How To Paint Ikea Furniture

Ikea furniture comes in various materials, but the most common pieces are made with laminated chipboard. This is basically a plastic-coated board and it’s therefore pretty tricky painting Ikea furniture.

It’s not impossible though and sometimes your Ikea hack will depend on you being able to transform Ikea furniture with a coat of paint.

You can’t just slap any old paint on to it and hope for the best, you will end up with paint that won’t stick or peeling paint.

We’ve had a good look at all the best suggestions for painting Ikea furniture and tested everything to come up with the perfect way to paint Ikea furniture.

This is how we paint any piece of furniture now and the results are always great.

Painting Bare Wood Furniture

Firstly, let’s tackle the easiest job. There are a lot of Ikea products that come as bare wood such as the Bekvam spice rack, Forhoja trolley, the Rast chest of drawers and the Ingo table. All of these are great for Ikea hacks.

Because the wood all comes perfectly clean, if you are buying new, you can just add the paint of your choice directly to it. Ikea even sell a range of paints for this purpose. Just make sure it is a wood and metal paint.

For second hand Ikea furniture, you might want to give it a quick clean with sugar soap.

You’ll need to cover it with at least 2 coats of the paint. Then, for added protection you can then go over it with a polyurethane varnish. We’ve made bathroom basin vanity units and painted them in this way. They get tons of splashes but the varnish protects them perfectly!

To help with painting you might want to get a ‘mini roller’ and tray. Get some gloss roller sleeves for it and these will help you paint large flat surfaces quickly.

Painting Laminate Furniture

This is the more tricky job. Some people will just recommend sanding down to give a ‘key’ to the surface (just making it rough for the paint to stick to it) but this is not a full-proof method because you will never make all of the surface rough. There will always be patches that remain smooth.

It’s also a big hassle sanding over the whole piece of furniture, specially if it’s something big like a billy bookcase.

The trick is to use a product that actually sticks to laminate surfaces as well as allows paint to stick to it. This can be achieved with a spray-on adhesion promoter.

This product is usually used on cars, with their shiny surfaces, to get enough adhesion for the paint to stick.

You spray the adhesion promoter onto a surface, wait for 20 minutes or until the surface becomes tacky. Then you apply an acrylic primer. Choose a primer that is close to the final colour of your paint. You will either get a white primer or a grey primer as your options, you can then add a little of your finishing paint colour.

It is up to you what you do next. Some people will recommend oil-based paint to finish with, but keep in mind that this will produce toxic fumes for a long time after it has been applied.

We recommend sticking with acrylic paint and finishing with a polyurethane varnish. This will give you a really solid finish. We’ve used the same acrylic/varnish finish not just on Ikea furniture, but any painted furniture we have ever created or updated and it really does stand the test of time.

We’ve even used it on bathroom furniture and it keeps the water out beautifully!

Checklist for Painting Ikea Furniture

In summary, for painting laminate furniture follow this checklist:

  1. Clean the surfaces with sugar soap, unless it’s brand new.
  2. Spray an adhesion promoter on to your furniture.
  3. After 20 mins, or when the promoter is tacky, paint everything with an acrylic primer and leave to dry.
  4. Paint everything with acrylic paint in the colour of choice.
  5. Paint everything with a polyurethane varnish.

It might seem a bit more involved than you were hoping for, but at least you won’t have to do it again in a year’s time when other people’s botched jobs are peeling!

This is the way we paint any laminate surface, such as most Ikea furniture products and it has served us really well.

Let us know if you have any improvements that can be made, we’re always open to new ideas!

If you are thinking of painting Ikea furniture, whether it is bare wood or laminate, make sure you use the right products and you will be 95% of the way there.

Teach your kids to paint and you’re in for an easy life!!

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