How to refinish IKEA particle board furniture
This post has been a long time coming and is finally here!
About a year ago, I decided my bedroom was in dire need of a pick-me-up. As a journalist with two degrees worth of student loan debt, I don’t have
any a lot of money, so I started trying to put together a plan that would give me a new look while using much of what I already had on hand in order to avoid breaking the bank.
And, it seemed to work! My old IKEA furniture looks eons better after a simple paint job facelift.
Here’s what I started with. I don’t have a picture of my dresser on file, but it’s the same light wood-colored particleboard – “birch veneer” from IKEA. This is a photo from an old apartment that I vacated in the early summer of 2014.
As an aside: I took a trip to IKEA before I moved into my first student apartment at Central Michigan University. I bought an IKEA Malm desk, dresser, headboard, floating shelf and a Lack side table. All in that birch veneer color. Why, 19-year-old Randi, why?
I started researching ways to refinish IKEA particleboard furniture, since using what I already owned was likely the most cost-effective way of getting a new look for my apartment.
After a few Google searches, I came across this really nifty guide from Live Love DIY, who happens to be one of my favorite bloggers.
I modified the instructions to fit what I had on deck and went ahead with my project.
Sanding sponge in fine grit
White house paint (My parents gifted me a half-gallon of leftover Behr indoor paint)
Gold spray paint
A sample paint roller (I don’t do a lot of painting so I just needed something small and disposable)
Virginia said that she used a specific primer just for laminate furniture, which worked for her. I decided to play it safe and sand my surfaces anyway. I sanded just enough to rough up the surface so the primer would have an easier time adhering. Then I used a Clorox wipe to clean all the sanded debris off the surface before using a spray primer. Nothing against the Zinsser brand Virginia touts – I just used what I had on hand. I primed every surface before letting it all dry, and then used gold spray paint to paint the desk legs gold.
At this point, I inadvertently ended up taking a year-long break. I had assembled my desk and brought it back inside since I live in a downtown area and nothing is safe if left outdoors. I had planned on finishing it up within the week, but then I ended up working late the next few days, and then I moved across town, and then school started back up and then life happened.
I used everything primed for a year before I finally got around to finishing the project a few weeks ago in my living room. (Sorry again, Elise). All I needed was three coats of Behr indoor house paint in white to finish up the entire project.
I let everything cure for two weeks (which was the hardest part) and it was finished!
My desk also looks so much better now that it’s finished.
I also gave the drawers underneath my desk an update with a coat of matte black spray paint. I like the matte black because I feel like the color helps the drawers disappear underneath my desk. That’s an old IKEA unit, but I’m not sure if it’s in stock anymore because I couldn’t find it on the IKEA website. It was gray before its paint job – you can see a glimpse in the “before” photo I uploaded.
I know IKEA sells all of the above items in white, but I was trying to be cost-effective here. I’ve been using both my desk and my dresser for a few weeks, and my paint job seems to be holding up fairly well!
(Next up is that old chair next to my dresser. It was a $4 purchase from Habitat for Humanity ReStore and I’ve already started brainstorming ideas for how to fix it up. Suggestions?)
I don’t expect this furniture to last forever since my dresser is already six years old and starting to fall apart, but it’s a nice temporary facelift until I can afford a newer and nicer bedroom set.
Have you ever rehabbed IKEA furniture? What was the experience like? Let me know in the comments!