How to Paint Pressboard Furniture

If you found the perfect bedroom set at a great price at a garage sale or at the thrift store, but you would rather have it painted a color instead of having that faux wood finish, you can easily paint it and decorate it anyway you want to.

Child's Dresser Creatively PaintedChild's Dresser Creatively Painted
You'll have to spend a little extra money on the primer so that it will adhere to the surface of the pressboard furniture. Unlike wood, pressboard finishes do not allow complete absorption of the paint onto the surface, so the special primers are necessary to make sure that the paint adheres permanently.

Remove all the drawers and hardware on the piece of furniture you want to paint. If there are hinges, you need only remove the doors from the hinges, and carefully paint around the hinges left on the furniture.

Scrub the surface with warm soapy water to remove any dust and grime that may be on the surface, and let it dry.

Spread the drop cloth. Put each piece of the furniture onto the drop cloth and begin painting with the primer. If you are going to paint the furniture a light color, you might want to apply two coats, letting it dry between coats according to the paint directions.

Open your main color paint. Stir the paint and begin painting the furniture.

Use sponges or stencils once the main color has dried to create some fun, colorful designs.

Things You Will Need

  • Zinser 1,2,3 primer or other brand chemically similar
  • Latex paints in any color(s)
  • Stencils (optional)
  • Sponges (optional)
  • Paint brushes
  • Plastic tarp


  • You can get some great stencils from arts and craft stores or the craft sections of big box stores.

About the Author

Jackie Johnson is a published writer and professional blogger, and has a degree in English from Arizona State University. Her background in real estate analysis prepared her for objective thinking, researching and writing.