Our reader’s corner section features questions from our readers and provides insights on all topics related to home design, home keeping and interiors.

This edition’s question:

I have a couple of old laminate finished furniture pieces that I really like. But after years of use they have somewhat lost their sheen. Is it possible to paint these laminated pieces instead of investing in new ones? 

– Monica Matthew, Cochin


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Laminate’s smooth, non-porous and scratch resistant surface often tricks people into thinking that applying paint on laminated furniture would be an extremely easy process.

More often than not, they are left disappointed as the paint starts bubbling when it is wet or when it doesn’t stick to the furniture well even after it has dried completely.

You can avoid this by following these simple steps before applying the paint:

1.  Wipe down the dust and dirt

Dust with a dry cloth and then wipe down the excess with a water dampened soft cloth. Make sure everything is clean from the nooks and corners to the undersurface of the laminated furniture.

If there’s grease and staining, use vinegar and water to get rid of it.

2. Disassemble if possible

It’s always a good idea to disassemble the laminated furniture pieces before the priming and sanding processes begin. This makes it easy to access the parts where two furniture pieces fit in. Also, it prevents drips when paint is applied.

3. Sanding lightly

A lot of people are hesitant of this process as they think it will damage the furniture. But this is perhaps the best way to ‘un-laminate’ and roughen up your laminated furniture so that the primer and paint sticks.

Use a fine grit sandpaper and lightly go over each surface as if you are getting off some dust. It’s important that you don’t over sand the surface as the laminate can come right off, exposing the particle board underneath.

Remember to sand the surfaces evenly or else the paint will start to bubble where there is no sanding done.

Lastly, wipe away the sand dust.

4. Layering with primer

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When buying primer, do invest in something that says it is good for adhesion. Again, coating your furniture with primer will create a surface to which the paint can adhere to.

If you are worried about sanding your laminated furniture and only want to stick to a primer, ask your shopkeeper for a premium quality primer. Else, even the primer can make your surface look uneven and bubbly.

Apply a smooth, thin coat and let it dry completely before you opt for another coat. Let it dry overnight to create the right surface for painting the laminate.

5. Painting laminated furniture

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Your furniture is now ready to be painted! Use an angled brush so that you can easily reach difficult corners. You could also invest in a disposable foam roller which will smoothen the surface by getting rid of brush marks.

Multiple coats will give you the hue you desire as well as a better finish. But do remember to let each coat dry completely before you apply the next one.

So, go ahead give your old furniture an update with delectable colors like pastel greens, baby pinks, bold reds and more!