How to paint a wooden bed

Written by lisa larsen
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How to paint a wooden bed
Wooden beds can be painted just about any colour. (Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Strong, simple and versatile, a wooden bed is a popular option that complements many bedroom styles. Some of the more prominent types of wood used in bed construction are pine, oak and cedar. Although the wood can be quite handsome, some people prefer to paint it, which is not difficult. Preparing the wood ensures a perfect foundation upon which the paint will remain for years to come.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Sandpaper, medium and fine grit
  • Tack cloth
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Dust sheet or newspapers
  • Primer
  • Paint brushes
  • Paint stirrer
  • Paint

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  1. 1

    Go over the wood with medium-grit sandpaper. Sand with the grain of the wood.

    How to paint a wooden bed
    Use medium-grit sandpaper first. (sable 3 image by Blue Moon from
  2. 2

    Remove wood dust with a tack cloth. Sand the bed again, this time using a fine-grain sandpaper. Remove wood dust with the tack cloth.

  3. 3

    Look for holes left by knots and other imperfections in the frame. These must be filled with wood putty or wood filler. After the indentations have been found and made dust-free, open a can of filler that matches the wood.

  4. 4

    Use a putty knife to scoop out a small amount of wood putty, and gently apply it to the indentations. Run the putty knife over the putty at a 45-degree angle to smooth it out and ensure complete coverage. Do this until the indentations are no longer visible. Allow the putty to dry according to the manufacturer's directions.

    How to paint a wooden bed
    Use a putty knife to apply wood filler. (putty knife image by Jim Mills from
  5. 5

    Go over the dried putty with fine-grit sandpaper. Remove any dust with a tack cloth.

  6. 6

    Spread old newspapers or a dust sheet beneath the wooden bed before applying primer.

    How to paint a wooden bed
    Old newspapers make an adequate dust sheet. (newspaper image by Christopher Hall from
  7. 7

    Apply a coat of wood primer, following the manufacturer's directions. Select a tint that is light if you are painting your bed a light colour such as white or yellow. Choose a darker primer if the colour you've selected is dark, such as red, navy blue or black. Allow the primer to dry according to manufacturer's directions.

  8. 8

    Choose your paint. Indoor latex is easy to work with and easy to clean up. Enamel creates a harder coat of paint but requires paint thinner and/or turpentine for cleanup. A glossy finish is very shiny. A matt finish has no shine at all. A satin finish produces has a subtle shine.

    How to paint a wooden bed
    Determine how shiny you want your paint to be. (yellow paint image by Jennifer Griner from
  9. 9

    Mix the paint you've selected vigorously by stirring upward with a wooden paint stirrer. Using a clean wide paint brush, apply the paint in broad but even strokes. Use a smaller paintbrush in corners or other tough-to-reach areas.

    How to paint a wooden bed
    Smaller brushes get into tight areas. (paint brushes image by Kevin Chesson from
  10. 10

    Allow the paint to dry. Many times a single coat of paint is sufficient. If a second coat is needed, read the directions for drying times, and apply another coat.

  11. 11

    Let the paint dry.

Tips and warnings

  • Paint your bed in a well lit, well ventilated area.
  • Paint your bed on a day when humidity is low. This will speed drying time.
  • Never paint in a room that does not have adequate ventilation.

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