Yes, you can paint laminate furniture! This has been questioned for a long time, primarily because of the fact that it can’t really be sanded (this can damage the laminate which is a lot thinner than veneer) and therefore people have struggled with paint peeling off. In fact the most important thing you need to paint laminate furniture is a good quality primer, the second most important thing you need is a good quality primer – said in my best Fight Club voice 😉
I generally tend to stay away from laminate furniture purely because it is a cheaper product and I much prefer sturdy, solid wood pieces if I can get them. However, I came across two of these laminate hutches at a yard sale last summer, they were pretty cheap and nasty looking with the typical ‘wood effect’ laminate but I could immediately see that one of them would be exactly what I needed for the laundry room makeover that I was planning.
When it comes to painting laminate, the process isn’t too different to the other pieces I’ve updated, I took the doors and hardware off and had already decided that I wasn’t going to use the glass doors on the top so I put these to one side for a future project. I gave the whole thing a good scrub as it was pretty dirty, and then skipped the sanding step that would usually provide a good surface for any paint to stick to, this is where the
Fight Club primer mantra comes into play, using a really good quality primer allows you to paint a lot off different materials and surfaces, providing the adhesion usually helped along with sanding. I used Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 primer for this hutch, I also went with 2 coats as it was my first time both painting laminate and using this primer and I wanted to make doubly sure that it worked 🙂 and it worked great!
After the two coats of primer, I applied two coats of a soft grey (I forget the exact shade) Glidden latex paint, using a roller rather than a brush for the second coat as I wanted a softer, smoother finish on this. I used an antique white paint for detail on the bottom door frames and gave the whole thing a coat of poly. Then I decided to try my hand at using stencils 🙄, never again lol I may be really good at seeing untapped potential in junky furniture, bringing that potential out and producing great items that people actually want to pay me for, but applying stencils in a straight line? Umm…..nope, not so much! It appears that my inner level is broken and as you can see, its slightly wonky.
As this piece was just for me and not a customer I decided that I could live with it, for now, and it sits quite happily in my laundry room, wonkiness and all :).
Have you painted a laminate project piece? I’d love to see what you’ve all done! Comment below and let me know.