This post is all about how to paint IKEA furniture! A few years ago I shared our IKEA media console and it has become one of my most pinned blog posts. (In case you missed it: this piece is made up of IKEA BESTA cabinets and is so budget friendly for the size!) Today I’m excited to share an update. Did you know that you can paint laminate IKEA furniture? With the right primer, paint, and tools, you can completely make over an inexpensive TV stand or table to fit your decor style. Keep reading for the complete list of the products I used plus tips for painting IKEA furniture for a high end look, without the designer price tag.

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IKEA Media Console Cabinets Before Painting

painting IKEA furniture, IKEA modern media console, faux leather woven cubes, artificial olive tree

Here is a before view of our living room. Last year I worked on making this space cozier with earth tones and texture. Then, in January I set goals for new home projects including a TV wall refresh! I was ready for a change, but I could not part with our media console because the size and storage is amazing for our open concept living room. (For reference, the media console is 94.5 inches wide under a 65 inch TV.)

Soon I am hoping to install picture frame molding on this wall. But step one was to paint the media console a warm gray, to add contrast against the white walls.

Related: Easy DIY Picture Frame Molding

Painting IKEA Furniture: Supplies Needed

I am by no means an expert furniture painter, but I do love to research before beginning any project! Here are the products I ended up selecting for painting our IKEA media console:

Zinsser BIN Advanced Synthetic Shellac Primer

If you are comparing blog posts about how to paint laminate IKEA furniture, you have probably read about Zinsser BIN shellac primers. There are actually two kinds to choose from: shellac and synthetic shellac.

I decided to use the BIN Advanced Synthetic Shellac Primer. It was the middle of winter, and I wanted a low odor product that I could use in my living room. It also cleans up easily with soap and water!

However, the general consensus is that the BIN Shellac Based Primer is the holy grail product with the best durability. So, if your IKEA furniture will receive a lot of traffic (for example, a table) and you are able to paint in a well ventilated space, definitely go with the BIN Shellac Based Primer. Just note that it has a strong odor and requires denatured alcohol for cleanup.

If you prefer low odor, soap and water cleanup, and your furniture will receive lighter use, the BIN Advanced Synthetic Shellac Primer is a great choice!

Latex Paint for IKEA Furniture

My favorite paint is Behr Marquee because many of the colors are one coat guaranteed! It is also low odor and cleans up easily with soap and water. For the media console, I used the color Greige (in satin finish) which is a beautiful warm gray. It is a bit darker and more gray (versus beige) than the color I used for my interior doors.

You can also use oil based paint or chalk paint on furniture. Read about different types of paint for furniture here if you are curious about the pros and cons of each!

Topcoat for Sealing IKEA Furniture

You may want to seal your IKEA furniture, depending on how much the piece will be used. I didn’t seal our media console, but I would seal a table or any high traffic piece. Minwax Polycrylic and General Finishes Topcoat are good options. Always test your topcoat on an inconspicuous area of your furniture just to be safe!

Mini Paint Rollers, Trays, and Paint Brush

Used for both the primer and paint! I used this high density mini paint roller with frame and extra rollers. Don’t forget mini paint trays too! To cut in around the trim and legs, I used this 1-1/2 inch nylon/polyester angle brush.

Fine Grit Sanding Block and Tack Cloth

Sanding is not essential, but you may want to sand between coats of paint to ensure a smooth finish. I used my favorite 120 grit dust channeling sanding block and this tack cloth.

Basic Supplies for Painting IKEA Furniture

Don’t forget painter’s tape if you need to protect furniture legs or hardware and a drop cloth if you need to protect your floor. Also, remember to pick up paint stir sticks and a can opener at the paint counter. Finally, have a clean microfiber cloth on hand to wipe down your piece before starting!

How to Paint IKEA Furniture: The Process

And now for the process of painting IKEA furniture! I am not an expert, but I am so pleased with how this piece turned out. Here is what I did:

  1. Remove hardware. You may also wish to disassemble your piece for the best paint job. Since I only planned to paint the outside of our media console, I did not take it apart. A few areas were hard to reach, such as around the door hinges, so if you prefer you may remove the doors.
  2. Lightly sand. I do not think this step is entirely necessary before the primer, but I did it just to be safe.
  3. Wipe down with a damp microfiber cloth. This removes dust and fingerprints. Allow to dry.
  4. Apply two thin coats of primer. Cut in around trim with your paint brush and roll the rest. Be sure to allow to dry between coats. You may sand lightly between coats and wipe down with a tack cloth to ensure a smooth finish.
  5. Apply two thin coats of paint. Use the same method as the primer, allowing to dry between coats.
  6. Apply top coat if desired. Before applying, test on an inconspicuous area to be sure it does not discolor your paint. Better safe than sorry!

Side note: Did I use Kraft paper instead of a drop cloth since it is what I had on hand? Yes, yes I did. But I recommend using a plastic or canvas drop cloth for better coverage!

Painting IKEA Furniture: Before and After

And here is the after of our IKEA media console! I cannot get over how high end it looks thanks to a few coats of paint! I still need to finish off the new look by painting the metal legs to match the brass knobs. The best thing to do would be to remove the legs and spray paint them, but I may try applying Rub ‘n Buff by hand.

Related: Easy DIYs + Home Upgrades

IKEA BESTA media console painted gray, round wood coffee table, tv with landscape painting on screen. Painting IKEA furniture for a high end look
How to paint IKEA furniture for a high end look, IKEA BESTA media console painted greige
open concept living room with IKEA media console, wood frame accent chairs, vintage look rug, round coffee table, olive tree

In this image I photoshopped out my sound bar, just to see how it would look πŸ˜‰

Related: How to Display Art on a TV

Placing a planter on the coffee table in front of newly painted IKEA media console and faux olive tree

I hope you found this post helpful if you will be painting IKEA furniture! Please let me know in the comments if you use this guide, and tag me with your projects on Instagram so I can see them.

If you would like to know which IKEA parts I used to build our media console, check out this post!


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  1. Hi Caitlin, may I ask what colour of paint is on your living room wall. I can see it looks white but is it a particular shade?

  2. Love this πŸ™‚
    We’re about to paint some IKEA furniture and I would love an update on the primer and paint choices. Are you still happy with that primer choice a few months on?
    Cheers again for the clear explainer!

    1. Hi Rhiannon! Thanks so much for the comment πŸ™‚ Overall I am happy with my paint choices. There are a few places where the paint has gotten nicked. If you are able to paint in a well-ventilated space I would use the BIN Shellac Based Primer ( instead, as I mentioned above. It is an even better primer than the one I used and would be better for high traffic pieces.

      But if you plan to be gentle with your furniture, the synthetic version should be okay! Thanks again for the kind comment and best of luck!

  3. Hi,
    I love your hack and I am in the process of ordering but we would put our TV (65in) on top of the cabinet. Do you think this would work?

    1. Hi Mari! That should be fine, as long as the TV supports are on the sides of the TV and not the center. I would not want the TV support in the center since this is actually two cabinets, so there is a seam in the middle. Hope that makes sense!

  4. Hi! Lovely job on your console! Quick question! Is your couch as cozy as it looks and if so where can I get one!? Thank you! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Natasha! Thanks so much! πŸ™‚ Our sectional was from a local furniture store almost 10 years ago and unfortunately I never found it online. It was the Tribeca Sectional by Broyhill. Last year we replaced our living room furniture if you would like to see the new setup! Here is the post: Organic Modern Living Room Progress

  5. Hi there
    I was wondering how did you get success with the bin synthetic shellac? I used it on my kallax ikea but didnt pass the scratch test. It scratched off with ease after drying. What am I doing wrong. I just bought the kallax new so no need for sanding and it’s disassembled.

    1. Hi Jennifer! If your Kallax is disassembled, I would recommend using the BIN Shellac Based Primer ( It is the “holy grail” product and has better durability than the Synthetic.

      I went with the Synthetic because my furniture was already assembled and I could not get it into my garage to have better ventilation. Once I completed my media console and let it dry for several days, it did not scratch as easily. If I scratch very hard I could probably still scratch it, and it has a few nicks. But overall it has held up well even with the Synthetic.

      Still, I would use the BIN Shellac Based Primer if possible because it is the best. Hope that helps!

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