How to paint laminate furniture : Step by Step guide

How to paint laminate furniture : Step by Step guide

By choosing to paint a laminate piece of furniture that is dear to you, but whose dated appearance leaves something to be desired, you kill two birds with one stone by refreshing your space inexpensively and with ease.

Can I paint laminate? To this question, we answer “yes and more easily than you might think”. Follow the steps in this practical guide to learn how to paint furniture, but also laminate cabinets, desks, coffee tables, shelves and dressers.

List of items required: painting laminate furniture

checkmark icon  Cloth
checkmark icon  Water
checkmark icon  Dry cloth
checkmark icon  Medium grit sandpaper (220 or finer)
checkmark icon  Brush or finishing roller fine hair
checkmark icon  Primer STIX ® for INSL-X ®
checkmark icon   Interior Paint ADVANCE ® gold Cabinet Coat of INSL-X ®

What is laminate?

Often referred to as “faux wood,” laminate consists of a synthetic material, usually plastic, which is used to create a thin outer film on furniture or other surface. Unlike natural hardwood, laminate is created by layering and bonding different materials.

Step 1: Clean the cabinet

Thoroughly clean the furniture you plan to paint with a wet cloth to make sure there is no dirt or other particles left.

Step 1: Clean the cabinet

Step 2: Sand the furniture

Sand the entire cabinet with 220-grit sandpaper in a sweeping motion up and down. Vacuum the particles, then wipe down the furniture with a microfiber cloth.

Sand the wooden surface with a piece of sandpaper.

Step 3: Prime the furniture

With a brush or a bristle finishing roll for quality, apply a coat of primer on all the furniture – we recommend the primer STIX ® for INSL-X ® – and let dry completely.

Applying a primer to the surface of a dresser in a room with white walls.

Step 4: Paint the furniture

Brush on an even coat of paint, then let dry completely. The interior paint ADVANCE ® or cabinet Coat of INSL-X ® will give you the desired results. You may need to apply one or two more coats to get a perfectly smooth finish, but be careful to allow the furniture to dry thoroughly before applying a new coat. Wait a full day between layers for the best results.

A close up of the surface of a green painted dresser.

Tips for painting different laminate surfaces

  • Laminate cabinets
  • For best results, remove the doors and lay them flat (not vertical) to paint.
  • Remove the hinges before painting the cabinets, then wait until the paint is completely dry before replacing them.
  • Laminate desks
  • Remove the drawers. It is not mandatory to paint the inside of the drawers, but be aware that it is customary to paint the inside.
  • Lay small parts on a work bench or other raised surface, making sure they are facing up. If possible, remove metal items before painting the desk. Cover the bench or surface with a drop cloth as well as the surrounding floor. Apply the paint from top to bottom on each of the upward facing pieces (so on the legs first).
  • Laminate dressers / shelves
  • Remove the drawers. It is not mandatory to paint the inside of the drawers, but be aware that it is customary to paint the inside.
  • Remove larger items, such as shelves, from the wall and place them on a drop cloth. Pay attention to the slides, especially the joints, in the corners and on finely crafted elements.
  • Living room tables or any other laminate table
  • For heavier or bulky pieces, apply the paint from top to bottom (towards the legs).
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Laminate Furniture Dos and Dont’s

Use a high tack primer like STIX ® from INSL-X ® which offers powerful adhesion properties to all surfaces, even those with a glossy finish such as laminate.

Use sandpaper finer than 220 grit.

Sand the glossy surface to roughen it before painting.
Avoid staining laminate.

Avoid painting a dirty surface – make sure it is clean first.

Avoid skipping the sanding step, which is especially important due to the fact that a laminate surface is synthetic and lustrous.

Avoid over-sanding. Laminate consists of thin sheets, so be careful not to puncture the top sheet when sanding.



Whether it’s a period piece, a brand new purchase, or another laminate item, Benjamin Moore ® products can help revive the sparkle and revamp your decor. You can also easily paint other types of interior furniture to renew your space.

Not sure which color to use on your dresser, cabinets, shelves, desk or table? The Benjamin Moore Color Portfolio  app lets you choose your favorite color by reproducing the color of your scarf, sofa or other item in the color that will perfectly match the laminate furniture you want to refresh.

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