General Home Design

How To Paint IKEA Laminate Furniture

If you’ve ever had the chance to shop around at an IKEA store, you may have noticed that quite a lot of their furniture series are made of laminate. This material is great to use for many homes because it is scratch and stain-resistant. However, if you are planning to customize your IKEA laminate furniture, you may find it a little bit challenging and you might be wondering what the best way to paint them is.

How to Paint IKEA Laminate Furniture

  1. Disassemble your IKEA laminate furniture, or start from a brand new unassembled set of furniture.
  2. Lightly scruff up the laminate surface with a medium-grit sanding block.
  3. Apply a coat of shellac-based primer. Leave it to dry.
  4. Apply a few coats of paint on your surface, about 2 coats should suffice. Leave it to dry.
  5. Once your furniture is dry, you can now apply a topcoat on your furniture. Allow your furniture piece to dry and cure.
  6. Re-assemble your furniture according to instructions.

There are also other methods and paints you can use to paint your IKEA laminate furniture. If you’d like to learn more, we’ve compiled all the information you need so continue reading and discover other ways in customizing your IKEA furniture.

Books and vases on retro cabinet next to comfortable sofa with pillows, How To Paint IKEA Laminate Furniture

Giving Color to Your Laminate Furniture

Coffee table and chair are placed on table in art studio. They have been painted with white, yellow, and pink color.

Over the recent years, IKEA has been a top choice for many homeowners when it comes to choosing modern-style furniture for their homes. However, most of IKEA’s flat-pack furniture is sold in a series, making your choice similar to everybody else’s.

The best way to make these furniture choices to become unique is to customize them, either by painting them or doing a few “hacks” to make them look different.

Most of IKEA’s most popular furniture series is made with a laminate surface, making it scratch and stain-resistant. While this is a very important quality for a furniture surface, one disadvantage of having a laminate surface is the difficulty in repainting the piece.

In order to repaint your IKEA laminate furniture, there are certain steps to follow.

How to Paint IKEA Laminate Furniture

Materials Needed:

  • Medium-grit sanding paper and/or sanding block
  • Tack cloth or damp rag
  • Paint brushes, foam rollers or paint spray gun
  • Shellac-based primer
  • Paint of your choice
  • Polycrylic topcoat


1. Disassemble the parts

Led TV on TV stand with black wall

If you already have an assembled piece, start by disassembling the parts in order to paint all the surfaces evenly. If you cannot disassemble, try to at least remove all handles, pulls, or legs and work with them separately.

However, if you already have a color choice with which you’d like to paint your new IKEA furniture, it would be best to start with an unassembled set.

2. Scruff up the surface

Lightly scruff up your surface by using a medium-grit sanding paper or block. Wipe away the sanding dust with a tack cloth or a damp rag to remove all the debris from the surface.

Scruffing up the surface of your laminate furniture will give your primer something to hold on to.

3. Prime the surface

Prime the surface of your laminate furniture. One of the best ways to apply your shellac-based primer is to use a foam roller in order to have an even layer on your surface.

Start with one coat of primer and let it dry completely. Usually, one coat of primer is enough, but if you’d like to sand your primer a little bit and add another coat, you are free to do so! Just make sure to follow the primer manufacturer’s instructions for the drying time.

4. Paint the piece

When your primer is thoroughly dry, you may now start painting your piece. You may need multiple coats of paint for your furniture—just make sure to give it time to dry in between coats.

If you have visible drips or very prominent brushstrokes that you want to clean up, you may sand your painted surface and paint over another layer to make it clean and smooth.

5. Leave to dry

Leave your furniture pieces to completely dry. This will depend on the temperature and the humidity of your place.

In order to make the painted surface last longer, the paint should be very dry to the touch.

6. Apply topcoat

When your furniture pieces are completely dry, you may now put on a layer of topcoat.

Allow to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For optimum quality, you should leave your furniture to dry and cure completely.

7. Re-assemble the piece

When the topcoat is completely cured and dried, you many now re-assemble or start assembling your brand new customized IKEA laminate furniture.

Can You Paint IKEA Laminate Furniture Without Sanding It?

Close up detail of drawer cabinet

Sometimes, you may find yourself unable to sand or scruff up your IKEA’s laminate surface. You may be in a rush to have your furniture repainted, or you don’t have the materials to do this sanding job.

One of the questions many people ask is if it is possible to paint over the IKEA laminate furniture without having to sand the surface. The quick answer to this question is yes, you can paint over your IKEA furniture without sanding.

Skipping out on this step in painting your IKEA furniture doesn’t mean that your project won’t be a success. The best way to make sure that your paint will adhere completely to your laminate furniture is to use the right primer for your surface and apply it correctly.

Apply Primer First

When painting over a laminate surface, the best primer you can use is a shellac-based primer. This primer is particularly forgiving for all surfaces even without sanding, plus it dries fast, seals stains, and adheres to any kind of paint you may choose.

It also works with any topcoat of your choice, making it a very versatile primer to use for a painting job. Shellac-based primers are also very easy to apply. You only need one coat to completely prime your furniture surface, but it wouldn’t hurt to add another layer if you wish to do so.

It is best to use a foam roller to put a layer on your laminate surface because it applies evenly and thoroughly using this method. Do note that shellac primers may not work with a spray gun, so stick to using regular foam rollers or paintbrushes.

Get this shellac-based primer on Amazon.

What Kind Of Paint Do You Use On Laminate Furniture?

Paint cans and paintbrush

After you’ve prepped and primed your IKEA laminate furniture, you may be wondering what kind of paint you should use to paint over it. To make it easier, you can generally use any kind of paint you’d like on your IKEA furniture, but latex-based paints work best.

We also have a more detailed article you can read through if you’d like to learn more about the best paints to use with your IKEA furniture: What’s The Best Paint For IKEA Furniture

Get this polycrylic topcoat on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

Beautiful wooden worktop and wooden panel on white kitchen cabinet with island kitchen

Painting your IKEA laminate furniture is easy to do, as long as you follow all the right steps. Since laminate furniture is very smooth, any paint that you apply over it may not adhere to it properly.

The proper way to paint and customize IKEA laminate furniture is to prep, prime, paint, and seal the pieces to achieve optimum quality. Following these steps will ensure that your pieces will look beautiful and last for a very long time.

Trying to look for more color scheme ideas for your home to match your newly painted furniture? We have a few awesome articles that might inspire you:

15 Awesome Living Room Color Schemes

What Is Most The Popular Color For The Living Room?