How to Paint Ikea Furniture
Ikea furniture is a cult favorite due to its quality and affordability. However, their furniture doesn’t have many options when it comes to color and usually only comes in either white or black. This can be a problem if you are dying for a gorgeous blue dresser or a pink desk. Luckily, you can easily paint Ikea furniture as long as you follow some simple steps. In this post, we dive into how to paint Ikea furniture, along with some awesome tips, the best products, and YouTube videos to have you rocking that gorgeous piece of furniture in no time.
If you are wondering how to paint over Ikea furniture, you probably know that Ikea furniture differs from other types of furniture. Did you know that almost all of the furniture Ikea sells is made of laminated wood-based materials, around 50% being particle board? Because of this, the furniture does not absorb paint like wood does. Ikea only sells a few solid wood items, so we will mainly be talking about how to paint Ikea’s laminate furniture here. Also, if your Ikea furniture is already assembled, we highly recommend disassembling it before you begin. Prepping and painting the disassembled furniture is so much easier than painting it assembled.
First and foremost, you need to make sure you have everything you need for your project. The last thing you want is to not have something you need in the middle of working and have to stop what you are doing to go get it. Trust us, it’s better to go ahead and have everything you need from the start.
You will need:
- Primer, preferably shellac
- A sealer, such as polyacrylic
- A high-quality paintbrush and/or roller
- A heavy-duty cleaner like Krud Kutter
- An old rag
- Sanding Block (we recommend 120 grit)
- Painter cloth or old sheet
- Paint Tray
You will need to prepare a good area to work on your project from start to finish. Ideally, this should be in a well-ventilated area. You should also lay down some painter’s cloth or old sheets so you don’t mess up your floors. You can also use newspapers if you have those lying around.
If your furniture is new, it’s likely not very dirty, so you can skip this step if you want, but we still recommend giving it a good wipe-down just to make sure there isn’t any extra grime. However, if your furniture is old and dingy, you will definitely want to use a heavy-duty cleaner to clean it really well before you start. Just spray your furniture down generously, and use an old rag to clean off the dirt and grime. You may have to repeat this process a few times, depending on how dirty your furniture is.
Next, it is time to sand your furniture down. We recommend using a 120-grit sandblock. They are so much easier to work with and last longer than traditional sandpaper. You can also use another grit, but 120 seems to be the sweet spot. If you want to try another grit, we suggest practicing on a spare piece of laminate wood or testing a small spot nobody can see first. If your furniture has metal parts that are scruffy looking, we recommend sanding those, too, but I would go with 80 grit for this.
Just start on one side of the furniture and sound thoroughly over every surface of your furniture until it is completely buffed out. If you want to add a bit of extra durability to your paint job, you can sand a second time in between coats. However, this doesn’t make a huge difference and is totally optional
The most important thing to remember when painting Ikea furniture, or any furniture for that matter, is using primer, which is an absolute must! It is especially important for Ikea furniture because it is laminated, so without primer, the paint will just stick to the surface and scrape right off if it’s scratched.
Simply start on one end of your furniture and paint or spray your primer to the surface. Make sure you cover the surface thoroughly and evenly. You also want to make sure you wear a respirator mask while you are working since primer produces a lot of fumes.
Most primers dry within one hour. However, we recommend waiting 24 hours before painting to allow optimal time to cure.
6. The Fun Part
Now, to the fun part! Painting your furniture. Make sure you choose a high-quality paint for durability and ease of application. We came to the conclusion that cabinet paint works better on Ikea furniture than latex paint. It holds up so much better! However, if you would rather use latex paint, this is perfectly fine, too.
If you are spraying your furniture, you may want to practice first if you don’t have experience spraying paint. It can be a little bit trickier than it looks. If you plan on using a roller, we recommend cutting in the corner with a high-quality paintbrush like this one. Let the paint dry completely; this usually takes a few hours. Now, you can apply another coat if you feel like it needs it.
Once you are finished applying your coats of paint, and the paint has fully dried, it is time to seal it. Some people say you can skip this step, but it will definitely help with the longevity of your paint. We recommend using polyacrylic as a sealer. If you have never used it, try practicing on a piece of scrap wood to get the feel of applying it, as it can be a bit tricky to work with. A good tip is to make sure you choose a polyacrylic that has the same finish as your paint.
Just apply a thin coat of polyacrylic with your paintbrush or roller and let it dry. If you want to, you can go back in and lightly sand out any imperfections before applying a second coat, but this is optional. There you go! That is all you need to know to paint an Ikea furniture piece perfectly!
We found that Extreme Bond is the best primer for laminate furniture, although shellac primers have more of a reputation for being the best. Shellac works extremely well with laminate and is the holy grail of primers when it comes to painting Ikea furniture. We recommend the BIN shellac primer. It is highly rated, and most DIY influencers agree you can’t go wrong with it. If you opt out of using the extreme bond or a shellac-based primer, there are a few things you should note when choosing your primer and paint.
If you plan on using a water-based paint (latex), you need to use a water-based primer like this one. The same rules apply to oil-based paint and primer. You can not interchange these and will end up with an awful paint job.
You should also consider whether you want a spray primer or one you paint on. This depends entirely on preference. Some people say they prefer the ease of application with the spray, while others feel you get better coverage painting with a paintbrush or roller. Please note, if you plan on using a paint sprayer to apply your primer, you should not use the bin shellac-based primer as it will likely damage your sprayer. However, Bin does make a shellac primer spray if you would rather spray your primer.
If you want to know how to paint Ikea furniture without sanding, we’ve got you! It is always better to sand your furniture before priming or painting, as you will get much more life out of your paint. However, if you are in a hurry or your furniture isn’t for heavy use, it is totally possible to paint your furniture without priming first.
The trick is to use a shellac primer like this one. They make shellac primers that you can paint on, but the spray is so much easier to apply. Once the shellac dries, you can paint your furniture however you would like. Since you are not sanding, it is even more essential to go over your furniture with a top coat such as polyurethane for maximum durability.
Here is a quick video walking you through how to paint Ikea furniture without sanding.
Painting white Ikea furniture is definitely the easiest because you already have a blank canvas. White is void of color, which means that any color you paint over it will be its truest shade. To paint white Ikea furniture, simply follow the steps above. You won’t have to take any additional steps.
If you want to know how to paint black Ikea furniture white, it can be a bit trickier than painting it the other way around, but it’s absolutely possible. The trick here is to sand it really well and make sure you use a white primer and not a clear one. You can even do multiple coats of white primer to ensure there’s no black coming through before you begin. Likewise, we recommend doing multiple coats of white paint for extra coverage.
Do you want to know how to paint Ikea furniture that is made out of solid wood? Honestly, if you want to paint their solid wood pieces, the process is the same as painting any kind of wooden furniture. If your Ikea furniture is a wooden piece, here is a video walking you how to paint solid wood furniture.
If done correctly, painted Ikea furniture will last a long time and hold up well compared to other types of furniture. Just remember not to skip the important steps like priming! We hope this post answered all your questions about how to paint Ikea furniture and sparked some inspiration for your next project!