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How to paint a piano

Updated: May 5, 2021

I know. I know. I’ve heard it all before when it comes to furniture. ‘Why on earth WOULD you paint wood furniture?’ Well, how much time do you have? If you have lots of time, head here to read this post about how to mix old and new styles. Short on time? I paint furniture to give an old, tired piece of furniture new life after showing signs of irreparable damage like gauges, deep scratches and sometimes even entire pieces of wood that need replacing. Basically, if it’s going to take too much work to restore the original wood, it’s time to consider paint.

But…a piano? Yes! Same thing. Pianos in any home are a statement piece, whether it’s intentional or not. Think about it. They’re not small and, in some cases, are the largest furniture item in the room. Even if placed in a corner, they can’t be tucked there with the hope of no one noticing. I guarantee…it’s noticed. If your piano has lived a life similar to mine, with cracks in the key cover, gauges in the legs and considerable signs of wear and tear, why WOULDN’T you paint it? Painting it will bring a new life to a tired piece and as a statement piece, won’t it look grand…even if it’s a spinet?

As a decorator, I can say paint is the number one secret to transforming a room on a budget and paint doesn’t always have to be on the walls. Ceilings, cupboards, furniture, even pianos…all of these, when painted, will transform a space.

So, why not re-stain it? So glad you asked. If I’m being honest I don’t know much about pianos, but I do know this…when you re-stain something, the very first thing you do after cleaning the piece is to sand it. If you’ve ever sanded a piece of furniture down to it’s original wood, it takes a lot of effort and even more sanding. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not sand a piano because there’s no real way I can guarantee protection for all the parts that are essential for making it sound as amazing as it does. What about stain remover? If that’s your thing, great. Myself - I stay away from the chemicals. But paint? No need to do heavy sanding.

Have I convinced you yet? If I have, keep reading. If not, maybe you’d like to read something else…like how to bake amazing Lemon Coconut Donuts.

How to paint a piano:

You’re definitely going to want to choose a paint that you don’t need to sand the piano down first in order for the paint to adhere. Milk paint might be a good option, though I’ve never used it. Chalk paint, for me, is the way to go. The only prep work you have to do before painting a piece of furniture is to wipe it down so you can remove the dust. Easy.

Once you’ve picked a color, just make sure you have the right paint brush to do the job right the first time. Nylon bristled brushes are best.

Don’t be alarmed when you paint the first coat and you see brush strokes. That’s par for the course with chalk paint. The nylon brush will help smooth the lines a bit on your second coat.

Happy with it once you have two coats on? Awesome - but be sure to put a finishing coat of either wax or sealer so your hard work is preserved a bit.

Still see some brushstrokes? You can lightly sand small areas at a time to smooth out the rough spots. This type of sanding isn’t as hard as sanding down the wood to its original state, but you do need to clean up as you go or you’ll have dust everywhere. Once you’re happy with it, now is the time to put the sealer on.

Play, enjoy your handiwork and send pictures my way so I can celebrate your accomplishment with you! Tag me on Instagram @figandfarm.

Looking for a more comprehensive approach to painting furniture, pianos included? Visit to enroll in my course teaching you step-by-step how to paint furniture with confidence! Enter code: Painting Fun for $5.00 off.


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