How to Paint Laminate Cabinets

Nov 19, 2013

I know I'm not the only one that has been completely confused about how to paint laminate cabinets since they are more plastic than wood. All of my bathrooms have them, but the ones in my boys' bathroom was in serious need of a paint job. I remembered seeing a primer at Benjamin Moore a while back that claims to work on wood and plastic. The best part is that it's water based. I've never had good luck with anything other than oil-based paint and primer for wood surfaces, but the long drying time made me want to try this new primer. I'm so glad I did because not only does it dry faster, it's so easy to work with and gives me the same satin feeling results as an oil-based primer and paint. Here's what I used.

The Primer


The salesman said sanding isn’t necessary with this primer, but I still lightly sanded the surface just to be on the safe side. It is super thick and has the consistency of glue and I was really impressed with how well it bonded to the cabinet. I lightly sanded it again once the primer dried to get a smooth surface for the paint, but was careful not to sand off the primer.

The Paint


It's hard to see the label because of the paint drip, but it’s Advance waterborne interior alkyd.

Here it is finished!


I used Rockport Gray on the cabinets and mirror frame we built. FYI-If you build a mirror frame make sure you paint the back of the wood before you install it. We didn't do that and the white color on the back of the boards is reflected in the mirror. Thankfully, it's only in certain spots and not really noticeable unless you look really close.


I have three boys, but only one toothbrush is in the holder. Where could the other two be?!


Here's the progress I've made so far.


Since all three boys share this bathroom, I decided to go with a sports theme since it's something they all like. I couldn't find a cute "locker room" sign that didn't cost a fortune, so I bought a chalkboard sign at World Market and made one myself with a chalk marker. I really need stencils to make the letters look nicer, but I wanted to make sure it would work. The sign also might get a coat of paint.

The shower curtain has been here for a while and I haven't decided if it's going to stay. I'm not sure if I like the navy with the cabinet color. The walls are BM Dove White, which makes the bathroom feel clean even if it is not clean 90% of the time with three boys using it. The pictures over the toilet will be getting new frames, but I'm happy I was able to re-purpose the prints from my son's room. I found a great locker room shelf at Homegoods for a good price that just needed a bit of stainless steel spray paint. I can't wait to accessorize it!

I'm also debating whether to change the hardware from chrome to oil rubbed bronze. I think it would look so much better, but it would be quite expensive and I really just wanted to give this bathroom a mini-makeover with mostly paint. I haven't bought cabinet knobs since I've yet to decide on the hardware color, but just typing this out makes me lean towards the oil-rubbed bronze. What do you think? Once I make that decision and whether to replace the shower curtain I think this makeover will be completed quickly. I'll keep you updated!


  1. I wrote everything down that you used, my daughter has 70's kitchen cabinets, now I can show her what she needs. Yours turned out great, myself I'd go with the chrome.

  2. The bathroom is looking awesome! I love that color combination and the mirror frame. I'd love to do that to our mirrors someday. I think the chrome looks great in there so if you're wanting to stay budget conscious, keep those and add chrome handles and play the silver tones up in the room. Oil rubbed bronze would also look great though. I'm no help! :)

  3. Haha I'm sure they are either sharing a toothbrush or not brushing - that's what mine would do anyway! You did such a great job on the painting It looks perfect!