How to Paint Laminate Furniture

If a piece of furniture doesn’t meet your standards, painting it can provide an easy solution! This DIY Guide shows how to paint laminate furniture quickly and efficiently, including tips for cabinets, desks, coffee tables and bookshelves.

To maximize the success of your painting experience, always ensure a good surface preparation by applying a quality primer and light sanding. Our research team conducted extensive tests of various primers and paints on laminate surfaces for adhesion and which ones sand off least easily!


If you own an end table, coffee table, or desk that has become outdated with time and use, updating its appearance with paint could be just what is needed to breathe new life into it. Not only is this an economical way of adding some spice into your home for less, it is also great way of recycling a piece of laminate furniture into something useful while simultaneously improving its appearance!

Laminate is a smooth, nonporous product designed to mimic the appearance of real wood. Typically created by attaching a thin sheet of printed plastic called Thermofoil (or Melamine) directly onto a plywood or particle board substrate.

This process enables manufacturers to produce furniture, cabinets and flooring more affordably. Unfortunately, the surface is typically very glossy, which makes adhering paint difficult.

Before painting laminate surfaces, the best way to prepare them for painting is to sand them down to a dull finish by lightly sanding. Sanding will roughen up shiny surfaces and help the paint adhere better.

Once your piece has been sanded to an even surface, the next step should be applying a primer with strong adhesion properties. We suggest INSL-X(r) STIX, designed for powerful adhesion on any surface including glossy laminate.

After that, use a degreaser to thoroughly wipe down the surface and eliminate any dirt, oil or grease that might be hiding beneath its coating. This should take care of any problems.

As part of your preparation, use finer-grit sandpaper to sand away any damaged or worn areas from the surface, helping the primer stick better and reducing brush strokes during painting. This step should ensure a better paint application overall.

Secure your piece with decorator’s tape to prevent paint drips from staining its surroundings. This will also stop any possible spillover into nearby spaces.

Before embarking on any painting endeavor, read and understand the instructions for the primer that you are using. Primers vary widely in their performance depending on which project they’re used for and may also have specific surface requirements that must be fulfilled before application can take place. Becoming familiar with your primer’s requirements will make your job much simpler and enable you to achieve optimal results from your painting efforts.


Primer is essential when painting laminate furniture. A good primer should help the new paint stick securely to its surface without leaving behind brush marks or streaks, creating an ideal surface for application of new hues.

There are various primer options on the market, but which will work best for your project depends on its needs and desired look. For instance, if you desire a white wash on top of your piece then shellac-based primer would work well since it dries clear.

But if you need something that will stand up to daily use and wear, an oil based primer might be your ideal choice. Easy to apply and dry quickly, its adhesion properties provide reliable coverage.

Once you’ve chosen a primer, be sure to thoroughly wash the surface of your piece using soap and water in order to remove any debris or dirt, making application of primer easier while creating a uniform finish when complete.

Once your primer has dried, it is important to sand its surface prior to painting it with your chosen hue. Sanding will ensure that its adhesive qualities work more effectively against both your furniture and its new paint option.

Before beginning to sand your piece, take time to carefully read through and adhere to the instructions on its primer. This will ensure the best possible outcome.

Once your primer has set, it is time to sand the laminate surface evenly so as to cover all surfaces of the furniture with primer. Be sure to lightly sand any edges so as to help the paint adhere more tightly with its laminate substrate.

Once your furniture has been sanded and the sanding process completed, the next step in painting it should be applying the paint. There are various methods of doing this including using brushes, rollers or spraying with thinned down paint to use with sprayers; I highly suggest trying spraying as it’s often quicker and simpler. When starting out painting furniture I would advise spraying as this method often provides an evener finish than brushing.


Painting furniture can be an easy way to refresh a room and give it a new look, while adding value and adding dimension. Some types of furniture may require extra preparation before beginning this project – laminate is often difficult, as its printed plastic surface covers an underlying substrate of wood or particle board and cannot be easily painted over.

As your first step, remove all hardware and parts you don’t intend to paint from the piece to keep it safe and prevent further damage to it. This step should ensure its preservation.

Protect the surface from paint with decorator’s tape designed specifically for painting projects; this will ensure crisp and clear lines on your painting job.

Next, sand down the laminate surface until it has a dull finish, using finer grade sandpaper than when working with solid wood surfaces. This will ensure that paint will adhere correctly and last for as long as possible.

After sanding, apply primer to the surface of your laminate furniture. This step is especially essential if it has never been painted before as the primer will help the paint adhere more securely to its new home.

Paints typically consist of pigment powders mixed with binder resin (resin), solvent, and additives to provide color, texture or other properties. Some variants contain dyes instead or in addition to pigments for additional coloring effects.

Pigments may be natural or synthetic and come in the form of granular solids such as clays, calcium carbonate, mica, talc or silica.

Some paints contain additives that impart various properties, including gloss, luster, abrasion resistance, heat resistance, anti-corrosion protection and UV stability. Although added in small amounts, their impactful application could significantly enhance performance of the paint itself.

Paint projects require much planning and preparation. Selecting an appropriate paint can have a substantial effect on both its look and its ease of application – and should therefore be given careful consideration when choosing which product to use for each individual piece of artwork or furniture that needs painting.


When painting laminate furniture, it’s essential that the appropriate finish be chosen in order to preserve its appearance and ensure it continues to look new even after many years of use.

Laminate flooring differs from solid wood in that it’s created from several layers of materials bonded together and laminated over top to create a durable surface that’s much smoother. To ensure long-term success with painting laminate surfaces, do your prep work before beginning painting!

Step one of this process should be to clean the surface thoroughly, including taking steps such as taking off any hardware attached to pieces as well as taking any doors or shelves down that might be present.

Sand the surface of your furniture using an even and gentle motion to remove any traces of old paint, varnish or lacquer that might remain. Sanding will also give laminate surfaces a dull surface which will enable paint to adhere more readily.

Once you’ve sanded the surface, it is time to apply a primer. Primer is an oil-based product which provides protection from moisture while helping paint to adhere. Primers are commonly applied on large surfaces like kitchen cabinets or benchtops but smaller areas may also benefit from application of primer.

After applying primer, allow it to set for four hours before beginning to paint! When dry, you are all set!

Refinishing laminate furniture requires any paint that suits its surface type. Latex, chalk, mineral and milk paints are excellent choices.

Zinsser BIN Shellac Primer is the best primer to use and can be found at most home improvement stores.

This high-grade primer will deliver optimal results when painting furniture, helping it adhere well and being simple to apply.

Once your primer has set, it is time to begin painting! At least two coats should do it, though sanding between coats might help create an even finish.

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