll let you know how it works.

  8. Jeran

    @ Jen L. you know I'm not sure what grit exactly I used. Kind of a medium grit – not too rough and not the finest out there either.

  9. Anonymous

    I have a coffee table and end tables I want to redo. Your bathroom piece looks terrific! I am not inspired and will try on my tables! Thanks!

  10. Anonymous

    I don't want to sound dumb but what is laminated furniture? Is it pressed wood with that shiney wood fake sticker? I live this post I found it on pintrest and I'm hoping it's the pressed wodd furniture because I have a few things I would love to do this to. Thanks

  11. Jeran Post author

    You got it – that's exactly what laminate furniture is. Pressed wood with a laminate veneer on it. Good luck refinishing your pieces.

  12. Anonymous

    Spot on with this write-up, I trulу believe this website needs much more attention.
    Ι'll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the advice!
    My web site: Shades Yellow

  13. Leigh-Anne

    Do things stick to it? I am thinking of doing this to a desk for my daughter. Just curious how well it is holding up and how much use it gets. Thanks!

  14. Anonymous

    I have a cabinet that is almost identical to the one you re-did. I am SO glad I am over obsessive with research since it brought me to this page! Thank you for all of the tips, I am going to make the attempt to beautify my plain white cabinet into something like yours!

  15. Second Hand Roze

    Did you use polyurethane or anything for a top coat? Krylon even makes a glossy top coat I've thought about trying out…that and Annie Sloans wax. Let me know what you think. I have only a little experience painting furniture and considerably less experience painting furniture and being happy with the result.

    Thanks a million!

  16. Sophie Tyler Neil

    I should also try this, I am a fan of making handicrafts. I've tried almost everything in our garage to make something. Name it, garage coatings, PVC pipes and anything that is stocked in our garage I tried to make something out of that.

  17. Gavin Drake

    I'm envious with how this project of yours came out. I can't even make the slightest recolor for my kitchen cabinet. I'm definitely taking the cue from your design.

  18. Kieran Atkinson

    I had already painted laminate furniture twice and I can say that this method is spot on. The first time that I painted was a disaster, I rushed things and it ended up in a disaster. I followed your instructions on the second time and I can say that it was successful.

  19. Anonymous

    Jeran, I have a couple of laminate pieces I am thinking of painting. I love the yellow cabinet you painted. A few questions please. (1) the oil based primer you used—was it brush-on or spray-primer? I have had spray primer to dry gritty in the past, & I have a can of Zinser oil-based brush-on primer on hand so am thinking of using that. And (2) how has this paint job held up? Did you use a clear protective coat and/or would you recommend that? Any chipping or peeling of the paint on your yellow cabinet so far? THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Unknown

    Did you totally sand off the laminate coating ? I have a desk that's sorta peeling in some spots, I'd love to paint it, but not sure if I should sand it off or just rough it up.

  21. Dlavalleur

    I love this! I have a dark brown curio cabinet that I want to paint a turquoise color. Wish me luck!

  22. Taun P.

    I am so thankful for this information. I wanted to paint some laminated pieces but wanted to make sure it wouldn't peel and looked professional. I actually wanted a color similar to what you used so now I feel really confident taking on this project and hope my finished product looks as good as yours.

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