How to paint a metal bed frame?

If you’re looking to revitalise your bed frame, painting your metal bed frame can be an excellent way to achieve a stylish transformation – whether to compliment your new bedroom decor or make a bold statement in your room. This insightful guide will help you with the process of painting your metal bed frame.

Athalone bed frame painted in blue

Materials and tools

Before starting this process, it is important that you have all the necessary items. Listed below are materials and tools that you will need:

  • Paint Brushes/ Paint sprayer: Different sizes for various painting techniques.
  • Sandpaper: To smooth the surface and create a better adhesion for the paint.
  • Primer: An essential step to ensure the longevity of the paint job.
  • Paint: Choose a type suitable for bed frames, such as latex or oil-based.
  • Drop cloths: Protect the surrounding area from paint splatters.
  • Screwdriver or wrench: To remove any hardware or components hindering the painting process.

Preparing the metal bed frame

Ensure you prepare the frame properly in order to achieve the best finish and results.

Step1: Clean the frame

Thoroughly clean the bed frame, removing any dust, dirt, or existing finish. A damp cloth or mild soap solution should be sufficient, applying mineral spirits afterwards will give better adhesion. If the surface is new, remove grease using mineral spirits and apply a rust primer.

Step 2: Remove peeling paint and rust

Use sandpaper, wire brush or scraper to smooth the surface and create a better bonding surface for the paint. If there is rust, removing it is essential so make sure to sand the frame. Sanding can leave residue so go over the bed frame a final time with a damp cloth to lift any loose particles. Apply a rust – inhibitive primer so the paint will stick better.

Step 3: Prime the metal for painting

Priming is a vital step that helps the paint adhere better and provides a smoother and more durable finish. You can either spray or brush the primer onto the frame. For iron and steel frames iron oxide and zinc chromate primers work best.

When spraying, shake the primer for about a minute and hold 1 foot away from the bed frame. Let the primer dry completely for 24 hours before you start painting.

Types of paint

There are two main types of paint on metal surfaces:

Oil based paints which offer a beautiful finish but take longer to dry.
Acrylic paints which work quicker and can be sprayed onto the bed frame.

Choosing the correct paint colour

Careful consideration needs to be taken when choosing the paint to ensure you achieved the desired look. Decide whether you want to subtly compliment your bedroom or make your frame a bright contrasting centre piece in your room. Taking inspiration from other bedroom designs can help you decide.

Edwardian iron bed - Image spring - Thumbnail

Painting your metal bed frame in a the final colour

You can paint your bed frame with spray paint or a brush. Try painting in a well – ventilated space, ideally outside.

Painting techniques

  • Brush strokes: Dip the brush into the paint and apply smooth strokes from left to right, overlapping strokes will help achieve uniform coverage. You will likely need more than one coat.


  • Spray painting: Hold the spray 8 – 10 inches away from the frame, moving horizontally or vertically to prevent dripping. Multiple thin coats are better than one thick coat, as they minimise the risk of drips.

Spray paint cans

Drying and curing process

Once you’ve completed the painting process, it’s crucial to allow the paint to dry and cure properly to achieve a durable and long-lasting finish.

Follow these recommendations to ensure optimal drying and curing of your painted bed frame:

Drying Time

The drying time can vary depending on the type of paint used. As a general guideline, allow the paint to dry for at least 24 hours, although it’s always best to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific drying times.


Adequate ventilation is crucial during the drying and curing process. Open windows or use fans to promote air circulation and help the paint dry faster. This also helps to minimise the unpleasant odour associated with freshly painted surfaces.

Avoid Contact

Avoid applying any pressure to your painted bed frame until it is fully cured, even if the paint appears to be dry. Even a slight disturbance can result in marks or surface imperfections.

Curing Process

Curing typically takes longer than drying and involves the chemical reaction of the paint. We recommend allowing the final coats of paint to cure for as long as possible — at least 48 hours to ensure the best protection against abrasion.

Reassembling the bed frame

Once the paint has fully dried and cured, it’s time to reassemble your bed frame. Here’s a guide to help you put everything back together securely:

  • Hardware and Components: Retrieve the hardware that was removed during the painting process. Ensure that all pieces are clean and in good condition.
  • Instruction Manual: If you have an instruction manual for the bed frame, refer to it for guidance on reassembly. If not, take reference photos or notes during disassembly to help you remember the correct order and placement of parts.
  • Secure Fastenings: Use a screwdriver or wrench to reattach any screws, nuts, or bolts. Make sure all connections are tight and secure, ensuring the stability of the bed frame.
  • Test Stability: Once reassembled, give the bed frame a gentle shake to check for any wobbling connections. If needed, tighten any loose fastenings until the frame is sturdy.

Solomon iron bed frame

Final thoughts

In this guide, we’ve covered the entire process of painting your metal bed frame, from preparation to reassembly. Now it’s time for you to unleash your creativity and start your own bed frame painting project!

Remember to take your time, follow the steps outlined in this guide, and don’t be afraid to experiment with colours and finishes. With proper preparation, attention to detail, and patience during the drying process, you can achieve a stunning and durable finish that will transform your bedroom.