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How to paint a wooden bed

Updated July 19, 2017

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.

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

  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. 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. 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.

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

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

  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. 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.

  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.

  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. Let the paint dry.

  12. Tip

    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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Things You'll Need

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

About the Author

Lisa Larsen

Lisa Larsen has been a professional writer for over 18 years. She has written radio advertisement copy, research papers, SEO articles, magazine articles for "BIKE," "USA Today" and "Dirt Rag," newspaper articles for "Florida Today" and short stories published in "Glimmer Train" and "Lullwater Review," among others. She has a master's degree in education and is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

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