HOW TO PAINT LAMINATE FURNITURE

Painting a beloved, but perhaps slightly dated, piece of laminate furniture empowers you to easily freshen up your space—without spending a lot of money.

Two images, the first is a wood dresser cabinet, the second is a painted dresser cabinet.
Can you paint laminate? Yes—and it’s actually quite simple. Follow our step-by-step guide on how to paint laminate furniture, including project-specific tips for painting laminate cabinets, desks, coffee tables, bookshelves and dressers.

Key Watchout

You cannot stain laminate, since it is not real wood. However, you can easily paint it, as outlined in the steps on this page.
In this video, learn how to prep an paint laminate furniture for an easy upgrade.

What is Laminate

Often called “fake wood,” laminate furniture is made of a synthetic material, usually plastic, that is used to create a thin exterior layer on furniture or other surfaces. Unlike natural, solid wood, laminate is created by layering and bonding different materials together.
Cleaning surface of a dresser cabinet with a wet rag. Cleaning surface of a dresser cabinet with a wet rag.

Step #1: Clean the Furniture

Clean the surface of the piece you are painting thoroughly using a wet rag to ensure there is no dirt or debris on the furniture.

Scraping off of the wood surface with a piece of sandpaper. Scraping off of the wood surface with a piece of sandpaper.

Step #2: Sand the Laminate

Sand the piece using 220-grit sandpaper in sweeping motions up and down the entire surface area. Vacuum the debris and wipe with a microfibre towel.

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

Step #3: Prime the Furniture

With a high-quality paintbrush or fine finish roller, apply primer evenly to the entire surface of the piece. We recommend INSL-X® STIX® Primer. Let dry completely.

Close up surface of a cabinet is painted green. Close up surface of a cabinet is painted green.

Step #4: Paint the Furniture

Apply an even coat of paint to the furniture with a brush: Either ADVANCE® Interior Paint or INSL-X® Cabinet Coat will get the job done. Let dry completely. You may need to apply an additional coat or two of paint to achieve the desired smoothness of your finished piece. Make sure you let each coat dry completely before applying another. Wait one day between coats for best results.

Tips for Painting Different Types of Laminate Furniture


  • Painting Laminate Cabinets
    • For best results, remove doors and lay them flat to paint, as opposed to painting upright.
    • Remove the hinges before you start the painting process. Make sure to re-apply once the paint is completely dry.

  • Painting Laminate Desks
    • Remove drawers before painting. When painting the drawer, painting the interior is optional, but it is typical to paint the interior face of the drawer.
    • Place smaller pieces legs up on a workbench or other elevated surface. Remove any hardware, if possible, before you start painting. Cover the bench or surface and the surrounding floor. Work in a downward motion on a flipped piece (meaning legs first).

  • Painting Laminate Dressers / Bookshelves
    • Remove drawers before painting. When painting the drawer, painting the interior is optional, but it is typical to paint the interior face of the drawer.
    • Position larger pieces like bookshelves away from walls and over drop cloths. Always watch for drips and runs, especially at joints, corners and fine woodworking details.

  • Painting Laminate Coffee Tables / Any Table
    • For heavier or larger pieces, work in a downward motion toward the legs.



From a vintage piece to a brand new purchase, Benjamin Moore® products can help you spruce up any laminated piece to bring a fresh new look to your space. You can also easily paint other types of indoor furniture to freshen things up in your home.

Not sure what colour to paint your laminate dresser, cabinet, bookshelf, desk or table? It’s easy to choose your ideal shade with the Benjamin Moore Color Portfolio app, where you can match the colour of your favourite scarf, sofa or other beloved piece to a paint colour perfect for your laminate furniture in need of an update.

Get More DIY Help

If you have more questions, talk to the experts at your local Benjamin Moore store.

Thinking about more DIY projects? Explore our How-To section, which offers tips and tricks for a wide variety of interior and outdoor DIY projects, as well as our DIY section.