What Colour Should You Paint An Antique Iron Bed?

It can be rusty, it can be dirty, or it can be a hideous colour. Even if the antique bed you found at a flea market or at a garage sale is all of the above, you will be surprised how a few coats of paint can transform it into a thing of beauty. 

Iron vintage bed in a bedroom with patterned wallpaper

When it comes to painting an iron bed, you can try any colour you want. Iron beds look very stylish and chic in modern bedrooms. From white and beige to bright neon colours, the choices are endless. In this article, we will help you figure out what colour you should paint an antique bed, how to paint it, and how to make the paint job last for a long time. Without further ado, let’s dive right in and see how to make your bed look like a 5-star hotel’s room

Choosing colours for antique beds

When selecting a colour for your antique bed, keep it calm and cosy – whatever this means to you, is the right choice for you. The best way to narrow down the paint colour options for your bed is to ask yourself – what feeling do you want your bedroom to have?

The ultimate choice in selecting the perfect hue out of hundreds of choices is yours – we can certainly guide you in the right direction. 

  1. If you want a sober and stately look, then blues or darker browns give off an anchored, classy vibe. Pair the bed with light-coloured curtains to keep the light level comfortable and balanced in your room.
  2. Do you want to create a light and whimsical look? Lavender is a beautiful option, particularly if paired with blues or yellows. Light yellow, mint, and peach also add visual interest and provide gentle energy.
  3. What if you are into offbeat trends? A bold orange or bold yellow will certainly make a statement and provide a lot of potential and opportunity for complementary accents. 
  4. If you want your bedroom to be a calm oasis, then gentle greens, subdued yellows, or blues will help in creating this tranquilising effect. 
  5. Want positive energy in your room that will get you going on harsh, cold mornings? A lime green, sunflower yellow, or magenta painted bed could be just the thing you need! 

Type of paints for antique beds

Before you start priming and painting your bed, you need to prepare it for this project. Unless you primer the bed, no kind of paint will stick to it. You need to clean your iron bed, coat it with galvanised metal etching primer, and then paint it. Here’s a list of the types of paint you can use for your DIY idea.

White wrought iron bed in the bedroom against the background of a vintage wall

1. Acrylic latex paint

Water-based, glossy, acrylic latex paints work well with antique beds. However, under harsh circumstances, they can chip off. As long as you don’t subject your bed to a lot of friction-based duress, the paint finish will remain intact.

2. Oil-based enamels

If you want a durable, shiny coating, then you should go with oil-based enamels. However, since they emit fumes, make sure that you paint the bed in a well-ventilated area

3. Epoxy

People who want durability but don’t want to go with oil-based coatings can go with epoxy paints. You will get a matte finish with this paint. You can also go with chalk paint if you want. 

How to paint an antique iron bed in easy steps

Things you will need

  • Cast iron bed
  • Paint (can spray paint)
  • Metal primer
  • Rollers
  • Paintbrushes
  • Beeswax
  • Steel wool
  • Metal scraper
  • Sandpaper or sander
  • Soft drop cloth
  • Soap
  • Water

Tools and accessories for painting rooms

Step 1: Disassemble the bed

To ensure that you paint them thoroughly, you will have to dismantle them. Lucky for you, metal beds are very easy to disassemble. Most of them are put together without bolts or screws and have pieces that simply slide into one another. However, if your bed frame has hardware, then you can disassemble it as per the requirements. 

Step 2: Preparation

Before you jump into the DIY project, you have to remember that you are working with an old metal bed. You have to clean its surface before you get started. Grab a scouring pad and get to work folks!

Use soap and water to thoroughly clean the bed and ensure that there is no dirt, grease, or grime on the bed’s surface. If there is old paint on it that you would like to remove, you need to sand it

Use medium and fine-grit sandpaper. To reach the smaller places, use a wire brush. If sanding doesn’t work, scrape off the stubborn paint with a putty knife or metal scraper. After removing the paint, clean the bed once again.

Step 3: Protect the bed with beeswax

Want to protect your antique bed? Use beeswax. Melt pure beeswax either in the oven or a double boiler. Once the beeswax melts, dip an old cloth into it. Polish the bed with this cloth. This will prevent rust and will give the metal a natural sheen as well. 

Step 4: Apply the primer

Apply a thin, even coat of primer to the bed. This is an important step. If you skip this, the paint will not bond with the bed properly and will start to chip off. Let the primer dry thoroughly. The drying time will be mentioned on the primer can. If you are using spray paint and primer, then hold the can almost 30 cm away from the iron bed frame and spray evenly.

Step 5: Apply the paint

Once the primer dries, start painting the bed. Use a roller for large, flat metal surfaces and a paintbrush for small surfaces. Apply an even first coat of paint. Let it dry. Apply the second coat in the same manner. Of course, you apply more coats of paint until you are satisfied with the finish.

Large double wrought iron bed

Step 6: Use protective varnish

To seal the paint, apply a layer of protective varnish. You can skip this step if you want, but this will give durability to your paint job. 

Tips for taking care of your bed

Now that you know how to paint your iron bed, you have to learn how to take care of it so that the paint job will last for a long time. Many of you might be thinking: what technique should I use, what products are metal-bed friendly, etc. 

Don’t worry; we got you covered. Here are some tips for taking care of your bed. 

  1. Set a cleaning routine. Every time you clean your room, you should clean the metal bed frame as well. Use a soft, dry cloth to wipe it down. It is as simple as this!
  2. Once a month, clean it with a wet cloth. Dry your metal bed frame immediately, or else rust will start to form. 
  3. If there is a stain or stubborn mark on your bed, you can dip a soft cloth in soapy water and scrub the stain away. If the stain resists, you can mix some baking soda with water and use the paste to get rid of it. Don’t use abrasive cleaners because they can ruin the finish of your paint.

double iron bed
Painting your antique bed can turn an old, tired, and dark bed into an alluring and stunning centrepiece. As with all paint jobs and home decor ideas, the magic hides in the details of the prep work to ensure that the paint lasts for a long time to come. Whether you inherit or unearth antique beds at an estate sale or a flea market, they hold a lot of monetary and aesthetic value. Restoring one can be hard, but it is certainly worth your while. Here’s to an enticing and mesmerising makeover of your antique bed!

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