DIY: Painting Laminate Furniture

Since we’ve moved into our spacious loft we have YET to find ideal storage for our bathroom…. until I became inspired and thought of a really cool idea. I’ve seen ladder book shelves all over Pinterest and really loved the idea of a ladder shelf in our bathroom ! We have this wide enough gap from the toilet to the tub where we could totally put something useful like a wide shelf or cabinet! I’m not too fond of closed cabinets, having an open shelf would really bring the whole bathroom together in my opinion!

Soooooo… about a month ago I ordered my ideal ladder book shelf from Amazon. I was super excited to get it in the mail and put it together! When we received it.. of course something was very wrong. It was the wrong color. The picture on Amazon showed this very dark woodsy color that the company called walnut. But we did not get that dark color like the picture. I thought the wrong one was sent to us at first, but on the box it said… walnut. Dun, dun dun… I was a little deceived and a little frustrated, especially since the color would just not work at all. All the wood we have in our place is dark wood with redish undertones. This shelf was in-your-face orange. It would just look out of place and not visually pleasing.

So we had two options, either had to send it back and wait another how ever many endless weeks and probably have to pay for return shipping, maybe risk getting the wrong color AGAIN.. blah blah blah… OR we could just get crafty and paint it. WHY NOT? Right? Then I can pick the color I want!

So, I painted it.

The next day I started gathering supplies for this project and within a few days I started!

I purchased most of my supplies from discount stores like Big Lots and purchased the paint, primer and protective from Home Depot. I would say the total cost was probably $20 or so.

What I used:

  • Zinsser Paint Primer
  • Behr sample paint – Lunar Surface
  • Polycrylic protective finish (clear satin)
  • Angled brush for corners
  • Sponge stick for corners and weird ledges (not necessary)
  • Small foam roller and roller pans
  • Large thick tarp

Painting laminate furniture can be tricky because of it’s slippery shiny surface. Paint will just bubble up and slide off if you just dive right in and paint it without priming it first. So step 1 is to grab some primer so the paint has something to really adhere to.

The key in finding a primer is to find one that says for all surfaces. The primer I used claimed to dry within an hour, but I decided to let it dry over night… so it didn’t slick to the tarp when I flipped it over to prime the other side. If you’re priming a dresser, or shelf that cannot be taken apart then this process will be a lot easier. Since my shelf was in pieces, this project consisted of a lot of flipping to paint other sides, etc.  I used a small roller to paint the primer on and angled brush for the corners.

Once every piece was all primed up step 2 was to paint! I went with a flat paint color in this beautiful grey, called Lunar Surface by Behr. I was able to complete the whole piece with just a small sample sized paint. (But needed to buy an additional sample size for touch-ups) Painting again took a couple of days, painting one side, letting it dry over night and painting the other side, letting it dry over night. I also noticed some patchy-ness once it was completely dried. This resulted in me doing some touch ups before finishing the painting portion of this piece. I used a small roller to paint and used a small angled sponge for the corners & edges.

The final step to this DIY was to finish the piece with a polycrylic protective finish in clear satin. Using the protective finish will help make this piece durable. This again took a couple of nights to complete, letting it dry between flips. This step does not have to be completed but recommended if you want to protect the piece. Then that’s it! You’re done!

After a long night at work, I was looking forward to finally putting this ladder book shelf together and finally freakin’ using it! But, wonderful boyfriend surprised me and put it together for me! I was stoked to finally see everything come together.

Time to decorate.


Good luck!

-Alicia !


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