April 12, 2016

Media Cabinet Makeover: How to Paint Laminate

I have an obsession with white furniture, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that this past week I decided to paint our Ikea media cabinet white. What is surprising though, is that my husband suggested that I do it, say what?!?! Paul is not usually one to encourage me to take on projects because he doesn't like change, but it was the first piece of furniture we bought and the laminate was shiny and didn't go with our coffee table and the rest of our furniture that we had since bought, so he suggested I paint it and I ran with that! 

If you recall, I painted the laminate night stands in our guest bedroom last fall and well, it didn't go so well. I tried to do it as cheaply as possible so I used wall primer and wall paint, and in doing so everything bubbled up and it was just a nightmare. 

I'm so happy to tell you though that this time painting laminate was SOOO much better!! With most painting/staining projects the key is to take time to prepare the piece, and this time I gave it extra attention and I think that's what made the biggest difference. Continue reading to get step-by-step instructions. 

- Sanding Block (I used 220 grit) 
Krud Kutter  to remove oils/grease
- Zinsser Oil Based Primer  (My Holy Grail for this project) 
- Benjamin Moore Advance Paint in Simply White (paint that is made specifically for cabinets but you could probably get away with other type of paints)

STEP 1: Remove All doors and shelves from unit (I like to put all hardware together in a zip lock bag)

STEP 2: Clean debris off piece of furniture (Couldn't believe how dusty it was inside!!)

STEP 3: I slightly sanded the entire cabinet and doors/ shelves. You barely need to sand it though, so I used a 220 grit sanding block.

STEP 4: The first time I painted laminate I felt that the primer didn't attach very well, so this time around I used Krud Kutter  to make sure that all oils and other residues came off the cabinet that would maybe prevent great adhesion.

I put the cabinet on 2 spare pieces of plywood n order to make sure that I could paint the bottom edge of the cabinet without paint puddling 

STEP 5: Our cabinet doors had glass so I taped off the edges.

STEP 6: You are now ready to start PRIMING! The Zinsser primer that we used is oil based, so I primed the cabinet in our garage so that I could keep the fumes outside. 

I originally bought a small can of this primer to use as a trial for painting our kitchen cabinets for our kitchen makeover, so when I decided to paint this cabinet I thought I would use the primer because media cabinet/ kitchen cabinet same thing, right? Also, I wanted to see how it applied so that I could have more confidence If we decide to go forward with painting our kitchen cabinets. Let me say, the primer worked phenomenal in my opinion. The first time I painted laminate furniture the primer bubbled up, but this went on smooth and covered very well. This will be a MUST in all laminate projects going forward and is my new DIY holy grail. 

I ultimately did two coats of primer on everything and slightly sanded between coats. 

Here is a what the shelves/doors looked like after just 2 coats of primer, already looks painted!

STEP 7: I don't have a photo of this, but after the primer dried I brought the cabinet inside to paint because the paint can't be applied in cold temperatures (read label of your paint to determine application temperature) I applied 2 coats of the Benjamin Moore advance paint in Simply White. This is the paint that we plan to use on the kitchen cabinets as well so I figured I'd try it out on this, but I'm sure you could use other paints as well. 

STEP 8: Let the paint dry completely and reassemble the piece of furniture! 

STEP 9: Voila! You are finished. It's time to appreciate your work and maybe get some new decor pieces...like moss balls (or that just be me:))

I loved the primer so much that I made an image you can pin so that you can remember next time you want to paint laminate furniture. And no, this post is by no means sponsored by Zinsser, I just wish that I would of known about this product the first time I painted laminate so I thought I would pass it along!:) 

So what do you think of the transformation? I'm absolutely blown away with how much more I love this corner in our living room. It looks much more coastal and in line with my style. Come back to the blog tomorrow to see more photos of it as part of a Spring Room tour that 25 of us bloggers are doing! 


  1. Amazing job!!! I have the same side tables that you painted before and they need some color...I'll be adding that primer to my shopping list!

  2. Hello. I have a similar cabinet that I want to use. My dilemma is that the rail/runner is in the center of the middle drawers. It looks as though your rails were in the center as well. We're they moved or reconfigured in the process of revamping the drawers to fit around the drain pipe/trap and water lines. tv stand cheap

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