How to Paint IKEA Furniture

paint ikea

IKEA furniture is affordable and practical. It can also be the wrong color for your home. One of the best DIY upgrades you can tackle for these items is to give them some new paint.

You’ll notice right away that some IKEA furniture is different than others. Most of it tends to be laminate-covered particleboard at the budget-friendly end of the price spectrum.

When you paint particleboard, the moisture from the paint can seep through the veneer to cause expansion, bubbling, streaking, and peeling. It must be done in a specific way to ensure a positive outcome happens.

When you follow these steps, you’ll have a better chance of experiencing success.

1. Gather Your Materials

You’re going to need a few things to paint your IKEA furniture successfully. Although every project is unique, most people are going to need the following items.

  • Primer made for laminate surfaces
  • Sealer and paint
  • Sanding block
  • Tack cloth
  • Paint trays
  • Drop cloth
  • Smooth paint roller with refills
  • Painter’s tape.

2. Disassemble the furniture.

Although this step isn’t mandatory, it is helpful to take apart your IKEA furniture before painting it. You’ll get the work finished faster and be more accurate with your painting. Since these items come ready-to-assemble when you purchase them, it may be helpful to complete this project before following the instructions for use.

If you’ve already used the IKEA furniture at home, it helps to follow the instructions in reverse to have a successful disassembly experience.

3. Sand over the laminate surface.

If you plan to paint a large furniture item from IKEA, you’ll need to de-gloss the surface to prepare it for the new color. A fine-grit sanding block is your best option. It works best if you wash and dry the surface afterward, followed by a tack cloth over the piece to remove any debris.

If you’re painting a low-traffic IKEA item or a small shelf, this step may not be necessary.

4. Apply the primer to the surface.

You must use a primer meant for laminate surfaces to have a successful experience with this DIY project. Anything else may damage the IKEA furniture. Apply the material to one side of the furniture and allow it to dry.

The best primers for laminate surfaces tend to have a shellac base. Although the smell of this product is terrible, it dries with remarkable hardness. You’ll see less paint chipping with your furniture with this option. 

Once the surface is no longer tacky, flip the pieces over to apply the primer to the other size. It helps to inspect each surface after each coat to ensure you have complete coverage. 

5. Apply the topcoat to the surface.

The key to a successful painting experience is to use a thin topcoat layer on your IKEA furniture. Don’t treat the furniture as if it is an exterior surface that goes on thick. You should expect to use 2-3 coats on each side before the furniture is finished.

Each coat must dry entirely before you start applying the next one to it. Although it takes time and patience to complete this step, the layers work together to create a beautiful, even finish.

6. Add a layer of sealer once the topcoat is dry.

Once the final coat of paint is completely dry, you can cover your IKEA furniture’s surface with a sealer. A water-based polyacrylic protective finish is an affordable way to protect your investment. You’ll get a crystal-clear finish, straightforward clean-up process, and a fast-drying solution that lets you use the furniture immediately.

If the furniture isn’t going to get a lot of traffic, a spray-on clear acrylic sealer is suitable to complete this step. Drawers, doors, and shelving typically need the heavy-duty product instead.

Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer when considering the drying time needed. Most projects will need to sit for at least one day before you can proceed to the final step. Slow-curing sealers could take 72 hours or more.

7. Finish the assembly process.

Once the IKEA furniture has gone through the drying process for the final time, you’re ready to finish the assembly work. Follow the instructions provided to put together your piece so that you have a beautiful, affordable, and functional item to use at home. 

Painting your IKEA furniture can be fun! Keep this guide in mind the next time you want to update your look so that you can have a successful experience.


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