Can You Spray Paint Laminate Furniture? [With a Quick 7-Step How To]

We all know spray paints are the best option when it comes to painting furniture, but can you spray paint laminate? I have personally been asked this question a few times and I’ve also taken the time to spray paint a couple of pieces of laminate furniture over the years.

You can spray paint laminate furniture if it is completely clean, the surface is prepared with a primer, and you use the proper paint. Be sure to remove any hardware and fixtures beforehand and set your piece of furniture on a piece of cardboard or painter’s plastic to avoid making a mess with overspray. Use several light coats to avoid drips and runs.

Read on to learn more about the potential issues with spray painting laminate furniture as well as a quick step-by-step how to guide for getting the job done right!

What Is a Laminate Funiture?

Laminate furniture is any furniture built with a thin layer of plastic or wood that has been bonded together with glue. Typically, the surface of laminate furniture will be fairly glossy, making it more difficult for paint to stick to the surface without a primer.

laminate furniture materials

This laminated furniture can be used as a substitute for real hardwood floors, solid surface countertops, etc.

Different types of laminated furniture are available today, such as:

  • Engineering laminate
  • High-pressure laminate (HPL)
  • Low-pressure laminate (LPL)

These three types of laminates differ from one another because they use different glues and material thickness, which result in varying thicknesses and textures of the final product.

How can I tell if my furniture is laminate or veneer?

Within the realm of fake wood furniture, there are some distinctions. Two potential options are laminate furniture and veneer furniture.

Wood veneer furniture uses a thin layer of real hardwood set on top of less expensive materials such as MDF, particleboard, plywood, etc. So although the entire piece of furniture isn’t made with real hardwood, the exterior appearance is very close.

veneer furniture materials

Wood veneers give the appearance of higher-quality wood without the cost. Veneers also allow for the creation of designs and the matching of grain patterns.

Laminate furniture is a completely engineered material that uses a printed plastic or composite covering to achieve the appearance of real wood. This covering is layered on top of a composite base like plywood or fiberboard.

Wood laminate is usually cheaper than wood veneer. The vast majority of beautiful furniture is comprised of a mix of solid and veneered woods.

Related: Can you spray paint shoes?

Will spray paint stick to laminated wood?

Yes, it will. But, it will require some work.

Because laminated wood is made with a thin layer of plastic, the surface is usually quite glossy and smooth. As we know, smooth and glossy surfaces make it difficult for paint to adhere, making drips, runs, and uneven coats more likely.

To get spray paint to stick to laminated wood, you’ll need to use a high-quality primer first. Primer paints are completely functional in nature and aren’t necessarily made to look good. A good primer will bond to a laminate surface more easily and provide a better surface for your paint to adhere to.

What kind of spray paint do you use on laminate?

The best type of spray paint to use on laminate is latex spray paint.

Latex spray paints are ideal for indoor applications because they are typically pretty durable, give off less fumes and odor, and they are easy to apply.

However, if you want to use oil-based spray paints, these are still safe to use on laminate. But, oil-based spray paints may contain more volatile organic compounds (VOC), requiring more special care. If you use oil-based paints, you might need to leave the furniture outside for a while to off-gas before you bring it inside.

Oil-based spray paints are more expensive than water or latex spray paints.

Also read: Can you spray paint tesla?

How to spray paint laminated furniture?

Spray painting laminate furniture requires some special equipment and techniques.

If you’re planning to spray paint laminate furniture, you’ll need the standard painting safety gear: gloves, goggles, and a well-ventilated area.

Here is that quick step-by-step process:

  • Completely clean the surface of the laminate furniture
  • Sand down large, flat parts of the furniture
  • Apply a primer
  • Sand down any rough edges or corners
  • Paint your furniture with your desired color
  • Sand down any runs or imperfections
  • Consider a clear coat

Completely clean the surface of the laminate furniture

Dirty, debris, and oil will make it more difficult for paint to stick to the furniture’s surface and can lead to uneven coats of paint on the finished product.

You can use a simple solution of warm, soapy water to clean the furniture but be sure that the surface is completely dry before painting. Also, don’t use so much water that it soaks through the laminate, ruining the composite material underneath.

cleaning laminate furniture

Sand down large, flat parts of the furniture

Even if you plan to use primer, you should still sand down any of the parts of the furniture with big, wide surface area, especially the tops of tables.

The reason is that these areas are usually prepared with thicker laminate and need to be more durable than the rest of the furniture.

Here is a great video highlighting the process:

Apply a primer

Apply primer first. Primer coats the furniture’s surface to give the paint a better surface to adhere to in the next step. It also helps prevent chipping or peeling of the finished product.

Avoid over-spraying.

Over-spraying not only makes a bigger mess, but it can also cause drips and runs on your furniture will will take longer to dry and will require sanding before you can move on to the next step.

Allow the primer paint to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Sand down any rough edges or corners

After the primer has dried, spot-check your furniture for any drips or runs, especially around corners and design work.

If you have any uneven surfaces, you’ll have to go ahead and sand them down before you can paint.

sand down any rough edges or corners

Paint your furniture with your desired color

Once the furniture is prepped and primed, you can go ahead and use your desired spray paint color for the top coats.

When spray painting furniture, be sure to use even passes about 12 inches from the surface. It is better to apply more light coats than fewer heavy coats of spray paint.


Sand down any runs or imperfections

Once you are done painting, you should let your furniture dry completely.

Once dry, examine your laminate furniture carefully for any imperfections, such as runs or drips. If you find any, it is best to go ahead and sand them down lightly to get rid of them. If you need to touch up the paint, be very careful to use a light hand.

Consider a clear coat

Even if your furniture looks great after painting, you might want to consider a high-gloss clearcoat to help protect the paint and make it last a lot longer.

Clear coats and other surface protection is even more important if you expect kids to be around your furniture or if its in a high-traffic area of the house.

Conclusions – Can you spray paint laminate furniture?

In conclusion, spray painting laminate furniture is a fun way to give your furniture new life. It’s easy to do and provides a quick solution to restoring your old furniture.

If you follow the guide above, you should achieve great results!

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