How to Makeover a Piano With Paint

by Sarah
3 Materials
4 Hours
If you have ever looked on Facebook marketplace then you will know that there are lots of upright pianos available for free (if you are willing to move them)! So if you are in the market for an upright piano in your home to either play or use for decor, then this is the post for you! You can totally find one that needs a little love and make it over to be something that is perfect for your home. Below I will share how I updated this gorgeous but a bit out of date piano to fit my space by just using paint.

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Piano Prep

Start by first taking apart what you can. It is totally fine to leave everything intact while painting if you’re unsure what can or can’t be removed from your piano. Just make sure you prep well so that the keys are covered and protected from dust and paint.

Give everything a rough sand with an 80-120 grit  sanding block first. Then wipe away dust with a clean tack cloth.

Then apply one coat of a  water-based primer. I used a combination of brush and foam roller application. A brush is best for the spots with cracks or irregular contours. Then go over it with the foam roller to make sure that it’s nice and smooth.

Time to Paint!

Now it’s time to paint! I personally prefer to apply my paint with a good quality brush. This time around I used a product that I added to the paint to help ensure there are no brush lines. It’s called  Floetrol and it can be added directly into your paint container per the directions. Stir it up and you are ready to go!

I applied two coats of Sherwin-Williams Iron Ore paint to the piano. Dry time was approximately 1 to 2 hours in between coats.

Distress and FinishOnce the second coat is completely dry, distress the paint to your liking. I chose to run my  sanding block over all of the edges and legs just to allow some of the warm wood to show through. Also, this piece is going to get a lot of wear and tear and, by distressing in advance, you save yourself the hassle of things getting a bit beat up (in a non-uniform way) down the road.

Lastly, apply a coat of clear  water-based polyurethane to protect the paint and avoid further scratches and chipping.

Once everything is done, remove the tape and have some fun decorating!!

Looking for more tips on how to paint furniture? Check out this post discussing  chalk paint and gel stain!

Suggested materials:
  • Sanding block   (Home Depot)
  • Floetrol   (Home Depot)
  • SW Iron Ore Paint Sample   (Sherwin Williams)
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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5 of 11 comments
  • Reney Yeater Reney Yeater on Jan 14, 2021

    I would love to refinish out old spinnet piano but my daughter (the actual pianist) won't let me touch it. Yours turned out great!

    • See 1 previous
    • Sarah Sarah on Jan 21, 2021

      It doesn't impact the internal workings whatsoever! I figure better to update and have something I truly love than hold on to something I don't like just because it is old. You could also consider stripping and restaining...but that is a much bigger project.

  • Patricia L. Mahoney-Kuhn Patricia L. Mahoney-Kuhn on Jan 21, 2021

    However this does affect the quality of tone or resonance as an instrument!

    • Sarah Sarah on Jan 24, 2021

      Interesting. We used it for a while unpainted and now use it painted. Neither our family nor our piano instructor can tell a difference and she plays for a very famous orchestra in our city.