Hackers Help: How to stain or paint Expedit / Kallax?

Hi there!

I own an old EXPEDIT which I would like to match my dining table. I stained the table (oak) some months ago.

Hackers Help: How to stain or paint Expedit / Kallax?

Have you any ideas on how to stain an EXPEDIT shelf? Or other ideas how to get a similar look?

Thank you all!

~ Melanie


Hi Melanie

Glad you’re thinking of updating your EXPEDIT. That old bookshelf is a keeper.

The EXPEDIT has a laminated veneer finish which doesn’t allow stains to, well, stain. Stain works by seeping into the fibre and grains of wood and leaving a layer of pigment. Stain will simply not be able to penetrate this top layer well.

You can, however, paint it. Here’s a guide on painting veneer finishes. And a similar Hackers Help question asked some years ago. Read the comments for readers’ tips. Also I found this good write-up if you need more detailed guidance.

Finally, a little inspiration to get you going on your project.

Inspo to Paint Expedit

Flat paint may not give you the “oak grain” that you want to match your dining table. Mary created a faux wood top for her MALM dresser (which is also covered in veneer) with multi-sealer and gel stain.

faux wood finishAn EXPEDIT with white melamine finish hacked and painted blue.

Expedit sideboard - before
Before hacking and painting
paint Expedit blue
Hacked and painted EXPEDIT

Going for something a little more colorful? Try this instead.

paint Expedit - a Gerhard Richter inspired cabinet
A Gerhard Richter inspired EXPEDIT cabinet

Hope it helps and good luck on your painting.


Jules Yap