How to Paint Vinyl-Coated Furniture

Updated February 21, 2017

If you want to paint vinyl-coated furniture, pay special attention to preparation, or you will fail to achieve adequate paint adhesion. Because vinyl furniture coatings are ill-suited for adhesion, they will reject new finishes unless they are properly treated before application. You can stimulate surface adhesion by abrading the vinyl with sandpaper. Once the vinyl is properly conditioned, you will be able to generate a finish that will remain durable over time.

Clean the vinyl-coated furniture with dish soap, water and a rag. Rinse the soap from the vinyl with damp rags. Dry the vinyl with towels.

Stimulate surface adhesion by abrading the vinyl coating with sandpaper. Scour the vinyl coating until it feels gritty to the touch.

Place the vinyl-coated furniture on top of a fabric dropcloth. Cover portions of the furniture you do not want painted with a low-tack blue painter's tape.

Coat the abraded vinyl coating with an acrylic latex primer, using a paintbrush manufactured for use with water-based paints. Wait two hours for the primed furniture to dry.

Wash the brush with water.

Coat the primed vinyl coating with an acrylic latex paint. Apply paint to the vinyl coating just as you did the primer. Wait two hours for the finished furniture to dry. Apply another coat if you have inadequate coverage.


Do not oversaturate the vinyl-coated furniture with water, or you may allow moisture to seep into the underlying particle board, leading to mould and mildew infestations. Never apply paint over vinyl-coated furniture unless you have abraded it with sandpaper first, or the new finish will eventually chip and peel. Never paint over unprimed vinyl coatings, or the paint will fail.

Things You'll Need

  • Dish soap
  • Rags
  • Towels
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Heavy-duty fabric dropcloth
  • Blue painter's tape
  • Acrylic latex primer
  • 3- to 4-inch latex paintbrush
  • Acrylic latex paint
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About the Author

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.