What Kind of Paint to Use on IKEA Furniture?

We all are fans of IKEA Furniture, aren’t we? IKEA has been producing various stylish pieces of furniture and the most affordable ones. But there is no harm in painting the IKEA furniture and making it one of your own kind.

The process is straightforward to follow, so you have got nothing to worry about. 

So, What Paint Can You Use On IKEA Furniture? In order to paint IKEA furniture, you can choose from water-based paint, oil-based paint, spray paint, or even chalk paint. Nonetheless, spray paint is easier to use, gives better results, but you need to strictly follow the procedures.  

In this article, I will share a complete step-by-step process of painting IKEA furniture. Along with my own experience, you will learn about a few tips to make the paint last longer. 

So, what are you waiting for? Keep on reading to give your old IKEA furniture a brand new look. 

Different Kinds Of Paints to Use on IKEA Furniture and Their Benefits:

Water-Based Paint

Water-based paints are popular because they emit less toxicity than any other paint. They are easy to clean and dry out quickly. The best part is that the color won’t become yellowish. 

Some of the disadvantages of water-based paints include they are less durable than oil-based paints.

Then again, there remain risks that sometimes the paint won’t work as planned, which might result in stains & wood knots bleeding.

Although this can be avoided by using a water-based primer, never skip the primer. 

Oil Based Paint

They are highly durable and cover any odors that may be stuck in your furniture better than any other kind of painting. 

However, oil-based paints can get yellowish over time, and it isn’t easy to clean the paint from the brushes. While applying, it can pose a strong odor and can get cracked. 

Spray Paint (My Favorite)

Spray paint is one of my favorite kinds, as it is easy to apply, offers more coverage, and dries quickly.

On the other hand, it requires multiple cans for large furniture, and you might end up spending a lot of money. While applying the spray, it can get messy, and the odor can be disturbing.  

Chalk Paint

I love using chalk paint because it gives a great vintage look. You can also get different coloring effects by layering up the chalk paints. 

On the contrary, the brush strokes are very visible and less durable. Although chalk paint on solid wood doesn’t require a primer, it will be wise to apply primer on laminate furniture. 

So, How Do You Paint Old IKEA Furniture? 

Painting IKEA furniture is fun, and you can easily decorate it as your own imagination just by using some paints and brushes. Let us move into the steps by step process of painting old IKEA furniture;

Step 1 – Identify The Material Of The IKEA Furniture

IKEA furniture is usually made of three types of materials. Such as laminated, solid wood, or metal ones. 

The first thing to do is check the material of the IKEA furniture, as the rest of the steps will vary according to that. 

Do not freak out if you don’t know about the product. There is a huge chance you will find it on the manual or the sticker attached to the product. 

Let me tell you a secret. If your furniture is about 5 to 6 years old, it is normal to lose the manual or the sticker to be torn out. However, you can always check the product details on IKEA’s official website or on Amazon

But keep it in mind, not all product material will be directly written. You might be wondering which words to search for to know the material? Check the list below,

  1. Laminating (or Plastic) – Clear Acrylic Lacquer
  2. Solid Wood – Solid pine or other types of woods. 
  3. Metal – Steel

Step 2 – Disassemble The Piece Of Furniture

It is frequently asked, Should I keep the piece of Furniture assembled or disassembled while painting? Well, my request would be to disassemble the IKEA furniture to avoid any kind of accident. It also makes it easier to paint. 

If you lose the Allen keys and cannot disassemble them, you can still paint them. Nonetheless, you have to be extremely careful with the corners and be cautious not to ruin the piece of IKEA furniture. 

You can also use painter’s tape to avoid the risk of paint bleeding. It also helps to get a clean line.

Step 3 – Identify If It Is Necessary To Sand The Furniture

Can You Paint IKEA Furniture Without Sanding? You can paint most types of IKEA furniture without sanding except for the solid wooden IKEA furniture. It entirely depends on the type of furniture. 

Let me share what I have gathered from my research and experience.

Laminated IKEA Furniture – In the case of painting laminate IKEA furniture, no sanding is necessary. You can simply skip this step and follow the rest of the procedure.

Solid Wood IKEA Furniture – Well, it is highly recommended to sand the solid wood IKEA Furniture. But it is pretty normal to see people getting lazy and avoiding sanding the furniture. Nonetheless, skipping the sanding might make the paint not last long. 

Metal IKEA Furniture – You can also skip sanding the meat IKEA Furniture because it is not technically essential. But if you want, you can definitely sand the piece of furniture. In that case, start with an 80 grit piece of sandpaper for the rougher part and go up to 120 grit. 

The sanding helps to make your painting surface smoother, which can also be done using the primer. So the choice is ultimately yours. 

Step 4 – Gather The Paints And Necessary Tools

Now that you are aware of the furniture’s material and know many tricks about each material, it is time to gather the appropriate tools for the painting. 

Things you need are, 

  • Shellac-Base Primer
  • Brushes, Rollers, Or Spray Cans
  • Paint (Your Preferred Colors)
  • Sanding Paper (Optional)
  • Top Coating

Step 5 – Apply Primer 

Primer is basically a base coat of the paint that helps to prepare the surface for receiving the final finishing paint. It also helps in adhering to the paint for a more extended period. 

Many prefer to skip this step but end up hampering the product. Therefore, I strongly suggest you apply primer before painting the IKEA furniture. 

A Shellac Based Primer is the best primer to use. It sticks to any surface (laminated, wooden, metal surface) without sanding. Moreover, it dries out so quickly and covers any unwanted odors. 

That is, you can never go wrong with a Shellac Based Primer. You can check this primer on amazon by clicking here. 

If you want to skip the avoid the primer mentioned above, there are a few things I want to suggest to you:

  1. Never miss applying a primer before painting.
  2. If you are going to use an oil-based paint, you must also use an oil-based primer as well.
  3. It is recommended to use a water-based primer before painting a water-based paint. 

Step 6 – Time To Choose the Type of pInt and Paint The Piece Of Furniture

You can choose from water-based paint, oil-based paint, spray paint, and chalk paint. But before that, carefully read the benefits and drawbacks I have pointed out at the beginning of the article. 

After you choose your preferred type of paint, use both small and big brushes for the perfect finish. Using a combination of tools ensures a proper layer of paint.

Use rollers for large surfaces and different-sized brushes for the corners and small areas. 

Step 7 – Final Coating

To make the paint on IKEA furniture last longer, you need to apply a topcoat. But choosing the appropriate topcoat can be intermediating. Nothing to worry about! I am here to help you.

It would help if you used a top coat to ensure the paint underneath it stays protected from wear and tear. 

I recommend you to use a water-based topcoat over an oil-based paint, and you need to make sure the paint is completely dried out before sealing.

My recommended water-based sealant is the Minwax Polycrylic, and choose from a satin finish, semi-gloss finish, a gloss finish, or a matte finish. It works great on both oil-based and water-based paint. 

For Chalk paint, I recommend you to avoid sealing with wax. Wax-sealed furniture will give a nice finish but will not be durable as acrylic varnishes. 

Final Thoughts:

TADA! There you go. Now, you know how to paint your favorite IKEA furniture properly.

Using the techniques and information I have provided, you can paint IKEA chairs, desks, and any other IKEA kinds and series of furniture like IKEA PAX, Hemnes, billy bookcases, malm dressers, linnmon table tops, etc.

Now it is your time to paint the IKEA furniture & let me know how it goes, in the comments section below. Good luck!

Meraj Jahan

Hey, I am a co-author at Office Chair Trends. Not only have I experience working for extended hours behind the desks at my workstation, but I also have seen people in my surroundings suffer from body aches. Being a reader by day and writer by night, I have researched this matter and gathered knowledge along the way. I am sharing all my experiences on this site.