How To Paint Laminate Furniture Without Sanding

Learn how to paint laminate furniture without sanding through this article using easily available primer, paint, etc.

Over the years, any piece of furniture loses its shine and luster. Laminate furniture is quite common because it is affordable, easy to clean, and durable compared to actual wood, making them a top choice in manufacturing home furniture. 

How To Paint Laminate Furniture Without Sanding

The only problem with laminate furniture (which is technically just a thin plastic sheet covering up MDF or plywood) is that it is not that easy to refurnish. You can’t use your favorite paint and a brush to change the look of your laminate furniture like you can do with wood because they will not work.

The process of painting furniture involves sanding, which can be messy and very time-consuming. That is why many people ask on forums and even in our own comment sections: “Can you paint laminate furniture without sanding it?” 

Fortunately, the answer is yes, you can. There are three steps involving any piece of furniture: cleaning, priming, and painting. If you use a Shellac-based primer or chalk-based paint, you may not need to sand furniture. Let’s take a look at the best way to paint laminate furniture without sanding in this article.

#1 How To Paint Laminate Furniture Without Sanding Using Shellac Based Primer

Clean the furniture and prepping your workplace

The first step in painting a piece of laminate furniture is to clean it of any dirt or oil residue. Please take a good quality degreaser and pour it on a rag and thoroughly clean the whole piece of furniture. Next, use a cloth wet with water to wipe the residue of the degreaser and let the furniture dry.

How To Paint Laminate Furniture Without Sanding

While the furniture is drying, you can utilize the time by prepping your workplace to avoid any mess. Lay down a plastic sheet under the furniture so that the paint doesn’t stain your floors.

Prime the furniture 

Once the furniture is dried, coat it in a layer of shellac-based primer. Let the laminate furniture dry completely, and then paint a second layer of the primer. Shellac-based primer adheres to the smooth surface of the laminate and blocks any stain. 

How To Paint Laminate Furniture Without Sanding

Paint the furniture 

Once the primer is dried, start with the paint. Paint a thin layer of emulsion paint of your choice. You can choose a gloss finish or a matte look as per your preference. Now, wait for the first coat of paint to dry out completely, and then paint the second coat. If the color is still not up to your choice, you might need to do a third layer of the paint.

Seal the furniture

Use a paintbrush to seal the furniture with clear paint. Once the furniture is dried, seal it with clear paint or wax. In case you are using wax, use a rag to rub the wax over the furniture thoroughly.

#2 How To Paint Particle Board Furniture Without Sanding Using Chalky Finish Paint

Particleboard is a top choice in the making of furniture, given its low cost and higher durability. But what if you want to redo an old piece of particle board furniture without sanding it. Let’s have a look at how to do it.

Clean the furniture 

Old furniture can accumulate a lot of dirt and grime over the years. Cleaning the piece of furniture before painting is essential, even if the furniture is new. Use a high-quality degreaser or spirit to clean the piece of furniture using an old cloth thoroughly. Once done with this process, use a damp cloth to wipe off any cleaner residue and let the furniture dry.

Prime the furniture using chalk paint 

The next step in this process will be priming the surface of the particleboard furniture using a chalky finish paint. Since the particle board furniture is covered with a layer of non-porous laminate which makes it difficult for paint to stick on it, it is essential to prime it first. You would only need to coat a single layer of chalk paint as it has a high density.

How To Paint Laminate Furniture Without Sanding

Pro Tip: Chalk paint tends to pool together in crevices and corner areas because it is thicker than other paints. Make sure to clean it up before going to the next step. Also, try to paint with the grain of the wood rather than against it.

Paint the furniture

The third and last step would be painting the piece of furniture. Once the chalk paint is dried, take any enamel paint of your choice and coat the piece of furniture with paint. Make sure to keep the layer of the paint thin. Let the first coat dry before you start with the second coat. Paint the second layer of the paint and let it dry entirely too. Finally, you can use a sealant like clear paint or wax to seal off the paint if you wish to do so.

#3 How To Paint Veneer Furniture Without Sanding

Veneer furniture is different from laminate. Instead of using a plastic and resin sheet on top, these use thin sheets of a special type of wood itself. Both veneer and laminate give you a smooth, easy-to-clean finish. If you want to refurbish an old piece of veneer furniture but don’t want to get into the mess of sanding it, then follow these easy steps.

Prepping the furniture and your workplace

Prep the piece of furniture that you want to paint. Use a good quality degreaser and wipe down the entire furniture using an old piece of fabric. Make sure to wear hand gloves to avoid any irritation. Wipe down with a damp cloth afterward to remove any degreaser residue and let the furniture dry.

How To Paint Laminate Furniture Without Sanding

Meanwhile, prep your workplace or the area where you will be doing the painting. Lay down a large fabric or plastic sheet to avoid any staining on your floors. 

Priming the furniture

If you do not wish to sand the veneer, then priming is an important step. You would need something for the paint to stick on, and that would be a primer. Use a high-quality primer and coat the entire piece of furniture with it.

Painting the furniture

Now comes the actual task of painting the furniture. Chalk paint is considered the best choice for painting on veneer. 

While using chalk paint, you would need a damp brush. Use the wet brush to paint a thin layer of paint on the entire furniture. Paint in a single-direction stroke to get an even finish. You don’t get coverage with the first coat, so don’t panic if you see streaks.

How To Paint Laminate Furniture Without Sanding

Wait for twenty minutes before painting the second coat. Ensure to cover the paintbrush with a damp cloth or plastic so that it doesn’t dry. Paint the second coat of paint following the same method. If you still didn’t get full coverage, paint the third layer.

Wash the paintbrush using tap water and some soap. Use a clear coat or wax to seal the furniture, and you are done.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can you paint over laminate without sanding? 

Yes, you can paint over a piece of laminate furniture without sanding. Sanding is a time-consuming and messy process and the main reason why some of us procrastinate the task of painting.

There are several different ways discussed in this article that you can use to paint over laminate furniture without sanding.

What kind of paint do you use on laminate furniture? 

For painting laminate furniture, I recommend using latex paint. You can find it at any of your local hardware stores. Latex paint has a smooth finish, is easy to apply, and will last long.

How To Paint Laminate Furniture Without Sanding

Acrylic latex paint paired with a high-quality latex primer is the best way to go if you wish to paint a piece of laminate furniture. You can choose the finish type to be either glossy or matte, depending on the look you want for your furniture.

Can you paint straight onto laminate? 

It is not recommended to paint straight onto laminate. Laminates have a glossy finish which makes it difficult for paint to stick on them. You can paint straight onto laminate, but the paint will begin removing the moment you start painting the second coat. Even after drying, the paint will peel off with a small scratch. 

For painting laminate furniture, you would need to sand it, use a primer, and then finally paint.

How do you get paint to stick to laminate?

Paint sticks to porous surfaces or materials better. Since laminate is a smooth material that is not porous like wood, it needs some prepping before you paint it. Sanding before painting is the most common way to paint laminate furniture. Sanding it would make the surface slightly rough, which will give the paint something to grab onto. Don’t forget to put a layer of high-quality primer before painting for longer durability. The primer makes the paint stick to the laminate even better.


Laminate is a popular choice in furniture, considering its low cost, durability, and it is available in vast colors and appearances. The only problem with laminate furniture is the limited option to refurbish it. 

How To Paint Laminate Furniture Without Sanding

Since laminate has a non-porous surface, it isn’t easy to paint on it without proper sanding. If you have old laminate furniture that you would like to revamp, try the steps as mentioned earlier, you won’t be disappointed. 

Let me know how your furniture turned out after painting in the comments. If you found this article beneficial, do consider sharing it with your friends and family.