House Grail is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How to Paint Laminate Furniture in 6 Easy Steps (with Pictures)

painting laminate

Have you ever looked at laminate furniture and wondered if there was a way to make it look more appealing? The ugly brown oak laminate is too much, right? There’s an easy solution. Just paint it!

Besides, this is a common trick to remodel and fix laminate furniture, transforming it into real works of art. Also, you’ll be improving and protecting them from everyday wear.

Painting laminate furniture can be tricky if you don’t know. But, it’s easy if you know the tricks of the trade.

In this article, we look at how to paint laminate furniture in six easy steps!

divider 1 Before You Start

Follow the below steps before you begin painting your laminate furniture.

  • Take off any handles or knobs from the furniture. You can use a screwdriver to remove them. If you cannot remove the handles, make sure you tape them up with masking tape. This way, paint does not get on them.
  • Clean the furniture surface, removing any dirt and grime present. Use mild soap and water for this. Make sure you dry the surface before moving on to the next step.
  • Remove any oxidation from the surface of your furniture by sanding it lightly with medium-grit sandpaper. This step is necessary even if the surface looks smooth. There may be imperfections that will prevent the primer and paint from adhering to the laminate surface. Use a tack cloth to remove any dust after sanding.
laminated cabinet in the living room
Image By: keresi72, Pixabay

What Tools Do You Need?

You don’t need many tools to get this project done. Most of the tools are already in your house.

The only tools that you might not have in your household are the ones for applying seals and paints.  But, regardless, here is a list of the different tools you will need to complete this project:

Latex paint is the easiest to work with when painting laminate furniture. It’s because it allows for easier clean-up. Also, it won’t make your furniture sticky for years to come like oil-based paints.

Put on a dust mask and protective eyewear before beginning. This project requires working with a solvent-based primer. The paint may contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

They can cause severe health problems if inhaled or absorbed through the skin. It’s always better to be safe than sorry—wear protection!

divider 5

Step-By-Step Guide for Painting Laminate Furniture

1. Use wood filler to fill in any dents in the furniture

putting wood filler on a cracked wood
Image By: Oasishifi, Shutterstock

Filling any larger holes in your laminate furniture with wood filler will give a more even paint job rather than a rough texture.

You’ll need a putty knife, wood filler, and a brush or cloth for this step. Use the putty knife to apply a thin layer of wood filler over any dents on the surface.

Smooth out the wood filler. Ensure it’s even with the rest of the surface using either a cloth or brush. Give it two to three hours to dry before proceeding.

Then, sand it again with fine-grit sandpaper until smooth. Clean the furniture with soap and water. After that, wipe down with rubbing alcohol to remove any dirt or debris.

2. Spread a tarp down in a well-aerated spot

The tarp ensures that no paint or primer spills on the floor. Move your laminate furniture on the tarp. If you don’t have a tarp, you can use a newspaper or polythene.

Also, you can paint the laminate furniture outside if the weather is conducive. Wear clothes that you don’t mind getting paint on. Also, wear a mask and gloves if you’re sensitive to chemicals.

3. Apply a premium quality latex primer to the surface of the furniture

Use a latex primer specifically formulated for use on laminate surfaces. It’ll help your paint adhere better and give you a better quality finish.

Apply at least two coats of primer for the best results. Use a synthetic bristle brush. Allow each layer of primer to dry completely in line with the packet instructions before applying extra layers. You can paint over laminate with no primer but your paint will not adhere well. You’ll end up with a sloppy mess that will start peeling in no time.

4. Use 220-grit sandpaper to sand the primed surface

Sanding is crucial as it helps the paint stick to the laminate. You can use 220-grit sandpaper or a sanding sponge. The higher the number of grit, the finer the sandpaper you should use, and the smoother your results will be.

If you’re using a sanding sponge, make sure it’s labeled “medium” or “fine.” It will smooth out any brush strokes and allow you to get a good finish after painting.

Ensure that you are sanding lightly. This way, you won’t create any dents in your furniture but only remove some of the roughness left from priming and painting. Wipe down with a damp rag to remove any dust from sanding before applying paint.

5. Apply the first coat of acrylic latex paint using a roller or brush

Use acrylic latex paint to protect your laminate furniture from future damage. When painting, use short even strokes going in the same direction.

Allow it to dry completely before applying the next coat. Repeat until you’re satisfied with the coverage and finish. Allow an hour for each coat to dry (and two hours for the last coat).

Check the drying directions of the paint you’re using because some paints take longer to dry. If you’re using latex paint that isn’t pre-tinted, mix in some universal colorant. It’ll give you your desired shade.

6. Allow the newly-painted laminate furniture to cure

After you’ve finished painting your furniture, you might be wondering how long it will take for it to dry.

Oil-based paints can take anywhere from 6 to 24 hours to dry, while latex only needs about an hour or two.

If you want to speed up the drying process, you can use a hairdryer. But, avoid getting too close with it or using a high heat setting as this could cause your paint to wrinkle. The best thing is to allow the paint to dry naturally.

Once the laminate furniture is dry, re-attach the knobs or handles you had removed. You can add a paint sealer to the furniture surface as soon as the last coat desiccates.

divider 4

Why Paint Laminate Furniture?

Laminate furniture is inexpensive and durable. So, it’s an excellent choice if you’re furnishing a home on a budget. But the laminate can be boring with brown or fake wood finish, and it doesn’t fit every decorating style. This is one reason you may want to paint it.

Another major reason could be to seal the wear and tear and make the furniture new again.

Fortunately, it’s easy to paint laminate furniture as we have discussed in the steps above. The key is preparation. Laminate has a shiny finish. If you try to paint directly on it, the paint will not adhere well, and you’ll see the paint bubble up as soon as you apply it.

white paint
Image Credit: tookapic, Pixabay

What’s the Difference between Wood Laminate and Veneer?

Can you can tell whether your furniture is laminate or veneer. Learn the distinct differences here.

Wood Laminate

Laminate is made of layers of pressed plywood covered with printed paper and a plastic-top layer. This top layer can be printed to mimic any wood design and color you like.

Then, the entire laminate piece is bonded together using heat and pressure to seal it all together. It makes for a solid and durable surface that will stand up well to everyday use.

Laminate is also easy to care for. It resists staining and moisture damage. So, if your countertops get damaged from water or food spills, laminate won’t show signs of wear as other materials will.

Wood Veneer

Wood veneer is a thin layer of real wood that’s glued to another material, such as particleboard or MDF. It’s like the peel on an orange, with a thick surface disguising a thin one.

Wood veneer is made by slicing sheets of solid wood into thin layers. The veneer finish has become popular. It’s because it’s more cost-effective than using solid wood for large surfaces.

Veneer vs. Laminate Furniture

So, what’s the difference between wood veneer and laminate? They are similar in many ways. But there are some crucial differences you should know about before you buy a piece of furniture or begin a remodeling project.

One of the biggest differences between veneer and laminate furniture is their appearance. Veneer furniture may look better because it’s made from real wood.

But if you’re looking for a lower-cost option, laminate is less expensive. Durability and price are also factors that separate laminate from veneer. It’s more costly to buy veneer furniture than laminate furniture.

Sometimes though laminated pieces can cost more depending on how they were constructed. Both types of furniture can last for many years with proper care.

If you have children or pets at home, consider buying a piece of laminate furniture over veneer. It’s because it’s more resistant to scratching and scuffing.

divider 7


A laminate furniture is an excellent option for many people. It saves people hundreds of dollars every year compared to real wood.

Once your laminate table or dresser begins to show wear and tear, it’s time to bring it back to life with some actual paint! Painting not only extends longevity, but it also gives it a new look.

We hope you have enjoyed these tips on how to paint laminate furniture to an amazing finish. Now, you can create a stunning piece of furniture by repainting with our step-by-step guide.

Featured Image Credit: safakcakir, Shutterstock


Related posts

OUR categories

Project ideas

Hand & power tools