How to Paint Laminated Furniture

While deciding on the changes in my Project Studio, I had choices to make besides the color.  My old desks had stained surfaces, and each one had a different type of laminate top.

First this one.

Old desk

The top is some sort of molded plastic or poly something-or-other.  Either way, have you ever seen anything so hideous?

Old Laminated Desk

I happened to see this tutorial for painting over laminate at The Weathered Door one day while Pinning things onto my Painted Dressers, Desks, and Chests Pinterest board.

I planned to do exactly as Reeves at The Weathered Door instructed in her post.  Until.

Firstly, I was out of Kilz primer or any type of primer except in a spray can.  I was dragging my boot around at the time, so no furniture would be painted in the garage (hence, no spray painting).  I couldn’t even get myself down the stairs, much less furniture!

Secondly, I planned to use a fresh can of Annie Sloan™ Chalk Paint, which is supposed to be fine over any surface with no sanding required.  On this desk I decided to sand the top – just for kicks (in my stylish boot – grin).  Ah…looks better already!

Sanded Top of Desk

I cleaned the entire desk with the TSP we had in the garage and then gave it a water bath.

Cleaning Desk

I painted the entire desk, front and back, top side and under side, with two coats of chalk paint (Annie Sloan™ Pure White).  Ahem…the dark streaks on the desk are shadows cast from the large foyer light against the stair railings.

Refreshed Desk

For the next desk, I got really bold and daring.  I didn’t sand it.  At all.


Old Desk

But, I did give it a bath with the TSP followed by a rinse.

Old Desk

Two coats of Annie Sloan™ Chalk Paint later (and Minwax Paste Finishing Wax), and this desk was ready for action.

Newly Painted Desk

I wish I could tell you how they will hold up over time.  I’ll need to get back to you next year.  So far…they are holding up well with no nicks or scars yet, heavy sewing machines and all!

New Sewing Space

Sewing Spaces Refreshed and Minimized

I’m glad I did my desks with two different procedures so we’ll know which one (or both – or none) holds up over time.

Have you ever painted over laminate?  How did yours hold up over time?











    • says

      So far so good. I’m using the desks more now, and the surfaces are holding fine. Fingers crossed for the long haul. My advice is to paint something. It’ll brighten your life at home! 🙂

  1. says

    What a delightful workspace you have created. That is a must where I am concerned. I’ve never painted laminate, but I’m thinking it should hold up pretty well if treated with care.
    Lulu recently posted…Warped to WeaveMy Profile

    • says

      Thank you! This was my first time to paint laminate. I feel like the traditional painting products used in the link I provided will work long-term. The chalk paint is a test, and I’m encouraged. It looks good so far! 🙂

  2. robin says

    This is very good to know. I only used TSP once…on paneling in my son’s room and basement (that 70s “style” in my old house….UGH!!!) I have always kept in the back of my mind to use it again if I ever painted anything “panel” or laminate. Thanks for this tutorial!

    • says

      You’re welcome. Glad you find it useful. Reeves at The Weathered Door gives a link for a TSP substitute that might interest you. I hope your week’s off to a great start! 🙂

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