• 5 min read

How to paint glossy and smooth laminate furniture?

From kitchen cabinets to custom wardrobes - there are so many pieces of furniture with a smooth panel or glossy laminate surface. This is simply because laminate offers lightness and good durability at an affordable price.

But what if you want to renew or just change the color of these pieces of furniture?

Then painting laminate furniture comes into play. So is it a practical option - or even possible?

Read how we answer this question and tell you how painting laminate furniture produces the best possible end result.

Can laminate furniture be painted?

When it comes to upcycling or just converting furniture, some people think that success is only possible with wooden furniture.

In a way, it's easy to understand why. Shiny or very smooth surfaces do not give paint good adhesion, so solid wood furniture seems like a better option.

In fact, however, painting glossy furniture is totally possible - and it's not even particularly difficult with just a few tips and advice!

Painting is all about the right kind of preparation and choosing the right products

Choose a paint with good adhesion, one designed for use on glossy laminate surfaces.

In this way, special primers are not needed, which reduces both costs and time.

Frenchic's Al Fresco series , Lazy Range and Trim Paint series are the ideal solution.

You don't need toxic primers or special primers, so the Frenchic series is the right choice for painting, for example, IKEA-style furniture or kitchen cabinets with a laminate surface.

The use of such 'Self Priming' paint means that glossy laminate surfaces can be painted in the same way as other surfaces.

Provided, of course, that you prepare them thoroughly in advance, which brings us to the next topic...

How to paint laminate surfaces?

The process of painting laminate surfaces is no different from painting other furniture - it all depends on the preparations.

The video and guide on surface preparation provides detailed step-by-step instructions, but these are the two main important steps....

Clean and dry
Whether you're painting high-gloss kitchen cabinets or a laminate nightstand, the first step is to make sure the surface is super clean, using a good degreasing detergent like Sugar Soap .

Mix one part detergent to ten parts warm water, apply liberally with a cloth or sponge, then wipe or scrub vigorously from the bottom up to avoid run-off. Finally, rinse off the detergent residue with fresh water. Finally, let the surfaces dry completely.

Rough it up
Next comes sanding. This step is vital as it removes the glossy finish and creates a roughened and cloudy surface that maximizes paint adhesion. It is worth noting that the glossier the surface, the more thorough sanding is necessary.

You don't need to use an electric sander - a thorough hand sanding is usually enough, so a sanding sponge or paper are a good option. Roughen the entire surface thoroughly with medium to fine sandpaper or a sanding sponge, then wipe off the sanding dust.

Paint at least twice
Only paint a clean and dry surface. Follow the drying times of the layers, check them on the side of the paint can before starting.

Painting and curing

For the actual painting, you can use a brush , roller or paint sprayer, depending on your preference and the type of furniture to be painted. Rollers are quick to use for larger, flat surfaces and spray paint for larger projects. However, the paint needs to be diluted with water by about 5-10% if you use a sprayer, which may mean additional coats are needed.

The usual advice applies to painting, such as taping the edges, long and even brushstrokes, and using the right amount of paint to avoid an uneven paint surface. See our guide for more detailed instructions on painting furniture.

Another thing to remember is the curing time of the paint

All paints take some time to fully harden.

So handle the freshly painted surface carefully during the first weeks, when the hardening process is in progress and the paint is still soft and fresh.

You will notice a huge difference in durability when you let the paint surface dry according to the instructions.

How to paint laminate furniture without sanding?

When it comes to laminate furniture, one of the most common questions is whether a shiny, slippery and smooth surface can be painted without sanding.

Quite simply, people want to skip some of the pre-treatment, but still get the same, great and durable end result.

We'll keep it short and sweet - if you neglect to prepare, prepare to fail.

Sanding is so important when painting laminate furniture because the roughened surface improves grip, which means better adhesion and greater durability.

If you skip sanding or washing, things may look good right after painting, but you run the risk of the paint scratching, chipping, and not lasting.

What laminate furniture can I paint?

When you know how to paint laminate furniture, many possibilities open up for your home.

Laminate furniture has grown in popularity over the past couple of decades, and most people have at least one piece of furniture in their home - if not more.

Popular ones include built-in wardrobes, sliding door cabinets, chests of drawers, bookshelves, kitchen cabinet doors, shelves, TV tables and desks.


Another advantage of painting furniture is that you can match different pieces of furniture together, regardless of their original color.

It can be, for example, a coffee table and a TV stand that have been moved to one of the different rooms.

Or you can even attach units together, on top of each other or in series.

Even if the furniture is initially incompatible, the situation changes when they are combined into one large unit with the help of the same paint shade: you can build wonderful and unique entities.

Add moldings to the surface of the laminate furniture in the form of French-style frames or in the modern style with semi-circular moldings covering the surface - paint the whole and this way you have a wonderful piece of designer furniture, without the price tag of designer furniture!

The great news is that all your old furniture can benefit from painting, you can easily change their style - match them with a common color and give them a new life.

Go and see what others have painted on our social media channels or in our Facebook group - you'll be surprised for sure!

The Ikea shelf in the picture is painted with Last Dance shade, from the Trim Paint series.

Painting the Ikea shelf with Frenchic paints Trim Paint Last Dance.

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