I’ve had the same, white Ikea furniture for at least 5 years now. A dresser and two bedside tables. I’m actually impressed that they have survived the 7+ moves since college. To say the least, they’ve served me well. But alas, there comes a time in your life when you don’t want Ikea and stark white to define your bedroom any longer.
Unfortunately for me, that time coincided exactly with the time in my life when I have exactly zero dollars left after paying bills and saving for the wedding each month.
So what’s a gal to do with perfectly good furniture that just needs a little spice? Why, paint it, of course!
Because Ikea furniture is made of pressed particle board and then laminated, I did some extra research on how to best repaint. The last thing I wanted to do was handle it like a 200 pound solid oak cabinet and have it disintegrate right in front of me. After reading DIY blog after DIY blog, I decided on a method that wasn’t too far off from re-painting any other type of furniture.
1. 220 grit sandpaper (nice and delicate for the particle board)
2. Automatic sander (this makes things go WAY faster)
3. Oil based primer. I used the spray kind as it typically goes on more evenly and you don’t have to worry about extra brush strokes showing through on your paint job. Each small bedside table used about 1.5 cans of spray paint primer each.
4. Paint and a nice brush. You can technically use any brush you want, but the nicer the brush, the less brush strokes you’ll see.
5. Minwax brand furniture wax. This goes on just like car wax (wax on, wax off) and gives a finished look while providing a protective coating for your furniture. You can skip this step if you’d rather sand down the paint and go for the rustic look.
6. Be sure to prep your area! I am notorious for spray painting on concrete or on our deck without a drop cloth of some kind and then we’re stuck with multi-colored paint splatter…old cardboard boxes from moving or old bed sheets are great choices for ground cover before you paint.
Now, you’re ready to reinvent that Ikea furniture!
1. Sand down the top layer of laminate/paint. Be careful not to go too deep or you can start chipping away at the actual particle board structure. Just rough it up so the primer has something to stick to.
2. Thoroughly wipe down! Any dust left will be painted permanently into your furniture, so use both damp and dry cloths and get that bad boy clean.
3. Spray primer. Follow the directions on the can as this stuff can get sticky and tough to spray if you let it sit. Coat as evenly as possible.
4. After the primer has dried, you’re ready to paint. We chose a 2-tone design so we made sure that each color had dried fully before working on the other areas. I am also notorious for sticking my thumb in wet paint in order to get my brush into an angle. Patience is a virtue, they say.
5. Eyeball it and see if you need another coat of paint. White is pretty easy to paint over, but we did 2 coats of grey and 3 coats of the peacock green just to cover any weird marks or excess primer.
6. Wax on, wax off, if you so choose. The directions will have you wax the entire piece of furniture with a light coat, let dry for about 15 minutes, wax off, and repeat.
Ta da! Like a brand new, custom piece of furniture that fits into your home decor seamlessly.
We did it a little backwards and painted the bedside tables before perfecting our bedroom style and went through about 4 different paint colors and before settling on the perfect grey combination over the weekend. Now our room finally has a super calm, sanctuary feel to it with pops of peacock green!
Good luck with your painting projects and just remember not to be afraid of the laminate! I’m anxious to repaint one of our dressers next…