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How to paint closets

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 closet is an easy way to give your snoozing space an elevated look. Discover how to prep and paint your closet, by following our easy step-by-step guide.

What kind of paint do you use for closets?

If your looking for suitable paint for your closets, 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 closets for painting.

How do you prepare a closet door for painting?

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 closet 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 closet 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 closets, 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!

What is the easiest way to paint a closet?

Now onto the painting...

Step 4: Paint 

  • Designed for durability and suitable for multi-surface use, Lick paint offers the perfect finish on laminate, melamine, MDF, and wooden closets.
  • The easiest way to paint your closet is to start with the frames and paint in even strokes, working your way from the inside out. 

Top tip: for the closet 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 closets 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 closet to dry for around a week before putting them back together.

Step 6: Varnish (optional) 

  • Although this step isn’t essential, varnishing your closet after the paint dries is a great way to give it 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 closet back together.

Common mistakes when painting closet doors

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

  • Using sugar soap when cleaning. Stay away from sugar soap when cleaning your closet 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 closet doors to dry thoroughly. We’d recommend leaving them to dry for a week after painting.

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