Painting Laminate Furniture

We all have it. No one wants to admit it. We keep it hidden away.

It’s laminate furniture. Not even real laminate, but that stuff that is just the equivalent of shelf paper over particle board. And not good paper or good particle board.


Yeah…that stuff.

So, what can you do to make it looks new and fresh? Paint it!

We had some cabinets of cheap laminate that had been purchased for Bob’s workshop area. The two pieces fit together to form a chest type arrangement. and served their purpose very well providing a place for him to put his various parts that he needed for his mad scientist work.

Aside: I don’t know what he creates in that workshop – nor do I want to know. Some things are better left unknown. All I do know is that on occasion motorized toy cars and such emerge. Boys and their toys.

Anyway, back to the laminate furniture. The fake wood laminate had not fared well in the move – scratches, gouges and rubs. It was not something we wanted to reuse. The internet to the rescue! I did some searches on painting laminate furniture and and found that it was possible to paint it and have it look nice and be functional.


Even though the cabinet itself was brown, the inside of the drawers were white.  Win!


First, I took all the handles off, removed the shelves and doors and gave it a good sanding with my DeWalt random orbital sander using 120 grit sandpaper. You don’t need to sand all the finish off, just enough to knock down the sheen and and rough up the surface.


Once that was done, I wiped everything down with a damp cloth and vacuumed, vacuumed, vacuumed.

Now everything was ready for painting.

I placed the flat pieces – shelves and doors on painter triangles to keep them off the drop cloth AND make it easier to flip them and paint the other side without having to wait for the first side to dry completely.

I used the same paint I am using for the trim in the house – Valspar Signature Semi Gloss in Snowcap. It has a primer built in so thought I’d give it a try in this piece. I fully expected to have to scape off the paint start over by applying a primer first and repaint, but the paint is awesome and stood up to it’s promise.


I painted the pieces using a foam roller and a finishing brush to get the corners and smaller areas. Each piece got two coats and I let each coat dry for 48 hours before the next coat.

After the final coat I reassembled everything and let the paint cure for a week before actually putting anything in or on it.

What a transformation from that ugly beat up brown, fake wood grain. Plus with the interior of the cabinet white, it makes it easier for Bob to see exactly what is in there – not like looking into a cave anymore.


Best part – Cost = $0!

We had the cabinet, I had the paint and reused the hardware. A win all the way around.


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