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How to Paint Laminate Furniture – Regan’s Room Progress

A simple step-by-step tutorial for how to paint laminate furniture and the best inexpensive kids’ room decor.

This post is sponsored by Walmart.

We thought we were just about finished with Regan’s bedroom refresh, but what would any bedroom spruce be without a quick dresser makeover? 😉 In the process, I realized there’s one tricky thing about furniture makeovers I haven’t shared much about before: how to paint laminate furniture.

green dresser in little girl's room

It’s a tricky beast. If you’ve ever attempted to brush paint onto a laminate surface, it’s not a fun lesson to see all of your hard work melt away right before your eyes.

It chips and scuffs easily and paint peels right up, if you don’t know how to paint laminate furniture properly.

Since we rearranged Regan’s room, it needed a tall dresser rather than the long dresser we had before to fit the new layout.

little girl bedroom

So I snagged this inexpensive laminate dresser from Walmart Home as a cute, inexpensive replacement.

how to paint laminate furniture - laminate dresser with cane webbing

I liked this 5-drawer dresser because of the faux cane webbing detail on the drawer fronts to coordinate with the cane webbing on Regan’s nightstand chest we hauled in here the other week.

When I need cute, inexpensive furniture in a pinch, Walmart is generally my go-to.

little girl bedroom

But the black wasn’t going to work in this space, so a quick paint job would make it right at home in her sweet room.

I have to be honest, I think something happened to this dresser in shipping because putting it together had a couple of alignment issues. But I think it was an isolated fluke incident because I’ve seen this other bloggers use this dresser before without a problem. And in the end, it still turned out cute.

How to Paint Laminate Furniture



The key to painting laminate furniture is to ALWAYS use an oil based primer for the best paint adhesion, paint in low humidity, and always let the paint thoroughly cure before heavy use.


This can of primer has obviously seen a lot of action at our house. 😉

how to paint laminate furniture - use oil based primer
  1. Apply a coat of Kilz Original primer. After we put together the dresser, we left off the hardware and I brushed an even coat of the primer all over. I don’t usually sand laminate furniture prior to primer because the oil base does its job to help paint stick to the slick surface.

Make sure to wear a respirator mask and work in a well ventilated space because the fumes are pretty strong. I opened all of the windows in the room during this step.

how to paint laminate furniture - use oil based primer

2. Lightly sand the primed surface once dry. This helps create a smooth surface so no paint drips or brush strokes show.

how to paint laminate furniture with acrylic paint

3. Apply 1-2 even coats of acrylic based or waterborne alkyd enamel paint. I used some Fusion Mineral Paint I already had in the color Bellwood.

And of course, for every kids’ room, anchor the dresser to the wall to prevent tip-over accidents.

This was such a quick laminate furniture paint job that I had knocked out within a couple hours. Look how cute it turned out!

little girl bedroom painted laminate dresser

I decorated the top of the dresser with a few sweet finds from Walmart like this floral lamp that works perfectly with Regan’s chinoiserie wallpaper!

chinoiserie lamp

This sunburst mirror is my favorite for kids’ rooms because it feels so cheerful.

decor on top of dresser

I incorporated a plant in this fluted planter for a little extra life and used this basket tray for placing storybooks, random toys, or any other odds n ends that are flung on dresser tops.

decor on top of a dresser

It’s such a precious corner of her room that now gives us the space we need for Regan’s clothes to organize all she needs for school now that we’re back in full swing.

sage green dresser in a little girls room

I rounded up a few more vintage inspired kids’ room decor items and furniture from Walmart Home that I love too. The Little Seeds line they carry is one of my favorites.

vintage kids room decor from Walmart

Vintage Inspired Kids’ Room Decor & Furniture

So now it’s official. Regan’s big girl bedroom is complete! She’s already decided she’s too big for snuggles in the rocking chair with me, and I’m slightly emotional over that.

Here’s to a big girl room with big kid adventures ahead.

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How to Paint Laminate Furniture | A simple step-by-step tutorial for how to paint laminate furniture and the best inexpensive kids' room decor.

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  1. Lovely job Lauren…you truly have a gifted eye for both color and style. I have used chalky paint by Annie Sloane with similar wonderful results minus the prep work. Probably because I am a lazy woman that I dislike all the taping or removing of hardware or priming. Indeed, when I paint doors, I often use vaseline or a bit of vegetable oil on the hardware first so paint doesn’t stick. Did I mention lazy?? HOWEVER, recently even post sanding and washing and de-waxing my previously painted kitchen cab doors (we were tired of the Robins Egg Blue by Sloane and opted for SW Naval, well dang if I failed to notice the right KIND of paint. After about 7 months, I am noticing the Naval is not adhering with the same stickiness of the chalk paint and I will need to redo, this time doing it even better with primer. Thankfully, it’s just my lowers and it’s a small kitchen. So thank YOU for encouraging us who are lax and love a short-cut to take a wee bit more time, do it right and get a beautiful result. You took basics from a big box store and made it so much better! THANKS!

    1. Oh no! I’ve been there before and it’s NOT fun. So often paints that “don’t require primer” still do require primer in some cases, and unfortunately laminate, particularly with kitchen cabinets, is one of them. I try to save those big paint jobs for the spring or fall when the weather is more mild. Hang in there!

      1. Hi there. You mentioned that you lightly sand the primered surface. Which sandpaper grit do you use?
        I have an old dresser I’d like to freshen up for my 13 year olds room and hope I can try your method. I’m nervous because I don’t want the paint to start rubbing off or chipping away because it wasn’t done properly.
        Any help would be appreciated!
        Thank you!

        1. Any rough grit will work. You are not trying to smooth it out. Just trying to give a more workable surface. I will get details of the exact grit and come back.

  2. good post on laminate furniture painting. But, I loved the other dresser better…too bad you couldn’t make it fit. And sadly, Walmart furniture is typically junk. You certainly improved the look though! I think because laminate furniture is inexpensive, one can paint it and use it short term. In the meantime, having fun customizing it to their room colors.

  3. This is beautiful!!! I can’t believe you did finish it so quickly, but then again you’re a pro at this stuff! 👏😆 I have a laminate piece that I’ve wanted to paint forever…you have given me courage!

    1. Thank you, Pat! I’ve been painting furniture so long that I can do it at lightning speed now. Robert can never believe how quickly I’m able to paint a piece these days. I’m slow as Christmas painting walls though. Haha! Best wishes on your project!