Mid-Century Dresser Makeover – How to Paint Laminate Furniture

Do you have a DIY bucket list? Finding a vintage dresser with mid-century details has been on my list for years, and finally, the perfect project came along!

It started when I was browsing NextDoor and came across a dark and blurry picture of this little dresser that was being given away for free. I took a chance and quickly claimed it. I knew there was a chance that this was laminate, so I did a bunch of reading on research on how to paint this smooth plastic finish.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • High quality paint brush
  • 4” foam paint roller set or try out this amazing painting pad I found – it paints quickly and gives a great smooth finish!
  • Rags
  • gloves
  • TSP or other deglossing solution
  • Sandpaper – medium and fine grit
  • Bonding primer designed for slick surfaces
  • Latex paint – mine is a semi-gloss in Benjamin Moore 1623 Britannia Blue, which is a deep blue-grey
  • Clear polyurethane sealer
  • As needed, new hardware or metallic spray paint for your old hardware 
  • If you need new holes for your hardware, some filler material for the old holes
  • For the “dipped” legs, painters tape, paper, and metallic paint

Here’s how to do it:

  • Clean off dirt and dust
  • Remove hardware
  • If you are changing hardware, fill in the old holes and drill the new ones
  • Sand the laminate surface lightly with medium grit sandpaper. Don’t sand too aggressively, because you don’t want to damage the laminate or make it peel
  • Wipe with surface with deglosser such as Gloss-off or TSP
  • Apply the primer using a brush for small corners or details, followed by the roller or paint pad for as smooth a finish as possible. I did two coats of primer and let it dry thoroughly overnight
  • Sand lightly with 400 grit sandpaper and wipe off dust with a rag
  • Paint several coats of latex paint using your brush and roller or painting pad and let dry thoroughly 
  • To create the dipped legs, use masking tape to define your dipped area and paper to protect the surrounding areas from overspray
  • Once all the paint is dry, coat with sealer to protect the finish

I found my new brushed brass hardware on Etsy – I chose hexagon knobs that complement the curved detail on the upper drawers and simple pulls for the lower drawers. The dresser was free, and I spent about $80 on hardware and painting supplies. Not bad for a finished product that makes me swoon!

Also, my husband noticed that the hardware looks like little faces, so now I always feel like my dresser is smiling at me 🙂

In truth, it is a bit under-sized for this space, so stay tuned for the reveal of my next dresser makeover project (yes, I am addicted!)

As the saying goes these days, stay safe and well!

Julie aka “Jewels”

6 thoughts on “Mid-Century Dresser Makeover – How to Paint Laminate Furniture

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