How to Paint a Metal Bed Without Using Spray Paint

Updated April 17, 2017

Painting a metal bed is a quick and easy way to update your bedroom decor. Metal beds can be painted easily with spray, acrylic or oil based paint. The most economical options are spray and oil based paint. Latex paint can also be used but it easily and is not as durable as spray paint, acrylic or oil based paint. The entire metal bed can be painted with one colour or with a combination of several colours (some used for accents) if acrylic or oil based paint is applied with a brush.

Clean the metal bed frame thoroughly. For light dust, dish detergent and hot water will be sufficient. For tougher debris, use an appropriate cleaner recommended by a professional at a home improvement store.

Dismantle the bed frame, if the head and foot boards come off the bed frame supports. Take the metal pieces of the bed outside and place them on newspaper or a drop cloth. It is easier to paint the metal bed if the pieces are standing upright. Consider propping the pieces against a sawhorse. If the bed cannot be moved outside, cover the floors with newspaper or a drop cloth and open the windows to provide adequate ventilation, required when using oil based paints.

Sand the metal bed frame with medium-fine or fine sandpaper to scuff up the existent paint finish and to improve adhesion. If the metal is raw, sanding will not be necessary. Apply a primer to the metal bed. Choose the right primer based on whether the metal is new or old and whether it has any rust present or not.

Apply two coats of oil based paint using a brush to the entire metal bed. Use smooth strokes to apply a thin coat. Follow the paint manufacturer's directions regarding the time to be allotted before painting another coat.

Brush one to three coats of paint sealer or clear coat on the metal bed to protect the new paint finish. This coat will protect the paint from scratching, chipping and fading by giving the paint a buffer from elements in the environment.


Furniture sealed with a clear coat or paint sealer will be more durable and easier to clean. You will not have to be concerned about scrubbing or wearing a paint finish off when using household cleaners. Always apply a paint sealer or clear coat to accents or designs, like ivy vines or roses, that are painted on a metal bed, to protect the customisation from scratching, chipping, or wearing off.


Do not paint a metal bed in a room without adequate ventilation. Use appropriate safety eyewear and breathing masks as recommended by the primer, paint, or sealer manufacturer. Do not try to paint the metal bed using just one coat of paint, especially if changing the colours drastically. Thick coats will leave permanent drips and globs on your metal bed.

Things You'll Need

  • Oil based paint
  • Paint brush
  • Mineral spirits
  • Brush cleaner
  • Wire brush
  • Newspaper
  • Drop cloth
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Paint sealer
  • Clear coat
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Heather Inks is a social entrepreneur who educates on improving communities and the world. She is an educator, writer, photographer, artist and model who has taught K6-12th grade and public educators. Inks is a life coach specializing in personal, career, educational, dating, health and fitness, and gifted children issues. She has been educated at fine universities including graduate work at Stetson University.