What Paint and Primer Is Best for Laminate Furniture?

Laminate furniture is highly affordable and functional, but it can also be a bit bland and unappealing. Painting is a great way to update the look and give it a new lease of life, but what kind of paint and primer should you use? There are many different options on the market, and choosing the wrong ones can result in disappointing results.

For painting laminate furniture, water-based paint is usually the top choice. Water-based paints are easy to clean up, generally more environmentally friendly, and won’t fade over time. A good bonding primer should also be used. This will create a strong bond between the paint and the furniture.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The 9 factors to consider when choosing paint for laminate furniture
  • What type of paint to use
  • What finish is best
  • My top picks for the best paint for laminate furniture
  • My top picks for the best primer for laminate furniture

The 9 Factors to Consider When Choosing Paint for Laminate Furniture

1. Adhesion

One of the most important factors to consider when selecting paint for laminate furniture is adhesion. Since laminate is a non-porous surface, it doesn’t readily absorb the paint, affecting its durability and longevity.

Thus, choosing a paint specifically designed to bond with plastic, vinyl, or laminate surfaces is necessary. Look for products that mention “adhesion promoter” or “bonds to glossy surfaces” on the label, as they contain special ingredients that help the paint stick to the surface.

2. Color

Color selection is a personal choice that can influence the mood and tone of your space. Look around your room to determine what color schemes work best, and choose a color that complements the overall theme.

Also, remember that light colors brighten space and make it feel larger, while dark colors add richness and depth. A laminate countertop, for example, can be painted with a faux-marble or granite look using light and dark shades of grey.

3. Drying Time

The drying time for the paint is an essential factor to consider. Choose a paint that will dry based on your project timeline. Check the paint label and instructions carefully.

Some paint types may require several coats with up to 24 hours of drying between each coat. Plan enough time for the paint to dry fully before using the furniture. Laminate flooring, for example, should be completely dry before bringing any furniture back into the room.

4. Durability

Laminate furniture is often subjected to wear and tear, so it’s important to choose durable paint that can withstand frequent use. Look for paints that are labeled as scratch-resistant, scuff-resistant, and water-resistant.

5. Toxicity

Some paints may contain harmful chemicals and emit harmful fumes, which can be hazardous to your health and the environment. Choosing paints that are low in toxicity and safe to use indoors is important.

6. Purpose

The purpose of the furniture should also be taken into consideration. Areas that receive a lot of traffic, such as kitchen cabinets or those exposed to heat and moisture, require tougher finishes than surfaces that are not frequently used.

When selecting paint for laminate furniture in high-traffic areas, look for products that mention “scrubbable” or “washable” on the label, as these paints are typically more resistant to wear and tear.

7. Application Method

The application method is another factor to consider when selecting the right paint. Brushes, rollers, and spray painting equipment all have their place in various projects. A small brush is often preferred for precise control over the paint lines for laminate shelves.

However, a roller may be appropriate for covering larger areas like big laminate dressers. It’s important to use the right equipment for your chosen paint type and to follow all safety protocols. Choose the method that produces the best results for the furniture piece you are painting.

8. Climatic Conditions

Climatic conditions can also have an impact on the type of paint that you choose. For instance, if painting furniture that will be exposed to moisture or high humidity, look for paints that are designated as “mildew-resistant” and “waterproof” to ensure they last longer outdoors.

9. Paint Quality

Finally, never skimp on paint quality when it comes to laminate furniture. Poor-quality paints can lead to a shabby finish and decrease the lifespan of your furniture.

Investing in professional-grade products from reputable manufacturers might be more expensive upfront but will save you money in the long run.

What Type of Paint Is Best?

Latex Paint

Latex paint, or water-based or acrylic paint, comprises a water-soluble base and pigments. It’s a popular choice for both interior and exterior painting projects.


  • Quick Drying: It dries faster than oil-based paint, allowing for quicker recoats.
  • Low VOCs: It typically contains fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs), making it safer for indoor use and better for the environment.
  • Easy Clean-up: Clean-up is easy with just soap and water.
  • Resistant to Yellowing: Unlike oil-based paints, latex paint does not yellow over time.
  • Flexibility: It is more flexible than oil-based paint, making it less likely to crack over time.


  • Less Adhesion: Without proper preparation, latex paint may not adhere well to slick surfaces like laminate.
  • Multiple Coats Needed: It may require more coats than oil-based paint to achieve the same level of coverage.
  • Durability: Although generally durable, latex paint can be less durable than oil-based paint, especially on high-traffic items like furniture.
  • Susceptible to Water Damage: If the painted furniture comes into contact with water frequently, latex paint might also not hold up.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is a type of paint made from pigments suspended in an acrylic polymer emulsion. It’s water-soluble but becomes water-resistant when dry.


  • Quick Drying: Acrylic paint dries quickly, often within minutes.
  • Versatility: It can be used in various ways, including thin for a wash-like effect or thick for a more textured look.
  • Water-Based: Being water-based, it makes clean-up easy with soap and water.
  • Resistant to Cracking: It is flexible and less likely to crack over time.
  • Vibrant Colors: The colors of acrylic paints are usually more vibrant and remain consistent after drying.


  • Adhesion: Without proper surface preparation, acrylic paint may not adhere well to slick surfaces like laminate.
  • Fast Drying Time: While this can be an advantage, the quick drying time also means you have less time to blend or make changes.
  • Less Glossy: It tends to have a less glossy finish compared to oil-based paint.
  • Can Darken With Age: Over time, some colors of acrylic paint can darken slightly.

Remember, surface preparation is key when painting laminate furniture. The surface should be cleaned and lightly sanded, and a suitable primer should be applied before painting to ensure good adhesion. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

What Paint Finish Is Best?

Among the different paint finishes available, satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss are the most appropriate for laminate furniture, each with unique advantages and disadvantages.

A satin finish is highly recommended for laminate furniture since it provides a velvety mid-sheen surface that complements the typically glossy laminate surface.

With a satin finish, you’ll perfectly balance a matte and glossy surface, providing a subtle sheen without reflecting too much light.

Furthermore, satin finishes are sturdy enough to withstand regular use, making them an excellent option for surfaces with lower wear and tear.

A semi-gloss finish is a better option for surfaces that receive more wear and tear or areas that can tolerate more shine. Compared to a satin finish, semi-gloss provides more durability, which makes it easier to clean and maintain.

With a semi-gloss finish on your laminate furniture, you can clean them effortlessly and avoid unsightly stains or scratches.

A high-gloss finish is perfect for your laminate furniture if you prioritize durability and easy maintenance over glossiness.

High-gloss finishes are the most durable and scrubable, making them an excellent choice for furniture likely to experience high traffic or frequent use.

Although high-gloss finishes provide the most stunning and reflective surfaces, they tend to reveal any imperfections in the surface more notably.

Choosing which finish to use for laminate furniture depends on the intended use and appearance factors. While a satin finish is the go-to choice, a semi-gloss or high-gloss surface can also provide optimal results when used in the right context.

In all cases, it is essential to consider the level of durability required to prolong the furniture’s life and retain its aesthetic appeal.

The 3 Best Paints for Laminate Furniture

1. Sherwin-Williams ProClassic Interior Acrylic Enamel Paint (Brush-on)

In addition to being an excellent choice for doors and trim, Sherwin-Williams ProClassic Interior Acrylic Enamel Paint is also highly recommended for painting laminate furniture.

This versatile paint formula provides exceptional flow, leveling, and sag resistance, making it ideal for achieving a smooth and luxurious finish on any type of furniture.

One of the key advantages of using this water-borne acrylic paint for painting laminate furniture is its excellent adhesion properties.

Unlike other types of paint that may struggle to adhere to non-porous surfaces, it effortlessly bonds to laminate furniture, providing a long-lasting and durable finish that will withstand everyday wear and tear.

Moreover, this paint’s unique wet and dry hide feature ensures that you can apply fewer coats, saving you both time and money in the long run.

This is particularly beneficial when painting laminate furniture, where multiple coats of paint may be required to achieve full coverage.

Another advantage of painting laminate furniture is its non-yellowing formula. This means that even with prolonged exposure to sunlight, the paint will not discolor or fade, ensuring that your furniture maintains its original color and vibrancy for years to come.

The brush-on application of Sherwin-Williams ProClassic Interior Acrylic Enamel is also incredibly user-friendly, with the paint going on smoothly and effortlessly without leaving any brush or roller marks. This ensures an even, consistent finish that is sure to impress.

2. Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Spray Paint (Spray)

Industry experts have recommended Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Spray Paint as a go-to spray paint for painting laminate furniture.

This premium general-purpose spray paint is specifically designed with breakthrough Double Coverage Technology that ensures ultimate coverage with just one coat, making it the perfect choice for laminated surfaces.

The advanced technology of this spray paint provides twice the coverage compared to other Rust-Oleum products. This means the surface can be covered with half the spray passes, dramatically reducing the painting time.

One of its outstanding features is the any-angle spray system that allows you to spray at any angle. This feature is particularly useful when painting laminated furniture because it allows you to access hard-to-reach areas easily.

The comfort spray tip is also designed to eliminate finger fatigue during long painting sessions, making it the ideal choice for larger projects.

This premium general-purpose spray paint dries fast, ensuring you don’t have to wait too long before admiring your newly painted laminate furniture.

The satin finish is available in a broad range of on-trend colors, providing various choices to match your decor. It has indoor and outdoor durability, making it the perfect choice for indoor and outdoor settings.

3. Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover Multi-Purpose Satin Brush-On Paint (Brush-on or Spray)

Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover Multi-Purpose Satin Brush-On Paint is perfect for all your laminate furniture projects.

This high-quality formula is designed to provide excellent hiding, long-lasting protection, and durability, ensuring your furniture remains pristine for years to come.

The fast-drying and chip-resistant finish makes it ideal for indoor and outdoor projects. Not only that, but this paint can be easily cleaned with soap and water, making it a low-maintenance option for busy homeowners.

This brush-on paint stands out as the recommended choice when painting laminate furniture. Unlike traditional paint, it offers a unique bonding technology that enables it to adhere easily to the surface of your laminate furniture, providing a smooth, even coverage that won’t peel or crack.

Additionally, the paint is available in various attractive colors, making it easy to create a customized look for your furniture that complements your home decor.

The 3 Best Primers for Laminate Furniture

1. Insl-X Stix Water-borne Bonding Primer (Brush-on)

Insl-X Stix Water-borne Bonding Primer is a highly recommended primer for painting laminate furniture. Its superior adhesion properties make it an excellent choice for bonding to even the most challenging surfaces that are typically difficult to paint, such as glossy tile, vinyl, plastic, and laminated furniture.

Laminate furniture is constructed from a resin and paper composite, which makes it difficult for paint to adhere effectively to the surface. This issue can be problematic, leading to peeling, cracking, and chipping of the paint coating.

However, this primer solves this problem because of its unique acrylic-urethane formula, which allows it to bond securely to both glossy and non-glossy surfaces.

One of the standout features of this primer is its unparalleled adhesion, which means that it can bond to a wide range of surfaces without requiring sanding or deglossing beforehand.

This saves time and effort while also producing a quality result. In addition, the primer can be top-coated with virtually any type of paint, including latex, oil-based, and enamel-based paints, providing greater flexibility in choosing a color scheme for the furniture.

Another great feature of this primer is its ability to provide excellent enamel holdout. The primer creates a smooth base, which lets the topcoat paint adhere evenly with a great finish.

This feature ensures a neat and uniform finish that enhances the visual appeal of your laminate furniture. The primer dries to a smooth, even finish, providing a great topcoat paint surface. It is also low VOC and easy to clean with soap and water.

Lastly, its quick-drying feature allows it to fully cure temperatures as low as 35°F (2°C), meaning you can get the best performance out of this primer in virtually any climate.

And with excellent coverage of 300-400 square feet per gallon (7-10m² per liter), you can be sure that a little goes a long way with this primer.

2. Zinsser Cover Stain with Turbo Spray System Primer (Spray)

Zinsser Cover Stain with Turbo Spray System Primer is the go-to choice for priming laminate furniture.

As an oil-based formula, it can penetrate and adhere to the smooth, non-porous surface of the laminate, providing a solid foundation for topcoats to bind to.

This makes it the perfect choice for anyone attempting to paint their laminate furniture and achieve a smooth, professional-looking finish.

What sets the Turbo Spray System apart from traditional aerosol sprays is its phenomenal coverage and speed that it promotes.

With the ability to spray up to 10 inches (25cm) wide, the Turbo Spray System allows projects to be completed in half the time of regular spray paint, making it the ideal primer for medium to large-sized furniture projects.

Moreover, it dries to the touch in just 15 minutes, making it a convenient and efficient solution for those who don’t want to wait hours for primers to dry.

Its major advantages are its ability to block nicotine, fire, smoke, water, and even dark colors, making it extremely versatile. This means that it can be used on laminate furniture and other surfaces that may require a durable, long-lasting finish.

Furthermore, it sticks incredibly well on hard surfaces such as glossy paint, ceramic tile, and glass, giving it a unique advantage over other primers.

In addition, it has the ability to seal interior and exterior bare wood, flat paint, and spackling. This means that when used on laminate furniture, it will provide an excellent bond and a seal that will prevent any moisture or other harmful agents from penetrating the furniture.

Lastly, Cover Stain with Turbo Spray System is easy to apply and clean up. It is ideal for DIY enthusiasts who want to achieve professional-looking results without hassle.

Its ability to adhere to hard-to-paint surfaces such as railings, shutters, and outdoor furniture, makes it the perfect primer for those who like refurbishing and painting their old furniture.

3. Zinsser B-I-N Primer (Brush-on or Spray)

Zinsser B-I-N Primer is often touted as the go-to choice for painting laminate furniture. This shellac-based primer offers unmatched adhesion, ensuring that the paint you apply afterward will effortlessly adhere to the surface of the laminate.

Unlike traditional primers, it can be applied to glossy surfaces, including glass, without the need for sanding, thus reducing the preparation time considerably.

This is particularly important when painting laminate surfaces, which often have a slick surface, making it difficult for traditional primers to adhere to.

One of its benefits is its ability to block stubborn and persistent stains, including water stains, fungal degradation, nicotine, oil stains, marker pen stains, and more. This feature makes it perfect for laminate furniture, which is often prone to stains due to its smooth surface.

It effectively seals and blocks all types of odors, including smoke and fire damage, pet odors, and nicotine. This feature is handy for laminating furniture that may have picked up unpleasant smells over time.

It dries in just 15 minutes and can be recoated in 45 minutes, ensuring you can get your laminate furniture painted and ready to use in record time.

Another key advantage of Zinsser B-I-N Primer is its hypo-allergenic nature, which makes it ideal for use in areas where incidental contact with food items occurs.

Additionally, it can be tinted to mid-tone colors, ensuring that you can easily match the laminate furniture with the rest of your decor.

Joshua Milton

Joshua Milton is a passionate DIY and home improvement enthusiast. With his expertise in various projects, he provides practical tips, step-by-step guides, and creative ideas for transforming your living space.

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