How To Paint A Bed Frame

A painted bed frame, including the headboard, can transform the look and feel of your entire bedroom. Refresh this important piece of furniture with this how-to-paint guide.



Ready to Learn How to Paint a Bed Frame?

Sprucing up the frame with a fresh coat of paint is a great way to give your bed an instant refresh.

Whether you’re looking for how to paint a wooden bed frame or one made of laminate or metal, we’ve got the step-by-step help you need to update your bed frame with paint.

Step #1: Pick Your Products

When painting a bed frame, or any piece of furniture, achieving lasting results starts with choosing high-quality products.

  • Prime wood or laminate bed frames with STIX® Waterborne Bonding Primer, which offers powerful adhesion that sticks to any surface.
  • For the best paint for a wooden bed frame, homeowners love ADVANCE® Interior paint, which provides a premium, furniture-like finish.
  • Wondering what paint to use on a metal bed frame? For ferrous (steel, iron) and non-ferrous (aluminum) metal, we recommend Ultra Spec® HP D.T.M. Acrylic paint or Super Spec® HP D.T.M. Alkyd paint, depending on whether you want an acrylic or alkyd (oil-based) coating.
  • Only prime a metal frame if there is excessive rust or corrosion present.
  • Consider sheen when choosing bed frame paint colors. Lower gloss sheens hide imperfections and offer a smooth, elegant look, while high-gloss sheens aren’t as forgiving, but do provide a sleek, modern look.

Lightbulb icon

Helpful Tip

Acrylic Paint vs. Alkyd Paint

• Looking for a faster dry time? Go acrylic.
• If durability is your goal, choose alkyd.

Step #2: Dismantle and Clean the Bed Frame

  • If you’re painting the bed frame by hand, start by dismantling the frame.
  • If you’re planning to spray paint the bed frame, disassembly is not necessary, but you should move the frame to the garage or outside ahead of painting.
  • Place a drop cloth under your bed frame to catch any dust, debris or errant paint product.
  • Use warm, soapy water and damp rags to clean the bed frame. Allow it to dry completely.

Lightbulb icon

Helpful Tip

Keep any screws or other small parts of the bed frame in a safe location, and consider labeling them for easy reassembly.

Step #3: Sand and Clean Again

  • When the bed frame is clean and dry, it’s time to sand it. Sanding is especially important if the frame has any kind of glossy finish.
  • We recommend using medium 180- to 220-grit sandpaper and a sanding sponge for a wood or laminate frame to dull the surface.
  • Wondering how to remove paint from a metal bed frame? Use medium 180- to 220-grit sandpaper for non-ferrous metal, or coarse 80-grit sandpaper for a ferrous metal frame.
  • A few passes should be enough—you don’t need to completely remove the existing coating if there is one.
  • It’s not always necessary to fully remove paint from metal that you want to repaint. If the metal is not rusted, you can simply paint over the existing coating—just be sure the metal is clean, dull and dry before you start painting.
  • Vacuum up any dust or sanding debris and wipe the frame down with damp rags or a microfiber cloth.

Lightbulb icon

Helpful Tip

Wondering how to paint a bed frame without sanding?

If you’re working with wood, laminate or metal that has not been previously painted, you don’t need to sand it. If your previously painted metal frame is in good condition, sanding is also not necessary.

Step #4: Prime the Bed Frame

  • To prime and paint a bed frame, we recommend using a 4- to 6-inch fine-finish roller for any large flat surfaces like the headboard or footboard. Switch to a paintbrush for the legs and any detail that is difficult to paint with the roller.
  • For a wood or laminate frame, you can apply an even coat of STIX® Waterborne Bonding Primer.
  • Most previously painted bed frames, if they are in good condition (no patching necessary), do NOT need to be primed, especially if you’re using a premium quality interior paint.
  • To prime a metal frame with excessive rust or corrosion, apply an even coat of Ultra Spec® HP Acrylic Metal Primer or Super Spec® HP Alkyd Metal Primer.
  • Let the primer dry completely

Lightbulb icon

Helpful Tip

If a metal bed frame is clean and free of loose rust, you don’t need to prime it.

Step #5: Paint the Bed Frame

  • With a roller, apply an even coat of ADVANCE® Interior paint to the headboard, footboard, and any other flat surface. ADVANCE provides a furniture-like finish that easily withstands wear and tear and is available in all Benjamin Moore colors.
  • Switch to a paintbrush and apply an even coat of paint to the rest of the frame, including the legs and any detail that is hard to reach with the roller.
  • Wondering how to spray paint a bed frame? You can spray paint using a sprayer available to rent or buy at your local Benjamin Moore retailer. While sprayers help you get your job done faster, keep in mind that they are powerful machines, and must be used responsibly.

Lightbulb icon

Helpful Tip

If you don’t own a paint sprayer, you can rent one. Visit your local Benjamin Moore retailer for advice on rental equipment.

Step #6: Let Dry and Apply a Second Coat

  • After you have waited for the paint’s maximum recoat time (found on the back of the can), apply an even second coat of paint to the frame the same way you did the first.
  • Cure time is the amount of time you should wait before reassembling your frame. If you chose to spray paint a wooden bed frame, or one made of metal or laminate, you won’t need to reassemble the frame. Just remember to wait for the paint to cure before putting the bed back to everyday use.


More Tips for Painting Furniture

Got another piece you want to transform? Check out How to Paint Indoor Furniture for step-by-step guidance from our painting professionals.

As always, visit your local Benjamin Moore retailer for help with all your painting needs.