DIY Home Decor

DIY IKEA Hacks – painting laminate

So, there was a point in my life when 90% of our home furnishings came from IKEA.  It was the only furniture that we could afford that was also reasonably stylish.  Over the years we have slowly upgraded most of our IKEA furnishings and I have done some DIY hacks on others. But alas, I had a few laminate IKEA pieces that I hadn’t redone or thrown out because they were just too handy. I had planned to buy replacements, but then there was the quarantine. With plenty of time on my hands and lots of paint in my basement, I decided to attempt a laminate DIY IKEA hack. While I have done DIY IKEA hacks in the past, this is the first time I attempted to paint laminate.

My latest DIY IKEA hack was on this Aneboda nightstand. I’m pretty sure I bought it because the price was right for the functionality, but I’m pretty sure I never loved the look.  While it still remains functional, I still don’t love the look. The only reason I didn’t redo this piece before was because I was convinced that I couldn’t paint laminate, turns out, I was wrong (which happens more than I want to admit).  You CAN paint laminate! With some careful prep work, I transformed this nightstand into something that adds character and charm to my bathroom. 

Supplies Needed for your IKEA Hack: 

Optional Supplies:

How to do a DIY IKEA Hack on laminate furniture.

I took out the drawers and took the handles, legs, and faces off the drawers.  While this step is not critical, it definitely made sanding and painting easier and it was not as hard as I thought it might be.  I didn’t take everything apart as some websites advise you to do, I just took off the parts that would help make my job easier. Tip: If you do take it apart, take pictures of which screws go with which holes.  That will make it easier to put back together. 

Prepping the furniture

  1. In order to keep the paint on your laminate furniture, you’ve gotta rough it up.  Lightly sand all the surfaces you plan to paint with 220 grit sandpaper. Keep your sanding light. You don’t want to gouge the surface. 
  2. Completely wipe down and with a lint-free cloth dry the piece.  Make sure there is no dust left to muck up your paint job. 
Painter’s tape on drawers
I just put painter’s tape around the edges of the plastic insert.

Priming and Painting the furniture

  1. Time to prime! I used a small roller and did two coats of primer (allowing it to dry in between each coat).  I taped the edges of the drawers where I intended to put the contact paper, but I didn’t worry about taping anything else. 
  2. After the primer dried, I rolled on my topcoat.  I went with an interior white with an eggshell finish.  I used this because I already had it in the basement and while many will argue that each shade of white is unique and brings a slightly different feel, I didn’t want to go to the store and I’m trying to whittle down my paint collection.
IKEA aneboda nightstand after two coats of primer
This is two coats of primer on the nightstand. I didn’t worry too much about the inside as it will never show.

Adding the finishing touches

  1. As I allowed everything else to dry, I spray painted the handles and the feet a lovely vintage gold.  I used to hate gold, but I’ve been finding myself wanting to spray paint everything gold lately. It gives a nice pop of color and seems to always look classy.
  2. Before the protective topcoat went on, I went over some of the fine details of the drawer with a small paintbrush.  I had unfortunately let the paint get too dry before I took off the painters tape and ended up with a few places where I had ripped the paint off.  You should NOT wait for the paint to completely dry before you remove your tape.  I’ve learned this lesson before (many times), but always seem to forget.  If the paint is tacky it tends to rip up the adjoining paint and not leave a clean line.  Important tip: Remove the tape while your paint is still wet!
  3. Let everything dry for at least a day and then add the Min-wax clear protective coat.  I added just one layer, but add more if it is a heavily used piece.
  4. Allow it to dry again for at least 24 hours and then put all the pieces back together.  
IKEA aneboda nightstand after primer and topcoat.
This is the almost finished piece. Still need to add the contact paper.
  1. Optional Contact Paper: My nightstand had these translucent plastic windows that I hated as I could see disorganization behind them.  So, I added this delightful contact paper.  There are many birch tree patterned wallpapers out there, but this one was only $12 instead of $30 or $40. Tip: If you get impatient and add on the contact paper before the paint is fully cured, you may end up scuffing the paint.  If you do that, just use a small paint brush (like really small type used by artists for painting pictures) to touch it up. 

Looking for other DIY furniture ideas? check out our mid-century modern side table.

IKEA laminate furniture makeover