How to update old fitted wardrobes

12 March , 2024

How to modernise old fitted wardrobes

When we moved into our house in December 2023 we inherited old laminate fitted wardrobes in 2 bedrooms.

They were crying out to be modernized and painted.

Structually they were sound and in good condition and there was a huge amount of space inside.

So I decided to paint the fitted wardrobes and applied panelling and new handles.

You can see from the image above they are totally transformed and it was not difficult to do, you just need the right products!

Read below to find out how I updated our old fitted wardrobe.

Process to paint laminate wardrobes

First of all remove any handles and give the wardrobes a really good clean.  I used sugar soap spray* to clean them.

The panelling I was adding later was covering the holes from the old handles so I didn’t need to fill them.  If you are not adding panelling in this way you will need to fill the holes and then sand flat.

Then I gave them a light sanding, using a sanding block*

And then cleaned them again to get rid of any dust.

Make sure there is no residue left on them.

I then primed them – the paint I was using (see below) didn’t need primer, but I wanted to do this step to give them the best chance of not chipping or wearing off.

I used one coat of Zinsser B-I-N Aqua Primer* using a Two Fussy Blokes Microfibre Mini Paint Roller.

You can see all the decorating tools I use for my projects in this post

Decorating tools you need to get a professional finish

Preparing laminate wardrobes to be painted

What paint can you use on wardrobes?

Once the primer was dry I added the first coat of paint to the wardrobes.  I did this before adding the panelling so I had less cutting in to do.

I choose to use the Rustoleum kitchen cupboard paint in After Dark.

The paint can be

  • Easily applied to melamine, wood and gloss cupboards for a beautiful matt finish
  • With no primer or topcoat needed, this paint is hard-wearing, scrubbable and has increased durability against everyday spills and stains

Rustoleum also do furniture paint that could have been used for this project too, but I wanted to go with this. 

The 750ml tin is £24.99 and I needed just over one tin to do two coats. 

Again I used the Two Fussy Blokes Microfibre Mini Paint Roller and it gave a super smooth sprayed on finish.

If you are not adding panelling you would do the two coats and you are done!

Preparing laminate wardrobes to be painted
Preparing laminate wardrobes to be painted
Preparing laminate wardrobes to be painted
Preparing laminate wardrobes to be painted

Panelling old fitted wardrobes

(You can skip this step if you are not adding panelling to your wardrobes. )

I wanted to update the wardrobes by adding shaker style panelling to the doors.

We got the panels cut in B&Q and also purchased a few of their panelling kits. Doing this again I would purchase the panelling online as it would be cheaper.

I used an electric mitre saw, but you can use a mitre box and a normal saw to cut the length to what I needed.

I then used a grab adhesive to stick the panels to the wardrobe doors. 

 

Preparing laminate wardrobes to be painted

Final Coats of Paint & New Handles

The doors and panelling needed just two coats of paint for a really smooth opaque finish.

Once they were fully dry, I drilled new holes for the new handles I got from Amazon here*

Preparing laminate wardrobes to be painted

The finished wardrobe transofrmation

1970's wardrobes painting with green paint and panelling added
1970's wardrobes painting with green paint and panelling added
Fitted wardrobes painted with dark green paint and panelling added

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Life with Jo

Life with Jo

It started as 2 stars and a swirl baby blog in 2008.

And is now a blog about the things in life I love.

Crafting, reviews, baking, no-faff gardening, tech, and the things that I love in life.

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