How to Paint Wood Veneer Furniture

••• wood texture image by Aleksey Bakaleev from Fotolia.com

Your furniture may have been constructed from any number of materials, including solid wood, plastic, metal or even wood veneer. Wood veneer is made from fusing small pieces of wood into solid sheets. The sheets are coated with a durable laminate that has the grain of a real wood species. Painting this surface is trickier than painting solid wood only because the surface is slick and nonporous. Wood veneer can be painted with excellent results if you use the right tools and techniques.

Mix trisodium phosphate with water according to package directions. Dip a rag into the cleaning solution and scrub the surface of the furniture to clean it thoroughly. Trisodium phosphate is a powerful cleaner and will also dull the shine on the furniture.

Sand the surface of the furniture lightly with medium grit sandpaper. Do not sand through the laminate layer. Work the sandpaper across the entire surface in a circular motion. Wipe away sanding dust with a tack cloth.

Pour primer into a paint pan. Roll a smooth foam roller through the primer. Remove the excess paint from the roller. Apply the primer to the furniture in a thin, even coat. The smooth foam roller will apply a very thin coat with little texture. Use a paintbrush for the areas you can’t reach with a roller. Let the primer coat dry.

Paint the furniture with a thin coat of paint using the same technique used to apply the primer. Apply three to four very thin coats of paint. Multiple thin coats are more durable than one thick coat. Allow each coat to dry to the touch before applying the next. Let the final coat dry for 4 to 6 hours.

Apply two or three coats of polyurethane to protect the furniture from nicks and scratches. Use a good quality, clean paintbrush to apply the polyurethane. Choose a nonyellowing formula for the best finish.


  • Handle your painted furniture gently until the paint has had at least 7 days to cure.


About the Author

Lisa East Hunter is a consultant and freelance writer in Phoenix. Her background in marketing and technology led her to explore all avenues of writing. She is currently dividing her time between freelance writing and her consulting business. Hunter has a Bachelor of Science in management information systems and marketing.

Photo Credits

  • wood texture image by Aleksey Bakaleev from Fotolia.com