Painting Veneer Furniture

Are you tired of the same old look of your veneer furniture? Painting veneer furniture is an easy and budget-friendly way to give your furniture a complete makeover. It’s also a great way to personalize your furniture and make it stand out in your home.

So, if you’re ready for a change, keep reading to learn the basics of painting furniture, especially veneer furniture.

photo painting veneer furniture with text overlay

Before you start painting, it’s good to know what veneer furniture is. Basically, it’s furniture made by gluing a thin layer of fancy wood onto a cheaper material like plywood or particle board. This gives you the look of real wood furniture at a fraction of the cost!

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However, this thin layer of wood does make painting a bit trickier. Unlike solid wood furniture, you have to be careful not to sand too much and risk damaging the veneer layer.

But don’t worry, with the right preparation and technique, you can definitely paint your veneer furniture with beautiful results.

Here’s how you can have a successful painting project for your veneer furniture!

Supplies Used for Painting Veneer Furniture

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Painting works for wooden veneer, but the process is a little different for plastic or laminate veneer. So you have to be sure your furniture veneer is made of wood before proceeding.

But…if your furniture does have laminate veneer, don’t worry! Just read this post to learn How to Paint Laminate Furniture!

Clean Veneer Furniture

Before you start painting, it’s important to have a clean surface. You want your paint to adhere properly and have a smooth finish.

Start by wiping down the furniture with a degreaser like Krud Kutter. This will remove any dirt, grime, or oils that may be on the surface.

photo of cleaning veneer furniture using krud kutter degreaser and a damp rag

After using the degreaser, wipe down the furniture with a tack cloth to remove any residue. Be sure to get into all the nooks and crannies of your furniture. Dry the furniture completely.

Our post on how to clean furniture before painting tackles more details on this step.

Sand Veneer Furniture

Sanding your veneer furniture is the next step to prepare for painting. But first, let’s answer the question: can veneer be sanded? The answer is yes but with caution.

As mentioned earlier, the thin layer of wood of veneer furniture can easily be damaged if you sand too much.

Therefore, it’s important to use a gentle touch when sanding. Use a fine grit sandpaper (around 220 grit) and lightly scuff the surface of the furniture.

photo of scuff sanding veneer with 220 grit sandpaper

Make sure to not sand in one spot for too long and avoid pressing down too hard. Don’t sand through the veneer, as this will ruin the finish and make it difficult to refinish in the future. Here’s sanded through veneer to particle board to learn how to fix it if you sanded too hard.

Be gentle and keep checking your progress. Once the entire surface is lightly scuffed, wipe it down with a tack cloth.

What if Veneer Furniture has Damage?

Your veneer furniture may have some damaged areas or chips that need to be repaired before painting.

To do this, you can use wood filler to fill in any holes or cracks. Our repairing veneer with wood filler tutorial will guide you through this process.

photo of fixing damaged veneer on furniture

For larger areas of damage, you may need to remove the damaged veneer altogether.

Here’s an easy way to remove veneer you can follow. You can also check out this guide on how to repair veneer edging here.

Once the damaged area is repaired, you can move on to priming.

Prime Veneer Furniture

Now that your furniture is clean and lightly scuffed, it’s time to prime. Why is priming important?

Like sanding before painting furniture, it creates a smooth and even surface for the paint to adhere to, guaranteeing better coverage and longevity of your paint job.

Plus, primer helps stop stains from coming through paint – bleedthrough is unsightly and can ruin your hard work!

photo of priming veneer furniture with clear shellac

When it comes to primer, you have a few options. Our priming wood for painting guide goes into more detail, including our top primers to use for wood furniture.

One of them is clear shellac, which comes in a spray can so you can easily apply it.

Spray 2 coats of shellac primer onto your veneer furniture, allowing it to dry between coats. Leave it overnight to dry completely then we’re ready to paint!

Paint Veneer Furniture

There are many types of paint for furniture available on the market, but since we’re working with wooden veneer furniture, it’s important to choose a paint that will adhere well to wood.

To help you get started, we have listed the best paints for wood furniture here. Choose one that fits your desired look and budget.

photo of painting veneer furniture

Painting your veneer furniture is similar to painting any other piece of furniture.

Apply 2-3 coats of paint, allowing each coat to dry completely before adding another. Always paint in the direction of the wood grain for a clean finish.

You can use a paintbrush, a roller, or a paint sprayer, depending on your preference.

You can check out our recommendations for the best paint brushes for painting furniture here, the best rollers for painting furniture here, and the best HVLP paint sprayers for furniture here.

Here’s our detailed comparison between paint sprayer vs roller to learn more. Each tool has its own pros and cons, so choose the one that works best for you.

Seal Veneer Furniture

Sealing painted veneer furniture is an important step to protect it from wear and tear. This is especially needed for furniture that will be used regularly or placed in high traffic areas.

Using a topcoat for painting furniture will help prevent scratches and other damage to your newly painted surface.

After your paint has dried completely, apply your topcoat of choice. Do 2-3 coats, following the recommended drying time between each coat.

If you’re using poly, here’s how to apply polyacrylic to painted furniture for more tips and tricks.

photo of sealing painted veneer with water based polyurethane

If you painted your veneer furniture with one of these all-in-one paints for furniture, then you don’t need to seal it as these paints are already durable on their own.

However, if you want extra protection or a different sheen, you can still choose to add a topcoat.

For finishing touches, you can line your drawers to add a pop of color or pattern. This not only adds a personal touch to your furniture, but it also protects your drawers from spills and stains.

Here’s the best material to line dresser drawers to use for your newly painted veneer furniture.

So now you know that painting veneer furniture is possible and not as daunting as it seems.

With the right preparation, tools, and techniques, you can transform your outdated veneer furniture into a beautiful and durable piece that will last for years to come.

Remember to always take care when sanding veneer so you can proceed with painting without any issues.

Painting Veneer Furniture

photo painting veneer furniture with text overlay

Painting veneer furniture is an easy and budget-friendly way to give your furniture a complete makeover.


  • Paintbrush, Roller, or Paint Sprayer


  1. Prepare your furniture by cleaning it thoroughly with a degreaser. This will guarantee that any grime or residue is removed, allowing for better paint adhesion.
  2. Lightly sand the surface of your veneer furniture with fine-grit sandpaper to create a rough surface for the primer to grip onto. Be sure not to sand too hard as this can damage the veneer.
  3. Prime your furniture with a good quality primer, such as clear shellac, to create a smooth and even surface for the paint to adhere to. Apply 2 coats, allowing each coat to dry completely.
  4. Choose a paint that is suitable for wood furniture and your desired look. Apply 2-3 coats of paint, allowing each coat to dry before adding another. Apply the paint in the direction of the wood grain for a professional finish.
  5. Seal your painted veneer furniture with a topcoat to protect it from wear and tear. Apply 2-3 coats, following the recommended drying time between each coat.
  6. Consider adding a pop of color or pattern by lining your drawers with paper or fabric. This not only adds personality to your furniture but also protects against spills and stains.

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