Hey ya'll. So, when we moved into our house 3 years ago, we had two hot pink couches and a mattress on the floor. I was living the high life. And that's about the time when I began my journey of finding old thrift store furniture and painting it.
Now three years later, I've painted and repurposed tons of furniture, my entire house is pretty much furnished with my finds, and I write a blog about doing just that.
That was never really my plan, but in the end, I wouldn't change a thing.
Anyways, this last week a good family friend was moving and gifted me a bunch of furniture that was in his basement. While the majority of the dresser was real wood, the top and sides were laminate. I was excited by this discovery because I get all sorts of questions about how to paint laminate furniture, and I knew this would be a great opportunity to talk about it.
So, today's post is about how to paint laminate furniture. And actually, this method of painting furniture is so easy and can be used on all wood furniture, not just the laminate stuff.
In fact, I paint the majority of my pieces this way.
So, here is what I brought home earlier last month...a trailer full of free furniture.
I decided to start with the smaller dresser first (although I eventually painted the larger one, too.)
Here's the before picture.
The dresser was in great shape, and was a perfect paint candidate. After just a couple hours of work, here is what I ended up with. I think it may be my favorite yet.
Or at least a good rival to my all-time favorite. It's hard to compete with that one.
So let's talk about the actual process of painting. One of the most common questions I get about painting laminate furniture is if it should be sanded first. In my experience, no. Sanding laminate furniture can damage the laminate and basically ruin the piece. So, be careful.
But good news. Rather than sanding the laminate, all you have to do to get the paint to adhere correctly is prime.
The reason you should prime your laminate furniture first before painting is simple. Laminate has a shiny finish and if you just try to paint directly on it, the paint will not adhere well and you'll visibly see the paint bubble up as soon as you apply it. I've made this mistake before, and it's a sad moment. The solution is primer. Primer will adhere to the laminate, and it will create a surface that your paint can adhere to. It will keep your paint from scratching or peeling off, it will cover up the wood stain, and it will even cover up that musty smell old furniture tends to have. Basically, primer is awesome.
The primer I usually use is Zinsser primer (affiliate link). I've also used Kilz, and it works really well, too. Just look for a primer that says it's good for adhesion.
Once you allow your primer to dry (You probably only need to wait a couple hours, but I let it dry overnight.), it's time to paint the dresser. I was able to do the entire dresser with one small $3 sample of Behr flat paint in Marina Isle. It's my new favorite paint color. It looks amazing on furniture and is the perfect little aqua. To apply the paint you'll need an angled paintbrush and a small foam roller. I use the angled paintbrush to get into all the crevices and corners, and then I smooth over everything with the small foam roller as I go, getting rid of any brushmarks. This will give you a flawless, factory-like, smooth finish. I did 2 coats, allowing it to fully dry between coats.
And yes, I literally put a tarp on my bedroom floor and had a paint party.
I live on the edge.
Once your paint has dried, it's time to seal it. This is the last step. I needed this piece to be really durable because it is going in the laundry/dressing room...aka the crappy side room in my bedroom that has an ironing board in it. I just know there will be a hot iron, soggy towel, or blob of soapy detergent on this dresser at some point. So rather than wax it like I do to my chalk paint pieces (like this one), I decided to use polycrylic. If you need your paint job to be durable, go with polycrylic (affiliate link). Polycrylic is great because it's durable like Polyurethane, but it doesn't yellow over time and it's really low-odor. To apply your polycrylic, just brush it on with a high quality paint brush. I did 2 coats, allowing it to dry for several hours in between. If you can see any brushmarks, or if you just feel that it might need it, you can sand lightly with fine grit sand paper once the polycrylic is dry.
After the dresser was fully cured (about 24 hours), it was time to change the hardware. Changing the hardware is one of the best ways to update old furniture. Although the old hardware wasn't bad, and could have been easily updated with a coat of silver or ORB spray paint (seen here), I had a little something special up my sleeve.
After finishing up my kitchen cabinets and being thrilled with the hardware from D. Lawless, I was browsing their store and found that they had an amazing selection of antique restoration hardware. I had been looking for something like this for a really long time, and was so excited.
It took me forever to decide, too, because there were tons to choose from. I eventually chose the stamped solid embellished brass bail pull.
Now brace yourself.
These pulls were only $3.45.
Oh, and I got that little crystal knob, too. They have so many glass and acrylic knobs. It's a hardware lover's paradise.
The pulls were originally brass, but I wanted to spray paint them silver. So, I attached one spray painted pull and one brass pull, and stared at it confused for a day or two. I just couldn't decide. Here's a really bad night time iphone pic to satisfy your curiosity. You'll hafta squint. The gold pull looked really chic and reminded me of my favorite kitchen island ever, but it just looked off when combined with the other furniture in the room. So, ultimately, I decided to spray paint the hardware.
And now that all is said and done, I'm so glad I did. It looks amazing now, and feels like it just fits in the room.
You can get a better idea of what this room looks like (and witness all my decorating mistakes) here.
Since I didn't want the pulls to be bright chrome, I decided to layer some spray paints. I sprayed the hardware first with the Rust-Oleum Bright Coat Chrome and then gave it a really fine misting with the Rust-Oleum Universal Pure Gold (affiliate links). I love the result. It ended up being a really pretty pewter, and because it has some dimension to it, it doesn't look so spray painted.
I really think the blue paint and fancy new hardware totally made this piece.
I added a few thrifty details to style the top of the dresser...a little gold mirrored tray that I found for a few dollars at a thrift store years ago.
And a couple thrift store vases filled with some mini roses.
And then that mirror. I got it at Costco for $22. It's apparently supposed to be an outdoor mirror...
because that's what the box said.
But I make the rules around here. :)
And that's pretty much all for today, ya'll!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
P.S. This dresser ended up going through some major changes later this year, which can be seen here.
P.P.S. I know many of you have questions about chalk paint, so you might want to also check out this post.
or this post where I answer the top 5 furniture paint questions!
That's all for today! 'Til next time!