My sister and her husband moved into a new home a few months ago, just weeks after having their first baby. Needless to say, the home is still a work in progress. They just finished unpacking and are now trying to find the time to fill the spaces and paint the walls.

One thing they’ve found is that much of their old furniture fits in terms of size and shape, however, when it comes to décor, the fit is slightly off. Their tastes have changed and their new space beckons for something different. Being the crafty, creative person that she is, my sister has decided to paint the furniture rather than replace it.


Laminate furniture, unlike wood, requires some careful considerations and allows for some quick shortcuts. If you are thinking of repainting an old piece (or even a new one), remember these things:

• Prep. While some say that sanding is the best way to roughen the surface, others argue that sanding actually can damage it. A laminate surface differs from a wood surface in that it is quite thin. Sanding through the top layer can be quite disastrous. If you opt to sand, take care not to overdo it. Use an orbital sander and only sand to the point where the surface is “roughed up.”

• Prime. Those who err on the side of skipping the sanding go straight to the priming instead. Remember that even if you sand, priming is still essential. A laminate surface is smooth and nonporous, so paint won’t adhere well without a primer to latch onto. Allow the primer to dry completely. Some experts suggest giving it a full seven days to completely dry.

• Paint. Use an angled brush and a small foam roller to apply the paint. If it bubbles, it means the surface is not prepped properly, and the paint will not adhere. Sand and/or prime it in those areas and try again. You may need to use multiple coats of paint to achieve your desired look.

• Dry. If you are painting a surface you plan to use for placing objects, make sure it is as dry as possible before proceeding. Paint can take up to 30 days to cure completely, but waiting at least a week should be fine.

• Quick tip. My sister found a shortcut that worked well for her. Instead of sanding, priming and painting, she was able to do it all in one step by using chalk paint followed up with a crème wax to add a bit of shine.

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