How to Paint Laminate Furniture

Posted on: 3 April 2017


It's great to find a piece of old furniture that you think will look great in your home and give it new life. A lot of times people will look for older pieces that are solid wood, as they are easy to sand down, stain or even paint. However, some may overlook a laminate piece of furniture, thinking it cannot be redone. The truth is that it can also be updated to give it a more modern look that will easily fit in with your home's decor. See below for instructions on how to paint a laminate piece of furniture.

Tools and Materials:

  • Palm sander or piece of sandpaper (course and fine grit)
  • Piece of laminate furniture
  • All purpose cleaner
  • Clean towels or rags
  • Oil-based primer
  • Paint (acrylic, milk, chalk - any type you prefer)
  • Rollers and paintbrushes


  1. To start, you'll need to prep the surface of the piece of furniture. Begin by sanding the piece using a coarse grit sandpaper (about 150 grit), working to remove as much of the shine on the piece as possible. 
  2. Next, clean the piece using the all-purpose cleaner. You can use something like TSP, but remember that you'll need to rinse it after using TSP. Wipe down the surface of the furniture to remove any sanding dust, then wipe your hand across the surface to be sure you removed all of the dust particles. If you still feel any, be sure to clean it a little more thoroughly.
  3. Apply the primer next using a foam roller, which then can be thrown away. A foam roller won't leave marks like a brush will. Apply the primer in thin even coats. Then allow it to dry. The primer will help the paint adhere better to the surface. Failing to use a primer can result in the paint peeling off easily.
  4. Once the primer is dry, use any type of paint you prefer to paint the surface of your laminate piece. Milk and chalk paints can give the piece a vintage feel, while acrylic paints can make the piece look more modern or traditional. After applying the coats of paint, use a top coat such as a wax for the chalk paint or a clear polyurethane for the acrylic paint. The top coat will help protect the painted surface.
  5. Allow the piece to cure for at least 24 hours before putting anything on it (such as decor or any other objects).

Don't overlook those laminate pieces of furniture at the consignment shop or at antique stores, as they can also be updated to give them a new look and new life. Check out stores like Surroundings Fine Consignments For Your Home in your area to get started.