Furniture purists … avert your eyes. This is a post about how I changed our perfectly fine piano from glossy mahogany to white. Did I ruin it? Maybe. But do I love it 1000 times more? Yes. Yes I do.
I posted a mid-progress photo on instagram and was surprised by how many shared the desire to paint their piano and also questions about how to do it. So here it is – all my steps, tips and encouragement for painting your piano.
First, a little back story. We inherited our piano from my grandparents but it is not a piece that holds any particular sentimental meaning. From the day we brought it into our house six years ago, I’ve wanted to paint it. There was a trend a few years ago when everyone was painting their pianos mustard or aqua and I was so tempted (especially by this photo), but just never felt committed to any one color. Years passed and the piano always felt dark and not right for our style until a few weeks ago when I came across this photo and it was jut the push I needed.
Paint it white. That was the answer.
So Ryan and our friend dragged the piano outside to our front walkway (a crazy place to paint, but it was the spot that made the most sense) and away I went. It was a pain, I’ll be honest. But totally doable. And I’m so happy with the results.
Here’s how the process went:
STEP ONE // take apart the pieces and tape it off.
Be very detailed to make sure you keep the paint off the keys, the inside components and the metal foot pedals.
STEP TWO // sand each piece
I used a fairly fine grit sand paper (100) just to rough up the finish.
STEP THREE // wipe clean
Make sure you get all the dust off. I wet my cloth a tiny bit to grab the sanding dust which worked well.
STEP FOUR // prime
Once the piece is sanded and wiped clean, apply a light coat of primer. For the piano bench, I brushed on the primer, but I did not like the brush strokes so for the piano, I switched to spray primer. It was much easier.
STEP FIVE // spray paint
Some things I learned when spray painting a piano (these might help you avoid my mistakes):
1. use thin coats and quick sweeps across the furniture
2. let it dry for a few minutes between coats
This made me so frustrated and I think the wrinkles came when the overcoats went on too heavy.
3. lightly sand in between coats. I didn’t fully sand – just the places that were a bit rough.
4. shake the can often to keep the paint mixed up. I used gloss paint that did not totally go on glossy. It’s a little blotchy. I think if I had consistently mixed up the paint, it would have gone on smoother.
5. be so careful about over-spray.
I had a blanket and paper and cardboard down, but the spray still made it onto the walkway and over to my car parked in the driveway (big oops!). Just make sure you cover anything and everything that might come in contact with flying specks of paint.
6. maybe don’t paint it in your front yard.
My poor neighbors had to see it wrapped up like this each night for a few days while I was in between coats. I did about 4 or 5 light coats of paint (plus the first coat of primer). I let each coat dry fully so I could sand if needed. It took me 4 days to complete the project.
7. If I were to do it again, I would have opted for a can of paint in a softer white and a sprayer. The basic glossy white spray paint is white-white without any warmth and can look a little stark. Once the piano was back in the house and accessorized, it does not look quite as bright, but could still be a a bit warmer.
8. It really wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be. I should have done it years ago.
Before and afters are always fun, so here it is:
It feels so much more modern and fresh. Someday when we replace our carpet with hardwood, you’ll be able to notice the pretty brass pedals and casters on the front legs (my favorite part). But even still, I love how much lighter this nook feels with the piano now white.
So tell me, are you wanting to paint your piano? What’s stopping you?!