How to Paint Fake Laminate Wood

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Things You'll Need

  • Palm sander or sandpaper sponge

  • 220- to 240-grit sandpaper

  • Tack cloth

  • Primer/sealer

  • Foam brushes or rollers

  • Eggshell-finish paint

  • Polyurethane coating or varnish

  • Cloth

Wood laminate furniture is often the epitome of an impulse purchase. You love it when it first arrives at your house, and it fills its desired function. But after a few months or even years, the artificial look of the laminate gets dated and desperately needs a push into modernity. You can update your laminate wood furniture at home. With a quick trip to a home improvement store, you can give your dated furniture a 21st-century makeover.


Step 1

Sand the furniture with 220-grit sandpaper using a palm sander or sandpaper sponge. This will remove the varnish and sheen of the laminate. Disassemble the piece of furniture that you're painting if you can. It will make it much easier to get into small corners and crevices.


Step 2

Wipe down the sanded furniture with a tack cloth, removing all dust, dirt and other particles from its surface.

Step 3

Apply one coat of primer to the furniture in long, even strokes with a 2-inch foam brush or a foam roller for larger pieces of furniture. The furniture will be dry to the touch in a few hours, but the primer and sealer will not set fully for five to seven days. You will not receive the best results unless you allot these five days for drying.


Step 4

Apply eggshell-finish paint (in your desired color) in long, even strokes with a 2-inch foam brush or foam roller. You may need two coats of paint, depending on the original color of your furniture. Let the paint dry overnight.

Step 5

Thinly coat the painted furniture with a polyurethane varnish if the furniture will see a lot of use and wear. Use a wipe-on varnish, such as Zar or Minwax. Apply it with a cloth, for the easiest and most even application.


Leave ample time for drying. The difference it makes in the final finish of the furniture is important. Use a clear varnish that will not affect the color of you paint.


Apply all paint and varnish in well-ventilated areas.



Darren White

Darren White is a third-year student studying photography and art history at Haverford College. Raised in the Philadelphia area, he has followed its art scene for some time, which has influenced his column, The Fashion File, that he writes for the "Bi-Co News." He also writes, edits and photographs for Haverford's fashion magazine, "Feathers & Fur."