Painting Laminate Furniture Part 1- Chalk Paint Malm Nightstand Makeover

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This is the first of several makeovers I’m planning on doing within the next few weeks. I planned to makeover/upgrade our living room furniture some time ago, and now I finally got the time. I started with the smallest project first – the Malm side table/nightstand from Ikea.

Actually two of them. In this post, I’ll show you how I did it and how painting laminate furniture with chalk paint can transform a dull piece to something more interesting. At least in my opinion :)

I was wondering for a while how I should approach this and what look I want. And I decided that while I’m not going for a distressed look, I didn’t want them to be completely plain and just painted white. 

I’ve decided to match the colors of my standing desk(white and brown/black). And then to create a geometrical pattern at the front (keeping some of the original brown/black color) as well as keeping the top (same black/brown color)as it is while painting the sides white.

The pattern was going to be a mirrored image on the other piece, and I was keeping the same colors and style throughout all of my living room furniture.

I used the same chalk paint from Aldi as I used for my upgraded pallet coffee table.

I’m still considering adding some hardware, but my husband is reluctant, so I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to go with this idea.

Prep

First of all, before starting any work on furniture, prepare the space you’ll be working in. I mostly work in my garden, so I used a plastic sheet to work on. It was a very thin plastic and something that didn’t last long. Next time I’ll be using either a thicker plastic or just buy some tarpaulin that is more durable and a lot cheaper.

I cleaned the nightstand with some elbow grease cleaner and gently sanded both of its sides with 150 grit sandpaper. I know that the idea behind chalk paint is no prep, but with laminate, you never know. I wanted to make sure the paint will adhere properly to the surface.

Next, using a painters tape( I used Duck brand), I marked the pattern and sanded the side I wanted to paint. I wiped all the dust with a damp cloth and let it dry.

Painting

After painting the first layer going whatever way, I was wondering how many coats it will actually take to completely cover the blackish color. It was five(!) I wasn’t expecting awesome results from this paint as it wasn’t the original Annie Sloan but five?! I’m definitely going to use a white primer/undercoat for the next piece.

Luckily the weather was warm, and each coat dried fairly quickly. I didn’t sand between coats, so that was a time saver. 

Starting from the second layer, I was going vertically along “the grain.” Chalk paint gives you a lovely, textured finish as long as you won’t sand it down heavily. I did sand it at the end before sealing, but you could still see and feel the texture, which was what I was going for.

The drawers fronts were a bit more tricky since I didn’t take the drawers out, which required unscrewing them from the runners. And the baby proofing straps were glued to them. I decided to leave the straps in place and just paint them as well (too lazy to remove them and deal with all the glue residue, hehe ;)).

After the first whichever way coat, I painted with the grain which was horizontal. They came out quite good I think.

Finishing

After all of it had dried, I sanded the surfaces gently with a 150 grit sandpaper and wiped the dust with a damp cloth. I removed the tape, which was supposed to prevent paint bleeding, but it didn’t completely do it.

I still had some minor bleed, but it was easy to wipe off with a very damp cloth. Once it all dried, I put a layer of clear wax on, and then 10 min later, I buffed it with a clean, soft cloth. The final result looks pretty good to me.

Tip. If you want to have a very smooth surface, sand it gently with fine-grit sandpaper until the surface is completely smooth, and the texture is gone. Then seal it. For high traffic, use either the chalk paint lacquer or a water-based poly(sprayed or wiped on one). 

If you want more details about painting furniture I have a couple of articles that could help you out:

What is Chalk Paint and How to Use it – a Beginners Guide

How to Paint Furniture – the Ultimate Guide on Upcycling

I hope you liked this quick project about painting laminate furniture. There will be more to come soon. If you have any questions, just leave a comment below, and I’ll be happy to help you. Oh, and don’t forget to pin this article to your furniture makeovers board, thanks!

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