Click over to see how I updated this thrift store cabinet to get a high end look, along with some tips for how to paint laminate furniture using Fusion Mineral Paint

Thrift Store Cabinet Makeover (and How to Paint Laminate Furniture!)

Hey yo! Today I wanted to share my latest and greatest project, along with what I’ve learned about how to paint laminate furniture. This post has been several days in the making. I don’t currently have my own computer, nor do I have an organized space to sit down and write in, so everything takes me like three times as long as I’d like it to right now. Which is why I’m currently in the middle of my home office makeover! Because this project seemed like one of the easiest and most familiar, I decided to tackle it first.

Painting laminate furniture is easier than you might think! Click over to see how I gave this thrift store cabinet a huge upgrade, along with some pointers on what NOT to do when painting laminate!

A while back, I picked up this cheap laminate filing cabinet (with a matching desk!) from the thrift store. I loved that the drawers had these cute shutter-style fronts, and that this cabinet actually gave me functional AND cute filing space! I kind of thought back then that I’d want to paint it white, but the laminate surface freaked me out a little bit, plus painting furniture white just kind of scares me. So I let it sit for a long time until I finally started to get some inspiration for this room.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about Fusion Mineral Paint, and following their social media pages, and drooling over the beautiful projects people have done with it (this blue dresser from Bless’er House just so happens to be, like, my favorite furniture makeover in the history of furniture makeovers). Their colors are all so beautiful and I’ve seen so many different styles done with this paint. Plus! You guys… It requires NO top coat! I repeat… No top coat!

I’d been wanting to give it a try, and I thought this would be the perfect project for it since I wanted to go with a more modern, “professional” finish and skip the distressing and all that.

I ordered some Fusion Mineral Paint in Casement (<– Affiliate link. See my disclosure policy for details) and waited impatiently for it to arrive.

How to paint laminate furniture. It's easier than you might think! Check out how I gave this thrift store cabinet a major upgrade using Fusion Mineral Paint.

Disclaimer: I purchased this paint with my own money but would TOTALLY take it for free. Just saying.

As eager as I was to dive in, I realized that, duh, because this cabinet is laminate – super shiny, smooth, not-going-to-accept-paint, laminate –  I would need to prime it. I briefly shared my sadness about this on my Instagram story last week.

I did some Googling about how to paint laminate furniture with Fusion Mineral Paint in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, I might be able to get away with skipping the primer. But alas, nope. I used some Valspar gripping/sealing primer that I already had on hand and got to work. 

Of course, because I am me, I made a few mistakes along the way, so I wanted to share with you a little tutorial on how to paint laminate furniture as well as what NOT to do. Do as I say, and not as I do!

How to paint laminate furniture

Step 1: Clean and prep

To actually get started with this project, I cleaned the entire piece and laid down a drop cloth. Then, I propped the whole thing up on a couple of 2x4s (as you can see in the photo below, I didn’t do this at first and the paint/primer ended up sticking to the drop cloth and peeled off slightly after the first coat). I also removed the bottom drawer so that I could more easily paint it, even though I really wanted to skip this step. I left the top drawer in because I’m lazy.

Step 2: Prime 

Once cleaned, I applied a layer of primer to the whole thing using my 2.5″ angled Purdy brush (affiliate link). I then let that dry overnight.

Painting laminate furniture is easier than you might think! Click over to see how I gave this thrift store cabinet a huge upgrade, along with some pointers on what NOT to do when painting laminate!

Step 3: Paint

Then I was ready to use the Fusion. I watched some videos on their website and read a little about the application technique since this paint is NOT chalk paint. It’s consistency is pretty different – closer to regular latex paint I think.

To paint the first coat, I again used my 2.5″ angled Purdy brush on the corners and smaller areas and a 3″ Purdy brush everywhere else. I loaded my brush up with plenty of paint and tried to let it flow onto the piece (as they say on the website) as opposed to “slapping” it on like I tend to do with chalk paint. 

Step 4: Re-coat

I let it dry a few hours and then went back for a second coat. However, at this time I could see a lot of brush strokes and was worried about the finish and my skills (or lack thereof). So for the second coat, I used a mini microfiber rollover. I followed the suggestion on their website and after rolling it on, I ever over-so-gently followed with a damp (with paint) brush to smooth out the bumps from the roller, just a few seconds later.

It was looking much better now!

How to paint laminate furniture. It's easier than you might think! Check out how I gave this thrift store cabinet a major upgrade using Fusion Mineral Paint.

Step 5: Let. It. Cure.

So remember how I said I don’t follow directions well and I’m really impatient? A few hours later, I went against my better judgment and put all the pieces back to together, including putting the drawers and hardware back in. BAD IDEA! As I closed the drawers, they bumped into each other and chipped the paint on the bottom of the top drawer. Total face palm moment.

If you look closely at the photos, you can see it, but fortunately, I think it’ll be easy to cover up with more paint. I’m just waiting to tackle the matching desk before I fix that little blemish. Lesson learned: follow the instructions. Also, cure time is important.

How to paint laminate furniture. It's easier than you might think! Check out how I gave this thrift store cabinet a major upgrade using Fusion Mineral Paint.

Step 6: Stare at your beautiful work

All in all, I think this piece turned out beautifully. I absolutely love the color, and I love the smooth matte finish. I also love that it won’t need a top coat! I did purchase some Fusion Tough Coat matte poly (affiliate link) to use on the top of the desk once I paint that, so I may end up applying some to the top of this cabinet as well since it might end up being used as a work surface occasionally.

I think I have a lot of learning yet to do to hone my skills with this paint. Chalk paint is pretty foolproof, which makes it perfect for beginners. However, I feel like I’m moving up in the world with my painting skills, so I was ready to try out something a little fancier (downside, it’s also more expensive than my super cheap favorite chalk paint <– one more affiliate link). It’ll take some practice, and this piece is far from perfect, but I’m pleased with how it turned out!

Have some laminate furniture that you’re thinking of painting? Pin this post to save it for later!

How to paint laminate furniture. It's easier than you might think! Check out how I gave this thrift store cabinet a major upgrade using Fusion Mineral Paint.

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