Kitchen Project: Cheri Shows Us How To Paint Ugly Laminate Kitchen Countertops

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

A few years ago we ran a series called February Jumpstart, where readers did a cool project in their kitchen and showed us the results. We were just thinking about this kitchen project, and wanted to show it to you. It’s one we didn’t even know was possible! Cheri painted over her ugly laminate countertop and improved the look of her rental kitchen in a stunning way. Read on to see why and how she did this, and to see photos of the before and after.

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(Image credit: Faith Durand)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


Name: Cheri
Time: 4 days
Cost: $60

Cheri says:

My purpose for this project was because the laminate counter and VCT floor in my new apartment didn’t match. I couldn’t stand the cold gray countertop, so decided to do a warm dark brown counter to tie in the floor. I also removed the horrible existing cabinet pulls and replaced with a simple stainless steel pull from Ikea.


  • Mouse sander with 150 sandpaper
  • Wide roll of painters tape
  • Xylol solvent
  • XIM primer/bonder for plastics
  • Benjamin Moore Stain oil-based paint
  • Smooth furniture grade-roller and small angled sponge brush (all paint products easily bought at Janovic)


  1. If it’s a rental, like mine, get permission from your landlord.
  2. Clear out the animals.
  3. Wipe down surface with xylol solvent to remove any grease or dirt.
  4. Sand laminate to give it some ‘tooth’.
  5. Vacuum away dust and wipe down with xylol solvent again.
  6. Tape off area with wide painters tape.
  7. Spray surface with XIM primer/bonder for plastics.
  8. After drying, wipe down to remove any primer dust and then apply oil-based paint with a furniture-grade roller. Get tight spots with a small/angled stain brush (sponge type).
  9. Allow to dry for at least 1 1/2 days.
  10. When paint is dry, take a fine sandpaper and gently sand away any bumps or dirt that may have been caught in the paint. Wipe away dust. Apply another coat. (You can apply up to 3 coats, I did 2). It is optional if you want to apply a satin poly on top of the oil paint.
  11. Make sure it’s fully dry before removing tape.
  12. Since paint is never as durable as laminate, I bought a cutting board at Ikea to do all my work on it and prevent any future chips.


Painting Over Plastic Laminate at This Old House

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