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How to paint wardrobes

How to paint wardrobes with Lick paint
How to paint wardrobes with Lick paint

WordsMaha Elley


While painting your walls is a great way to add impact to your bedroom decor, painting your wardrobes is an easy way to give your snoozing space an elevated look. Discover how to prep and paint your wardrobes, by following our easy step-by-step guide.

What kind of paint do you use on a wardrobe?

If your looking for suitable paint for your wardrobes, take a look at our wood paint collection and paint for other surfaces. Along with the paint, we have all the preparation tools you need to prepare your wardrobes for painting.

How to prep and paint wood/ laminate/melamine and MDF wardrobes 

Follow the steps below:

Step 1: Clean 

  • Kick off with a good old scrub so you have a clean surface to paint on. Using water and a non-abrasive cloth, get rid of any grease and dust so your paint can really stick to that surface. After cleaning, leave to dry thoroughly before moving on to the next step. 

Top tip: we’d recommend removing the wardrobe doors before painting for the best results. If you try to paint everything in its place, you may find that the paint starts to crack around the hinges.

Step 2: Sand and clear dust

  • Smooth your wardrobe surfaces with sandpaper or a sanding block so your paint sticks better. Steer clear of overly gritty sandpaper though; 120 grit should provide enough of a buff. 
  • Once sanded down you’ll probably be faced with quite a bit of dust, which isn’t ideal for a smooth paint job. Get rid of all those dust particles and you’re guaranteed a much more flawless finish.

Step 3: prime or apply a mist coat

  • If you are painting raw MDF, ply or untreated (unpainted) wood, we advise that you apply a primer before painting. This is because these surfaces can be quite absorbent and porous, making it harder for the paint to adhere to them.
  • A primer could be either a mist coat of 70% paint and 30% water, or a wood/ multi-surface primer. If you opt for a the latter, we’d recommend using the Zinsser BIN oil-based primer.
  • If you are painting laminate or melamine wardrobes, we'd advise that you use the Zinsser BIN oil-based primer for the most durable finish.
  • Once you’ve applied the primer, leave to dry before painting. 

Note: you do not need to prime your wood if your wood has previously been painted or varnished. If this is the case, you can skip this step!

Step 4: Paint 

  • Designed for durability and suitable for multi-surface use, Lick paint offers the perfect finish on laminate, melamine, MDF and wood. Start with the frames and paint in even strokes, working your way from the inside out. 

Top tip: for the wardrobe doors and drawer fronts, we’d recommend painting their backs first and leaving to dry thoroughly before painting the front.

Step 5: Leave to dry 

  • Painting wardrobes can be a bit of a time investment, primarily due to the drying time involved. The good news is that this part involves you doing no work whatsoever, you just need to find another spot to stash your clothes. Leave your freshly painted wardrobes to dry for around a week before putting them back together.

Step 6: Varnish (optional) 

  • Although this step isn’t essential, varnishing your wardrobes after the paint dries is a great way to give them a glossier finish. It’s not for the impatient though, as you’d then need to wait for the varnish to fully dry before you get your wardrobes back together.

Common mistakes when painting wardrobe doors

Take care to avoid some of these commonly made wardrobe painting mistakes: 

  • Using sugar soap when cleaning. Stay away from sugar soap when cleaning your wardrobe as prep. All you need is water and a non-abrasive cloth. 
  • Not sanding. Want a smooth finish that lasts and lasts? Don’t skip the sanding step! 
  • Not giving the paint enough time to dry. Although it sounds like a long time, you’ll be glad you were patient enough to leave your wardrobe doors to dry thoroughly. We’d recommend leaving them to dry for a week after painting.

Follow the instructions above and your wardrobes could end up looking like this...