Painting Ikea Dresser

painting ikea dresser

Painting an IKEA dresser can be a fantastic way to transform a simple piece of furniture into a unique and personalized addition to your home. With the right preparation, materials, and techniques, you can achieve professional-looking results that will make your revamped dresser stand out. In this blog post, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide to painting an IKEA dresser, from preparation through selection of the right primer.

We’ll begin by discussing how to properly prepare your dresser for painting, including removing hardware and accessories as well as cleaning and sanding surfaces for better paint adhesion. Next, we’ll delve into selecting the most suitable primer for laminate surfaces like those found on many IKEA dressers.

Once primed, it’s time to choose the ideal paint type and application technique that best suits your project – we’ll cover everything from Benjamin Moore Advance to chalk paint options along with foam rollers versus sprayers. Additionally, ensuring proper drying time between coats is crucial; we’ll explain why it’s important and factors affecting drying duration.

To protect your painted IKEA dresser in the long run, topcoats or sealants are essential – learn about their benefits as well as suitable types such as water-based polyurethane. Finally, elevate your finished piece with high-end touches like sanding outer edges for an aged effect or using Barnwood stain for rustic charm.

Preparing Your IKEA Dresser for Painting

Before you begin painting your IKEA dresser, it’s essential to prepare the surface properly. Begin by taking off all detachable components and washing the surfaces with a blend of warm water and dishwashing soap. Ensure that the piece is completely dry before moving on to sanding, which plays an essential role in proper adhesion between laminate surfaces and primer or paint layers.

Removing Hardware and Accessories from Your Dresser

Remove any hardware like handles, knobs, or pulls from your dresser to make sure you get a smooth finish when painting IKEA furniture. This will allow you to paint every inch of the surface without accidentally getting paint on these accessories.

Cleaning Surfaces Thoroughly Using a Mild Detergent Solution

Laminate furniture can accumulate dirt, grease, and grime over time which may cause issues if not cleaned properly before painting. Mix some warm water with mild dishwashing detergent in a bucket or spray bottle, then use a soft cloth or sponge to thoroughly clean all your IKEA dresser’s surfaces. Rinse well with clean water afterward to ensure no residue remains, which could affect how well the paint adheres.

Sanding for Better Paint Adhesion

  • If you’re painting:
  • Laminate surfaces:
  • Smooth finish:

Since most IKEA dressers are made from laminate-covered particleboard rather than real wood, they require extra attention during preparation for successful results when refinishing them. These types of materials have smooth finishes that can be difficult for paints to stick to. Sanding the surface lightly with fine-grit sandpaper (180-220 grit) will create a slightly rough texture, allowing primer and paint layers to adhere better. To achieve a professional-looking result when painting your IKEA dresser, make sure you use even pressure while sanding and wipe away any dust or debris before moving on to the next step.

Don’t forget to use the right tools for the job. Depending on the size of your dresser, you may want to use a paint sprayer, paint brushes, or paint rollers. Chalk paint is a popular choice for refinishing IKEA furniture, but make sure to choose a paint that is suitable for laminate surfaces. If the paint doesn’t adhere properly, you may need to refinish the piece again.

With these tips and IKEA hacks, you can transform your IKEA dresser into a unique piece of furniture that reflects your personal style. Happy painting.

Proper preparation of your IKEA dresser is key for a successful painting project. Now that you have prepped the surface, it’s time to choose the right primer for laminate surfaces.

Key Takeaway: 


To paint your IKEA dresser, start by removing all removable pieces and cleaning the surfaces with a mixture of warm water and dishwashing detergent. Sanding plays an essential role in proper adhesion between laminate surfaces and primer or paint layers. Finally, use the right tools for the job to achieve a professional-looking result when painting your IKEA dresser.

Choosing the Right Primer for Laminate Surfaces

Priming is crucial when painting laminate-covered particleboard furniture like IKEA dressers. The right primer will ensure proper adhesion between the laminate surface and paint layers, preventing peeling or chipping over time. In this section, we’ll discuss various types of primers suitable for laminate surfaces and provide tips on applying them effectively.

Oil-based vs Shellac-base Primers

Oil-based primers are known for their excellent adhesion properties, making them a popular choice for painting IKEA furniture. However, they may require additional prep work such as scuff-sanding before application to achieve optimal results. On the other hand, shellac-base primers, like Zinsser BIN, adhere well without requiring extra steps beforehand.

Applying Multiple Coats of Primer

To ensure adequate coverage and strong adhesion between your paint and IKEA laminate furniture and its new finish layer(s), apply at least two coats of primer with ample drying time in-between each coat (usually about three days). Creating a strong base to endure daily use while retaining an attractive look is essential for successful refinishing.

Allowing Ample Time for Curing

  • Drying: After applying each coat of primer to refinish IKEA furniture, allow it to dry completely before moving on to subsequent layers or sanding processes; this typically takes around 24 hours depending on factors such as humidity levels in your workspace.
  • Curing: Once your primer layers have dried, it’s essential to let them cure fully before proceeding with painting. This process can take anywhere from three days up to a week and ensures that the primer has properly bonded with the laminate surfaces of your IKEA dresser for long-lasting results.

In summary, choosing the right primer is key when painting IKEA furniture. Opt for oil-based or shellac-base primers specifically designed for laminate surfaces and apply multiple coats while allowing ample time for drying and curing between each layer. By following these guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to achieving professional-looking results in no time.

Essential for a successful result, the proper primer must be picked to guarantee an even and enduring coating on laminate surfaces. Selecting suitable paint types and techniques is equally important, as they can affect the final look of your project.

Key Takeaway: 


When painting laminate-covered particleboard furniture like IKEA dressers, it’s crucial to choose the right primer for proper adhesion between the surface and paint layers. Oil-based or shellac-base primers are suitable options, but multiple coats with ample drying and curing time are necessary for long-lasting results. Scuff-sanding may be required before applying oil-based primers, while shellac-base primers adhere well without extra steps beforehand.

Selecting Suitable Paint Types & Techniques

When choosing paints suitable for use on laminates like those found in IKEA furniture, consider options such as Benjamin Moore Advance due to its durability against peeling over time. Before making a decision, it’s important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of different types of paints.

Pros and Cons of Different Types of Paints (Benjamin Moore Advance, Chalk Paint, Interior Latex)

  • Benjamin Moore Advance: This paint is known for its excellent adhesion and durability on laminate surfaces. It also offers a smooth finish with minimal brush marks or drips.
  • Chalk Paint: While chalk paint works best on solid wood rather than laminates, it can still be used if you’re looking for a distressed or vintage look. Remember that this type may require additional prep work such as sanding beforehand.
  • Interior Latex: This versatile option comes in various finishes and colors according to personal preferences but might not adhere well to laminate surfaces without proper priming first.

To ensure an even application without brush marks or drips, utilize foam rollers or sprayers when applying thin layers of paint evenly onto your IKEA dresser.

Foam Rollers vs Sprayers Application Techniques

  • Foam Rollers: Foam rollers are an excellent choice for a smooth finish, as they help to distribute paint evenly across the surface. They’re also easy to use and clean up after.
  • Paint Sprayers: A paint sprayer can provide a more professional-looking result by applying thin layers of paint quickly and uniformly. However, it may require some practice to master the technique and might be more expensive than using foam rollers or brushes.

In summary, consider factors such as durability, desired finish, and ease of application when painting your IKEA dresser before choosing between Benjamin Moore Advance, chalk paint, or interior latex options. Opt for foam rollers or sprayers depending on your skill level and budget constraints.

When selecting paint, evaluating the advantages and drawbacks of every possibility is wise. Before beginning any project, factors such as temp and humidity must be considered to guarantee adequate drying time between coats.

Key Takeaway: 


When painting an IKEA dresser, it’s important to choose a suitable paint type such as Benjamin Moore Advance for its durability against peeling. Other options like chalk paint and interior latex have their pros and cons, but using foam rollers or sprayers can help achieve a smooth finish without brush marks or drips.

Ensuring Proper Drying Time Between Coats

Proper drying time plays a significant role in achieving professional-looking results when painting IKEA furniture. Allow each layer of paint to dry thoroughly before adding the next coat for a smooth, lasting finish.

Importance of Drying Time

Proper drying time ensures that the paint doesn’t adhere poorly or peel off over time, which can happen if you rush through the painting process. It also helps prevent brush marks, drips, and other imperfections from forming on your newly painted dresser.

Factors Affecting Drying Duration

  • Ambient temperature: Cooler temperatures may prolong the drying period, while warmer environments can speed it up.
  • Humidity levels: High humidity slows down the evaporation rate of water-based paints like latex, extending their drying times. On the other hand, low humidity accelerates this process.
  • Type of paint: Different types of paints have varying recommended drying durations between coats. For example, oil-based paints generally take longer to dry than latex ones (source). Always follow manufacturer guidelines for optimal results.

Scuff-Sanding Between Coats

Consider scuff-sanding after each layer has dried completely to ensure better adhesion between coats and achieve a smoother finish on your refinished IKEA furniture piece. Use fine-grit sandpaper (around 220-grit) to sand the surface lightly, then wipe away any dust with a tack cloth before applying the next coat of paint. This technique helps create a more even and durable finish on laminate surfaces like those found in IKEA dressers.

Waiting for a minimum of 24 hours between coats is usually advised, but the exact period can vary depending on environmental conditions. Be patient and allow ample time for each layer to dry fully before proceeding with additional coats or finishing touches.

If you’re painting IKEA furniture, it’s important to note that some pieces are made of laminate surfaces rather than real wood. To paint IKEA laminate furniture, you may need to use a paint sprayer or chalk paint to ensure the paint adheres properly. Also, high-quality paint brushes or rollers can help you achieve a smooth finish.

With these tips and tricks, you can successfully paint your IKEA dresser and give it a fresh new look. Happy painting.

It is important to ensure proper drying time between coats of paint on an IKEA dresser in order to achieve a professional finish. To further protect your painted piece, topcoats or sealants should be applied for extra durability and shine.

Key Takeaway: 


Proper drying time is crucial for achieving a professional-looking finish when painting IKEA furniture. Waiting at least 24 hours between coats and scuff-sanding with fine-grit sandpaper can help create an even and durable finish on laminate surfaces like those found in IKEA dressers.

Protecting Your Painted IKEA Dresser with Topcoats

To protect your newly painted dresser from stains and damage over time, use a water-based polyurethane topcoat or other quality sealants specifically designed for furniture applications. This step not only prolongs the life of your piece but also enhances its overall appearance by adding sheen and depth.

Benefits of Using Topcoats or Sealants

Applying a topcoat or sealant on your painted IKEA dresser ensures that the paint doesn’t adhere to dirt, dust, and moisture, which can cause peeling or chipping over time. A further safeguard against everyday wear and tear is provided by applying a sealant or topcoat, which also simplifies cleaning and upkeep.

Types of Suitable Topcoats (Water-Based Polyurethane)

  • Water-Based Polyurethane: This type of topcoat is easy to apply, dries quickly, has low odor levels compared to oil-based alternatives, and offers excellent durability. Check out this Minwax Water Based Oil-Modified Polyurethane.
  • Furniture Wax: Another option is applying furniture wax like Annie Sloan Clear Chalk Paint Wax, which adds a protective layer while enhancing the color depth without altering the matte finish typical in chalk paint projects.
  • Varnish: Varnish is a traditional topcoat that provides excellent protection against moisture and UV rays. However, it may yellow over time, so consider using Rust-Oleum Varathane Crystal Clear Water-Based Polyurethane for a non-yellowing finish.

Enhancing the Appearance with Added Sheen

The choice of topcoat can also affect the final look of your painted IKEA dresser. Selecting between a matte, satin or glossy finish is dependent on personal taste. A higher gloss level adds more sheen and depth to the color while making it easier to clean but might show imperfections more easily than matte options.

Applying a topcoat or sealant to your painted IKEA dresser can ensure its longevity and protect it from wear and tear. To add high-end touches to your furniture piece, consider sanding the edges for an aged effect, lining the inner surfaces with decorative wallpaper, or using barnwood stain for rustic charm.

Adding High-end Touches to Your Painted IKEA Dresser

After painting your dresser, consider adding high-end touches that can make your IKEA furniture look more expensive and unique. These enhancements not only elevate the appearance of your piece but also showcase your creativity and personal style.

Sanding Outer Edges for an Aged Effect

To give your painted IKEA dresser a vintage or distressed look, try sanding down the outer edges slightly before applying a clear coat once the final layer has dried completely. This technique creates an aged effect by revealing some of the original laminate surfaces beneath the paint layers, giving it character and charm.

Lining Inner Surfaces with Decorative Wallpaper

Another way to add a touch of luxury to your refinished IKEA dresser is by lining its inner back surface with decorative wallpaper. Choose a pattern that complements both the color scheme and overall design theme in which you’re painting it. Applying wallpaper inside drawers or on other hidden surfaces can be an unexpected surprise when opening them up.

Using Barnwood Stain for Rustic Charm

If you opted for chalk paint, consider enhancing its rustic appeal further by using Barnwood stain as well. Apply this product sparingly over areas where natural wear would occur (such as corners) after allowing ample time for drying between coats; then seal everything off with wax or another protective topcoat like water-based polyurethane.

  • Tips:
    • Experiment with different paint brushes and techniques to achieve your desired finish.
    • Consider upgrading the hardware on your dresser, such as drawer pulls or knobs, for a more polished look.
    • Slowly and carefully work through each step to create a polished, durable result.

Incorporating these high-end touches into your painted IKEA dresser project can transform an ordinary piece of furniture into something truly special that reflects both quality craftsmanship and personal style.

Key Takeaway: 


Transform your painted IKEA dresser into a unique and expensive-looking piece by adding high-end touches such as sanding the outer edges for an aged effect, lining inner surfaces with decorative wallpaper, or using Barnwood stain for rustic charm. Upgrade hardware and take your time during each step to ensure quality craftsmanship and personal style shine through.

Is it a good idea to paint IKEA furniture?

Painting IKEA furniture is an excellent way to personalize and upgrade your pieces. With proper preparation and technique, you can achieve professional-looking results that enhance the appearance of your dresser. Make sure to use suitable primers, paints, and topcoats for laminate surfaces.

Do I need to sand IKEA dresser before painting?

Sanding is essential before painting an IKEA dresser as it helps improve paint adhesion on the laminate surface. Use fine-grit sandpaper (220 grit) for lightly scuffing the surface without damaging it. After sanding, clean off any dust with a tack cloth or damp rag.

What is the best paint to paint an IKEA dresser?

The best paints for an IKEA dresser include Benjamin Moore Advance, chalk paint, or interior latex paint. Each type has its pros and cons; consider factors like durability, ease of application, finish quality when making your choice. Always apply multiple coats for better coverage.

How to paint an IKEA dresser?

  1. Clean surfaces thoroughly using mild detergent solution
  2. Sand gently with fine-grit sandpaper
  3. Select suitable primer (oil-based or shellac-base)
  4. Apply multiple coats of primer allowing ample time between each coat
  5. Pick appropriate type of paint (Benjamin Moore Advance/chalk/interior latex)
  6. Apply multiple coats of paint, allowing ample time between each coat
  7. Use paint brushes, paint rollers, or a paint sprayer for a smooth finish
  8. Apply topcoat for added protection and durability

When painting IKEA furniture, it’s important to note that not all IKEA furniture is made of real wood. Some pieces are made of laminate surfaces, which can be more challenging to paint. If the paint doesn’t adhere well, consider using a bonding primer or sanding the surface more thoroughly. Additionally, there are many IKEA hacks available online that can help you refinish IKEA furniture in creative ways.

Overall, painting IKEA furniture is a great way to give your pieces a new lease on life. With the right tools, techniques, and materials, you can achieve a beautiful and long-lasting finish that will make your dresser look like new.


In conclusion, painting an IKEA dresser requires proper preparation, choosing the right primer and paint types, allowing ample drying time between coats, and protecting the finished product with topcoats. Using techniques such as sanding for an aged effect or lining inner surfaces with decorative wallpaper can add high-end touches to your painted IKEA dresser.

If you’re ready to take on this project yourself, head over to AM Dorm for all your furniture tips and advice. Whether you’re a homeowner or apartment renter looking to spruce up your space, painting IKEA furniture is a great way to personalize your furniture without breaking the bank.

When painting IKEA furniture, it’s important to note that not all IKEA furniture is made of real wood. Some pieces are made of laminate surfaces, which can make it difficult for paint to adhere. To ensure a smooth finish, consider using a paint sprayer or high-quality paint brushes and rollers. Additionally, using chalk paint can be a great option for painting IKEA furniture, as it requires minimal prep work and can adhere well to laminate surfaces.

For those looking to refinish IKEA furniture, it’s important to note that paint doesn’t always adhere well to laminate furniture. In this case, consider using a primer specifically designed for laminate surfaces before painting. This will help the paint adhere better and create a more durable finish.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your IKEA hacks! Painting IKEA furniture can be a fun and easy way to transform your space. Just remember to take your time, choose the right materials, and protect your finished product with topcoats.

John Whitford
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