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The Dos and Don’ts of Painting Particle Board Furniture: 3 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Particle board furniture often looks neat and orderly when assembled. If you want to make it even better, the most efficient way is to add paint.

However, painting particle board furniture isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. You need to know what to do and avoid to get great results. Get started by taking some pointers from us!

Hardware removed before painting particle board furniture orange

What is Particle Board?

Particle board is made from wood chips combined with a binding agent, usually synthetic resin. The materials are heated and pressed until they become practically seamless. In contrast to many other common furniture materials, like whole tree wood, particle board tends to be thin and lightweight.

Although particle board isn’t as sturdy or durable as whole wood, many people appreciate its affordability. Its lightness also makes it easy to assemble and transport. As a result, it’s grown in popularity as a furniture material in recent decades.

Why Should You Paint Particle Board Furniture?

Sure, painting particle board furniture may be challenging, but it’s also rewarding. Consider the following benefits.

Strengthens the Furniture

Furniture is always subject to wear from dust, dirt, spills, animal claws, accidental contact with sharp objects, and the simple passage of time. Particle board is already known for having a shorter lifespan than most materials typically used for furniture. However, paint acts as a barrier that repels liquid and debris. Painting particle board furniture makes the pieces stronger and more durable.

Encourages Self-Expression

Besides the practical benefits, painting particle board furniture is, by nature, an art form. Art means you have a chance to explore and convey your personality and interests. The colors and designs you choose will reflect who you are and let you share that with anyone who comes into your home. It’s important for your mental and emotional health.

Enhances Your Surroundings

Everyone’s home could use an aesthetic update sometimes. When you paint particle board furniture, you improve an entire room, making it look and feel fresher and newer. Also, depending on how you decide to paint the furniture, it may complement your overall decor style better than it did before.

What to Do

Use the Right Tools

The simplest way to make painting particle board furniture easier is to invest in the right equipment. We’ll give you some suggestions.

Paintbrush, Paint Roller, or Spray Painter

Paintbrushespaint rollers, and spray painters are all great for painting particle board furniture. You simply have to decide what texture you want. If you like the rustic aesthetic of strokes, go for the brush; if you prefer a smoother look, opt for the roller or spray painter. They’re also better if you simply want to save time, since you can cover lots of space quickly.

Sandpaper, Deglosser, or Mineral Spirits

An important trick to successfully painting particle board furniture is to prepare it to hold the paint as well as possible. You’ll need sandpaperdeglosser, or mineral spirits, which coarsen the board enough to let the paint sink in.


Particle board furniture is assembled with various hardware. You may want to disassemble and reassemble it as needed for your project, so keep a good screwdriver handy.


You can use whatever paint suits your fancy. However, most experts agree that water-based latex and oil-based paints are ideal for painting particle board furniture. They adhere best to the surface and can be cleaned without getting damaged.


Every serious painting job needs a good primer. It’s formulated to help the paint adhere to the surface better. No matter what kind of paint you use to paint particle board furniture, using a primer will only make it better.


Applying a sealer is a common way to finish a painting job. As its name implies, this chemical is made to seal out anything that could compromise the paint’s integrity, such as dirt, dust, and drink spills. Paint already accomplishes this purpose, but sealer acts as an extra layer of protection.


Sanding, priming, painting, and sealing may all create debris or stray droplets. You’ll want a bunch of rags to clean up as you go along so that the mess doesn’t get overwhelming by the time you’re done. Microfiber is an excellent material; its soft texture is unlikely to scratch the board.

Take the Furniture Apart

To speed up the project, painting particle board furniture while still assembled is tempting. Instead, use your screwdriver to take it apart. That way, you’ll have no trouble reaching every part of the board throughout the whole process.

A stack of disassembled particle board furniture and a screwdriver

Besides, you don’t want to get paint on the hardware; it might look tacky and corrode the metal faster than usual.

Roughen the Board

Before painting particle board furniture, you need to sand it. Sanding evens out the surface and eliminates blemishes. Since particle board isn’t as hardy as other types of wood, sandpaper is a safer choice than a sander machine, which can be powerful.

Some people prefer to avoid sanding because it can be messy. If that describes you, opt for deglosser or mineral spirits instead. It accomplishes the same purpose using chemicals rather than sanding tools. If you want details, check out our advice on painting furniture without sanding!

Apply More Than One Coat of Paint

Most painters will say that you should apply more than one coat to your project, and that applies to painting particle board furniture. The first coat of paint establishes the color and brush stroke pattern; the second coat reinforces the first so that the paint is more vibrant and less likely to fade or chip.

Add Sealer

Although painting particle board furniture is a great way to make it last longer, it could use all the help it can get. That’s why you must put on some sealer after the painting is done. One coat is sufficient, but two is the most effective.

What Not to Do

Ignore Blemishes or Damage

Check for scratches, dents, cracks, and other types of damage on your furniture. You may hope that painting particle board furniture will cover up all those blemishes, but that’s not the case. These problems can only be fixed with sandpaper, deglosser, or mineral spirits. After that, the paint will accentuate the furniture’s existing attractiveness.

Skip the Primer

Some DIYers make the mistake of assuming that primer is helpful but ultimately unnecessary. Without a primer, however, you’ll find yourself painting particle board furniture more often than you might like since the primer is essential for making paint adhere to its surface for the long term. Apply the primer before painting.

Try to Rush

You might hope to wrap up your project quickly, but painting particle board furniture takes time. After all, you’re applying multiple coats of primer, paint, and sealer; they will all need to dry. Set up your project in an area where no one except you will touch it for several days so that you have plenty of time to work on it.

Ideas for Colors and Styles

Now you know what to do and what not to do when painting particle board furniture. Perhaps you’re still wondering what paints and color schemes to use.

Scientists have studied how different colors affect our thoughts, moods, and energy levels. The color you choose to paint particle board furniture could impact your daily life more than you realize. If you’re looking for inspiration, we’ve got some ideas.

Light Colors

Is your furniture going in a room that’s meant to be peaceful, calming, and welcoming? Choose a light paint color. White is a classic choice, but pastels work beautifully as well.

Particle board cabinets painted white

If you want warmth, go for a muted pink, purple, orange, or brown. Yellows, blues, grays, and greens are better to create a soothing coolness.

Dark Colors

Deep and dark colors often convey elegance, confidence, and perhaps a little drama. If you like black or rich shades of other colors, consider painting particle board furniture with dark paints. It could infuse a room with a sense of sophistication or even mystery.

Bright Colors

People often find bright or neon colors to be energizing and fun. If you paint particle board furniture with vibrant shades of yellow, red, orange, purple, pink, green, or similar colors, you may find yourself in a happy mood more often.

Contrasting Colors

There’s no rule stating that you can only use one color to paint particle board furniture. In fact, you may love mixing contrasting colors together to produce a unique effect.

For example, black and white appear both chic and inviting when together, so you may like to paint the furniture black with white trim, or vice versa.

Another example is purple with yellow. Deep purple hues encourage creativity, while bright yellow inspires cheerfulness. The contrast could keep you in an innovative mindset.

Like Colors

Some colors enhance each other’s natural strengths because they appear in the same general area of the visible spectrum.

For instance, blue and green are close together. If you want your furniture to have a tranquilizing effect while improving focus or boosting productivity, these are great colors to use for painting particle board furniture.

Consider pink and brown, too. Brown is generally situated somewhere between red and yellow, while pink is a light shade of red. With the warm earthiness of brown and the whimsical lovingness of pink, your furniture could fill you with a sense of hope and security.


Maybe you want to feel like you’re living in luxury. In that case, use glossy or glittery gold, silver, or bronze shades to paint particle board furniture. If you don’t want the entire piece painted this way, these colors would still make lovely trim.


If you want to adorn your project with special knobs, stickers, stencils, or other embellishments, take that into consideration when picking a color to paint particle board furniture.

Sumnacon 5 Pcs 4.7 Inch Crystal Drawer Dresser Knobs - Diamond Cabinet Cupboard Door Knobs with Plates, Decorative Closet Wardrobe Pull Handles with Screws for Home Office Decor, Rose Gold

When everything is finished, the colors and designs should complement each other.

Time for Painting Particle Board Furniture!

Once you’ve gotten started painting particle board furniture, you’ll probably find it so fun and rewarding that you’ll want to keep it up! Luckily, your next project could be right in your home already.

Look through our ideas for upcycling furniture–particle board and otherwise–and enjoy how your environment changes for the better!