How to Paint IKEA Furniture Step by Step

November 26, 2020

IKEA offers great furniture options that are both stylish and affordable. Over time, however, your tastes may change or you might get tired of the finish you thoughtfully chose years ago. 

It can feel like the only option is replacing it, but there’s actually no need to get rid of something you love! With a little DIY, you can refresh your furniture! So we’ve rounded up the top tips to help you through the process step-by-step.

How to Paint IKEA Furniture Step by Step

How to Paint IKEA Furniture Step by Step

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

For the best results, make sure you are using the right materials! Since most IKEA furniture is made out of laminate, you need to find a laminate primer. This will offer the best coverage and durability as it’s designed to work with this type of material. Primer is one of the most important materials to pick up, so be sure to pick up enough to cover your project. 

For keeping clean and tidying up:

  • Drop cloths large enough to give you a good working area
  • An old rag to wipe up drips as you work 
  • Painters tape to make sure desired areas remain paint-free on your furniture

painters tape

For painting: 

  • Paintbrushes
  • Paint roller for fine finishes so paint is applied smoothly
  • Laminate primer
  • Paint in the perfect colour
  • Sealant for added durability

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Price Range

Step 2: Prepare Ahead of Time

All painting projects require quite a bit of preparation in order to carry out successfully, and furniture is no different. But for IKEA furniture, it’s best to disassemble it first. Working with individual pieces is a lot easier than trying to navigate the entire piece of furniture. 

If you aren’t able to disassemble it easily, you can work with the larger piece. A furniture assembly expert can help you disassemble it as well. Your prep will remain the same, but you may need to take note of any spots like back corners that will be more difficult to access to ensure proper coverage. By knowing what you are about to get into, you can be more confident moving forward. 

For some pieces like the one shown below this will be easier than others. It simply depends on the furniture itself. Small, light-weight tables that are easy to move around will be easier to paint once assembled than large bookcases for instance.

flat pack furniture that's already assembled

You should also remove any hardware like knobs or handles so they won’t get paint on them as you work. While they can be taped off, it will make your painting more finicky and time-consuming. 

Other important prep steps include placing your drop cloths for a safe painting area and moving your furniture pieces on top of it. By taking the time to start your job correctly, you’ll know that your furniture will look great in the end.

Step 3: Clean your furniture

Your first task is to ensure that your furniture is dust and dirt-free. Any dirt or lint on your furniture can get caught up in the primer or paint stages and make flaws in an otherwise smooth surface. A good clean will allow the primer to bond well with its surface. 

Spray Bottle

We recommend washing each piece of furniture thoroughly before allowing it to dry. Then, before you move on to step two, make sure that the surface is free of any fibres that can ruin a good paint job.

Step 2: Apply the primer

This is a step you simply can’t skip. Primer offers a great starting surface for your project and is especially necessary if you are transforming your dark furniture into a lighter option. It can also block any marks or flaws on surfaces. 

apply primer

Since laminate tends to be a smoother material, you need to use a product intended for laminate so it adheres. With your laminate primer ready, apply it to every surface of your furniture. We recommend at least two coats for thorough coverage. This also helps your paint to bond the surface and prevents scratches as you begin to use your furniture once again.  

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Step 3: Start Painting

After your primer is thoroughly dry, you can move on to the painting stage. Make sure to cover all of the primed pieces evenly, using your rag to wipe up any drips as you go so they don’t dry into blemishes on your new furniture. Use your paintbrush to paint any corners with your paint roller to make short work of the large sections.

Bright Green Paint

Check your work as you go to ensure there are no brush or roller marks that will mar the finished surface. These will show up on the finished piece, so it’s important to deal with them while your paint is wet. Aim for at least two coats of paint for the best coverage. If you are working with a dark colour, you may need an extra coat for full saturation.


Step 4: Apply Sealant

With your paint thoroughly dry, you can get ready to apply sealant. We highly recommend this to increase the durability of your paint so you can enjoy your furniture without fear of signs of wear. This is especially important if the flatpack furniture will be placed outside like this garden swing. Varnish will help to protect outdoor and patio furniture from the weather.

Consider where your furniture is set up and how much use it will see to determine how many coats of sealant are required. A dresser or wardrobe may need two coats since it’s used multiple times per time, whereas a bookshelf in a guest room may only need a single coat.


Step 5: Reassemble Furniture — And Enjoy!

In this final step, you can begin putting your furniture back together if you have disassembled it. Otherwise, it may simply need to be set back into place in your home. Hardware and hinges will need to be replaced as well before you are ready to enjoy your refreshed furniture!  

Re-assembly your flatpack furniture



Now that you know how to paint properly, you can transform any of your IKEA furniture pieces easily and effectively! No matter whether it’s a cosmetic update or needs to fit into a new room in your home, you can be in control of its transformation. 

By following the steps we’ve outlined, painting is an easy DIY project you can tackle over a weekend. It’s the best way to get a fully customised look for your home by making your IKEA purchases even more stylish. 

Decided to buy a new piece of IKEA furniture but not sure you'll have time to assemble it? Easily submit a free request to get bids from top furniture assembly experts.

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