How to Paint a Metal Headboard


Just because your headboard is metal doesn't mean you can't give it a quick and stylish face lift with a new coat of paint. Brass beds are a very popular choice for bedroom decor, and can be quite old and grungy or just in need of a color change. Pick up an old, cheap headboard at a flea market or dig one out of your attic and transform it from a beast to a beauty in no time flat.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal headboard
  • Pliers or screwdriver
  • Clean rags
  • Soap and water
  • Light grit sandpaper
  • Drop cloths
  • Paint thinner
  • Oil-based paint
  • Paint stirrer
  • Paintbrush
  • Disassemble the headboard from the bed rails and footboard, if necessary, with a screwdriver and pliers. Keep the headboard in an upright position, leaning against a clean cardboard box or a wall.

  • Wipe down the headboard with a clean, dry rag to remove any surface dirt. Wash with soap and water if you need to remove heavier dirt. Let it dry.

  • Lightly sand the metal with sandpaper to remove any glossy finish.

  • Place drop cloths underneath the work area.

  • Stir a can of oil-based paint with the paint stirrer for smooth color consistency. Add a few drops of paint thinner to thin its consistency, if desired.

  • Apply paint to the front of the headboard with the paintbrush. Paint from the top of the bed down, using long, even strokes and keeping a minimal amount of paint on the brush. Let the paint dry for several hours.

  • Turn the headboard around and paint the back of the headboard, using the same procedure you did to paint the front. Let dry completely.

  • Apply a second coat of paint, if desired, to both sides of the headboard and let dry.

  • Reassemble the bed when the paint is completely dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Test the painted surface prior to re-coating by pressing your finger on the painted frame for about three seconds. If you leave a fingerprint, allow for more time to dry.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area.

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  • Photo Credit luxurious bed image by Pavel Losevsky from
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