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
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
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:
- 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.
- Lightly sand. I do not think this step is entirely necessary before the primer, but I did it just to be safe.
- Wipe down with a damp microfiber cloth. This removes dust and fingerprints. Allow to dry.
- 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.
- Apply two thin coats of paint. Use the same method as the primer, allowing to dry between coats.
- 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!
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
In this image I photoshopped out my sound bar, just to see how it would look 😉
Related: How to Display Art on a TV
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!