Painting Laminate Furniture

painting laminate furniture

Painting laminate furniture is an excellent way to breathe new life into your old and worn-out pieces. You can give an old laminate piece a new look with the right tools and methods, creating something unique that reflects your own style.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of preparing laminate surfaces for painting by discussing sanding techniques and choosing the appropriate grit of sandpaper. We’ll also cover cleaning and priming methods while highlighting eco-friendly primer options available in the market.

Furthermore, we will delve into the chalk paint method as a popular choice for painting laminate furniture, detailing its benefits and providing a step-by-step guide on how to apply it effectively. For those looking to add some flair to their projects, we’ll share creative ideas with wrapping paper or contact paper along with techniques for applying these decorative elements securely.

Lastly, our shopping tips will help you find budget-friendly laminate furniture pieces suitable for painting while distinguishing between wood vs. laminate materials. And finally, protecting your painted masterpiece is crucial; hence we’ll provide maintenance tips and additional protective measures to ensure long-lasting results.

Preparing Laminate Furniture for Painting

Proper sanding and priming are crucial steps in preparing laminate furniture for painting, as it is a smooth, non-porous material that does not absorb paint well. Begin by abrading the furniture with an orbital sander or fine-grit sandpaper to create a rougher texture that will help ensure better adhesion of primer and paint.

Sanding Techniques for Laminate Surfaces

To effectively sand your laminate furniture, start with 120-grit sandpaper and work your way up to 220-grit if necessary. Use an orbital sander on large flat areas like tabletops or side panels, while smaller areas can be done manually with a hand-held block or sheet of sandpaper. Remember to always move in the direction of the grain when possible.

Choosing the Right Grit of Sandpaper

  • Fine (180-220 grit): Ideal for lightly scuffing laminates before applying primer; removes minimal material but creates enough texture for better adhesion.
  • Medium (80-120 grit): Better suited for removing old finishes from wood surfaces rather than prepping laminate materials; may leave noticeable scratches on delicate laminates if used too aggressively.
  • Coarse (40-60 grit): Rarely recommended due to its potential damage caused on both wooden and laminate furniture; use only if absolutely necessary and with extreme caution.

Once the surface has been abraded, it is essential to eliminate any dust or residue using a vacuum cleaner or tack cloth prior to progressing with the next step for an ideal finish. This will ensure a clean surface for primer application and prevent any imperfections in your final paint job.

When painting laminate furniture, it’s important to use the right type of paint. Chalk paint is a popular choice for its ability to adhere to almost any surface without the need for sanding or priming. However, if you prefer to use regular paint, be sure to use a high-quality primer specifically designed for laminate surfaces.

Before painting, clean the surface with a chemical cleaner to remove any dirt, grease, or other contaminants. If the laminate furniture has a glossy finish, lightly sand the surface to create a better surface for the paint to adhere to.

When painting, use a high-quality brush or roller to apply thin, even coats of paint. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next. Depending on the color and type of paint you’re using, you may need to apply multiple coats to achieve the desired finish.

Finally, if you’re painting laminate furniture that will be used as a kitchen counter or other high-traffic area, be sure to apply a clear coat of polyurethane or another protective finish to help prevent scratches and other damage.

Whether you’re painting an old piece of IKEA furniture or giving new life to a thrift store find, painting laminate furniture is a great way to update your home decor without breaking the bank.

Before painting laminate furniture, it is important to properly prepare the surface by sanding and cleaning. For long-lasting results, selecting an appropriate eco-friendly primer is a must; this article offers advice on choosing from the available options.

Painting Laminate Furniture

If you’re looking to update your laminate furniture, painting is a great way to give it a fresh new look. However, painting laminate furniture requires some preparation and the right materials to ensure a long-lasting finish. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of painting laminate furniture.

Cleaning and Priming Laminate Surfaces

After sanding, it’s essential to clean the surfaces of your laminate furniture to ensure a smooth and even paint application. Use warm water mixed with a mild detergent or a vinegar solution to remove any dust or stains from previous finishes. You can also opt for a chemical cleaner like TSP (trisodium phosphate), which is effective in removing grease and grime.

Once the surface is clean, you’ll need to apply primer specifically designed for use on slick surfaces such as laminate furniture. One popular option is Kilz Primer, which provides excellent adhesion on materials like metal, glass, and laminates. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly alternative, consider using clear bonding primers that are water-based but still offer great adhesion properties.

Selecting an Appropriate Primer for Laminates

  • Kilz Adhesion: This high-quality primer bonds well with various surfaces including laminate furniture and ensures proper paint adherence.
  • Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3: A versatile water-based primer that sticks well to glossy surfaces without requiring prior sanding treatment.
  • Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover Multi-Purpose Brush-On Paint: An all-in-one product that serves as both primer and paint suitable for indoor/outdoor applications on multiple substrates including laminates.

Eco-Friendly Primers Available in the Market

  • ECOS Paints Universal Primer: A zero-VOC, water-based primer that adheres well to laminate surfaces and other challenging materials.
  • AfM Safecoat Transitional Primer: An environmentally friendly option with low odor and excellent adhesion properties suitable for use on laminates.

In summary, proper cleaning and priming of your laminate furniture are crucial steps in achieving a professional-looking paint job. By following these guidelines, you’ll be one step closer to transforming your old laminate pieces into stylish home decor accents.

When priming laminate surfaces, it is important to choose a primer that will adhere well and provide the best coverage. The next step in painting laminate furniture is to use chalk paint for an easy and beautiful finish – this article provides all the steps you need.

Chalk Paint Method

One popular method for painting laminate furniture is using chalk paint, which offers great coverage without needing prior sanding treatment. Chalk paint is an ideal choice for transforming old IKEA furniture into something fresh and stylish due to its durable finish that resists scratching and peeling.

Benefits of Using Chalk Paint on Laminate Furniture

  • No need to sand: Unlike other paints, chalk paint adheres well to laminate surfaces without the need for extensive preparation like sanding or priming.
  • Durable finish: The thick consistency of chalk paint provides excellent coverage and creates a long-lasting finish that withstands daily wear and tear.
  • Easily distressed: If you’re aiming for a vintage or shabby chic look, chalk paint allows you to easily distress the surface by lightly sanding the edges after painting.
  • Versatile application: Chalk paint can be applied with brushes, rollers, or even spray cans – giving you plenty of options when it comes to updating your laminate furniture pieces.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Applying Chalk Paint on Laminate Furniture

  1. Clean the surface: Begin by wiping down your piece with a damp cloth or chemical cleaner such as TSP (trisodium phosphate) solution. Allow it to dry completely before proceeding.
  2. Select your color: Choose from various shades available at home improvement stores or online retailers like Amazon.
  3. Create texture: For added depth and character, consider applying two contrasting colors – one as a base coat followed by a second layer where you can use a dry brush technique to create texture.
  4. Apply the paint: Using a high-quality brush or roller, apply thin and even coats of chalk paint. Allow sufficient time for each coat to dry before proceeding with additional layers if needed; at least 2 hours should elapse.
  5. Seal the finish: To protect your newly painted laminate furniture, apply a clear wax or sealer specifically designed for use with chalk paint. This will help prevent scratches and maintain the longevity of your piece.

Note: Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using any painting products to ensure optimal results.

The Chalk Paint Method is a great way to give laminate furniture an updated look with minimal effort. For more creative ideas, adding decorative elements can take your project to the next level.

Key Takeaway: 


Painting laminate furniture can be made easier with the use of chalk paint, which doesn’t require sanding or priming. Chalk paint provides excellent coverage and durability while also allowing for versatile application methods like distressing and layering.

Adding Decorative Elements

To further personalize your laminate furniture pieces, consider adding decorative elements such as wrapping paper or contact paper to create unique patterns and designs. This approach not only enhances the visual appeal of your painted laminate furniture but also allows you to showcase your creativity and style.

Creative Ideas with Wrapping Paper or Contact Paper

  • Geometric Patterns: Choose a bold geometric pattern for a modern look that complements the clean lines of contemporary furnishings. You can find inspiration from websites like Pinterest.
  • Floral Designs: For a more traditional or vintage feel, opt for floral prints in soft pastel shades that add warmth and charm to any space.
  • Faux Finishes: Create an illusion of texture by using contact paper designed to mimic materials like marble, wood grain, or even metallic surfaces.

Techniques for Applying and Securing Decorative Elements

I have previously used a glue stick was used to secure matching bird-themed wrapping paper onto the hutch for added visual interest. Follow these simple steps when applying decorative elements on your laminate furniture:

  1. Clean the surface thoroughly with warm water mixed with mild detergent or vinegar solution (TSP) before applying any adhesive material.
  2. Cut out desired shapes from wrapping/contact papers; measure carefully so they fit perfectly on intended areas without overlapping edges unnecessarily – this will ensure seamless integration into the overall design scheme while minimizing potential issues arising due to wear and tear over time caused by excess bulkiness where two layers meet each other side-by-side along the same plane.
  3. Apply adhesive (e.g., glue stick, double-sided tape) on the back of your decorative elements and carefully position them onto the furniture surface. Press firmly to ensure proper adhesion.
  4. If necessary, use a credit card or similar tool to smooth out any air bubbles trapped beneath the paper for a professional finish.

Using specific strategies, you can create unique pieces of furniture that showcase your individual style and taste.

Adding decorative elements to laminate furniture can be a fun and creative way to make it unique. Shopping for the right pieces is an important step in creating your perfect painted piece of furniture.

Key Takeaway: 


Transform your laminate furniture by adding decorative elements such as wrapping or contact paper with unique patterns and designs. Use bold geometric patterns for a modern look, floral prints for a traditional feel, or faux finishes to create an illusion of texture. Apply the adhesive material carefully onto the surface after cleaning it thoroughly and use a credit card to smooth out any air bubbles trapped beneath the paper for a professional finish.

Shopping for Laminate Furniture to Paint

Finding the perfect laminate furniture piece to paint can be a fun and budget-friendly endeavor. Exploring different outlets, whether it’s a physical store or an online marketplace, can provide plenty of economical options for your laminate furniture.

Finding Budget-Friendly Laminate Furniture Pieces

  • Back-to-School Sales: During this time, many stores offer great deals on new laminate furniture pieces like desks and bookshelves. Check local retailers for discounts or browse their websites to find any special offers.
  • Online Marketplaces: Websites such as Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and even eBay often have secondhand laminate furniture items listed at affordable prices. Be sure to read descriptions carefully and ask questions if needed before making a purchase.
  • Gently Used Furniture Stores: Some cities have stores that specialize in selling gently used furniture, including laminate pieces. These shops can be a treasure trove of unique finds waiting for your creative touch.

Identifying Wood vs. Laminate Materials

If you come across a piece of furniture that you love but aren’t sure whether it’s made from wood or laminate materials, don’t worry. You can still follow the same steps outlined earlier in this post when painting either type of surface. To help determine if an item is made from wood or laminate, consider these tips:

  1. Pricing: Laminate tends to be more cost-effective than solid wood, so if the price seems too good to be true for a wooden piece, it may actually be laminate.
  2. Grain Patterns: Real wood will have natural grain patterns that are irregular and unique. Laminate often has repeating patterns or an overly uniform appearance.
  3. Weight: Solid wood furniture is generally heavier than its laminate counterpart due to the density of the material.

No matter what type of furniture you choose, following our tips on painting laminate furniture will help you achieve a beautiful and durable finish.

Shopping for laminate furniture to be painted can provide a cost-effective way of obtaining stylish furnishings for your home. With the right protective measures, you can ensure that your painted laminates stay looking their best for years to come.

Key Takeaway: 


Looking for budget-friendly laminate furniture to paint? Check out back-to-school sales, online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, or gently used furniture stores. To identify whether a piece is made of wood or laminate, consider factors such as pricing, grain patterns, and weight.

Protecting Your Painted Laminate Furniture

Despite careful preparation, some painted laminate surfaces may remain more susceptible to damage compared to their wooden counterparts. Therefore, it’s essential to take additional measures in protecting your newly transformed furniture pieces. In this section, we’ll discuss various tips for maintaining your painted laminates and explore extra protective options you can consider.

Tips for Maintaining Your Painted Laminates

  • Clean gently: Use a soft cloth or sponge with mild soap and water when cleaning the surface of your painted laminate furniture. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scrubbers that could scratch the paint.
  • Avoid direct sunlight: Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause fading or discoloration on any type of paint finish, including those applied on laminate surfaces. Place your furniture away from windows or use window treatments like curtains or blinds to minimize sun exposure.
  • Lift items carefully: When moving objects across the surface of your painted laminate piece, lift them instead of dragging them along the surface as this might cause scratches.

Additional Protective Measures

If you plan on using your painted laminate furniture frequently and want added protection against wear and tear over time, consider these options:

  1. Glass covering: An excellent way to protect high-traffic areas such as tabletops is by adding a custom-cut glass top that fits perfectly onto the surface. This will shield it from potential damages while still showcasing its beautiful design underneath. You can find local glass suppliers who offer custom cutting services at reasonable prices through online searches like “custom glass cutting near me“.
  2. Sealant: Applying a clear sealant, such as polyurethane or polycrylic, can provide an additional layer of protection to your painted laminate furniture. Opt for a finish that suits the appearance of your item, ranging from matte to satin and glossy. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application and drying times.

Taking these precautions will help ensure that your painting efforts pay off with long-lasting results on your laminate furniture pieces.

Key Takeaway: 


Protecting your painted laminate furniture is crucial to maintain its appearance and longevity. To do so, clean gently, avoid direct sunlight, and lift items carefully. Additional protective measures include adding a glass covering or applying a clear sealant for added protection against wear and tear over time.

FAQ’s On Painting Laminate Furniture

Are you tired of your old laminate furniture and want to give it a new look? Painting laminate furniture is a great way to update your furniture without breaking the bank. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Is it possible to paint laminate furniture?

Yes, it is possible to paint laminate furniture with the right preparation and materials. Proper cleaning, sanding, and priming are essential steps before applying a suitable paint like chalk or latex-based paints.

What kind of paint do you use on laminate furniture?

Chalk or latex-based paints work best for painting laminate furniture. Chalk paint adheres well without requiring primer while latex-based paints provide durability when used with an appropriate primer.

Do you have to sand laminate furniture before painting?

Sanding is recommended but not mandatory for painting laminates. Lightly sanding the surface helps remove any glossy finish and provides better adhesion for the primer and subsequent layers of paint.

Can you sand and repaint laminate furniture?

Yes, you can sand and repaint laminate furniture by following proper techniques such as using fine-grit sandpaper (180-220 grit) in circular motions followed by thorough cleaning, priming, and repainting with a suitable type of paint.

When painting laminate furniture, it is important to use a chemical cleaner to remove any dirt or grime. After cleaning, allow the furniture to dry completely before sanding or painting. It is also important to use a primer specifically designed for laminate surfaces to ensure proper adhesion of the paint.

If you are painting a laminate kitchen counter, it is important to use a food-safe sealer to protect the surface from scratches and stains.

Keep in mind that laminate furniture from IKEA may have a thin layer of paper on top, which can make it more difficult to paint. However, with proper preparation and the right materials, you can still achieve a beautiful and long-lasting finish.

So, if you’re looking to update your furniture on a budget, consider painting your laminate furniture. With a little bit of effort and the right materials, you can transform your old furniture into something new and beautiful.


By following the steps outlined in this post, you can learn how to properly prepare and clean laminate surfaces before painting with chalk paint or other eco-friendly primers. You can also discover creative ways to add decorative elements and protect your painted laminates.

Jane Whitford
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