Home Improvement Project July: Bed Upgrade

When we moved in I attempted to convince the boyfriend that the bed frame that had not head or foot board that he had needed a serious upgrade. Due to the cost of moving, he blew me off and we’d been suffering in a complete lack of bed design for over a year. Men.

Anyway, I was fortunate enough that he did another typical guy thing and flopped onto the bed for the upteen billionth time, like I’ve always asked him not to. This time, it broke the bed frame. BTW bending back metal is super hard and so it was abandoned and he finally allowed me to search for a bed.

In typical style I had ridiculous constraints. He hates everything and  it had to be to his liking and it had to be super duper cheap. Naturally, the next day we were noshing on what was quite possibly laced with horse meat and had a little Swedish flag in it because we went to the one place that his budget could afford something that my style mind would approve of: IKEA.


After having looked through the online catalog of beds we had a pretty good idea of our top options and went with the Hemnes for $199. The main problem: we both didn’t like the color options available. The whole rest of the bedroom is Malm series and is finished with birch but neither the lame looking white or the grey brown were doing it for us. In a moment of total insanity, we decided we would refinish the bed.

We chose a color, a brightish blue to go with the bedding (which is navy and white) and resigned ourselves to our fate.  I made not one but TWO rather major miscalculations at that point:

1) I chose Lowe’s Valspar spray paint because I wasn’t paying attention.
2) I somehow managed to pick a spray paint that wasn’t glossy (actually it was, but didn’t come out uniformly) See: 1.

We bought a drop cloth, 3 cans of the paint and went to town and at first everything seemed OK. We even waited until the evening so it wasn’t too hot to use the paint.


Even from this first pic you can see that getting an even coverage from the paint wasn’t easy. We shook it forever and kept shaking throughout in a vain attempt to make this paint suck less. At times the paint was almost baby blue and had to be painted over to make it the right color. This was the single most frustrating spray paint experience I have ever had. 2013-07-05_20-02-47_560

It seems almost like there’s good coverage but notice that parts are glossy and others are not. That was the second problem. The gloss part of the paint was horribly uneven and looked terrible. 2013-07-05_20-02-51_733

Here’s a close-up shot of the splotchiness. 2013-07-05_20-05-14_109

Even better, though the can had a dry to touch time on it, it gave NO indication of when it was done. We assumed overnight and left the paint to cure or whatever as most paints take about 24 hours. 2013-07-05_20-19-02_269

After 24 hours the paint didn’t look much better but we had to put it on the other side of all the pieces and we had the same problems we had previously had. Oh, and as a bonus one of the cans was half full and out of propellant so we had to buy yet another can of this absolutely terrible and frustrating product just to finish. 2013-07-06_16-11-21_919

After another 24 hours (mind you we waned this bed done in a timely fashion but also didn’t want the paint sticking to everything) we ended up with a somewhat finished painted bed with super uneven gloss. We then had to go BACK to the hardware store to get a clear lacquer because the finish looked awful and atop that2013-07-07_10-51-43_239

When we flipped it over to paint the original side (the one that had cured for 24 hours prior to being flipped) it had totally mottled to the nap of the drop cloth. At this point I wanted to throw things, mainly the cursed spray paint. 2013-07-07_10-51-48_447

Look at how absolutely horrible the finish was AFTER 48 hours!!!2013-07-07_10-51-52_697

We had to use a microfiber cloth to carefully pull all the fibers out of the finish so we could clear coat the whole thing to make it not look like utter trash. 2013-07-07_10-52-47_320

This is after one coat of clear coat. We ended up having to use TWO coats in order to get it to even out. 2013-07-07_11-22-45_963

Now after 2 coats of paint, 2 coats of clear coat and 4 days we were FINALLY at the finish I had expected from my original spray paint. What a waste. 2013-07-07_11-23-22_456

At least the final finish came out passably.  2013-07-07_22-20-13_116

The finalized headboard in the room, the color came out great… even if we’d been sleeping on the floor for an extra 3 days. 2013-07-07_22-25-29_24

After all the ridiculousness with the paint, putting together the bed was fairly easy and took less than 2 hours, probably because it was 11pm when we started and by now we were seriously motivated.  2013-07-07_23-54-43_678We finally were able to lay down to bed at about 1:15 am, having built the bed, put on the mattress, and mattress pad, sheets and all.

Things I learned:

1) Always use Rustoleum spray paint, I’ve never had any problems with it at all.

2) This bed is very firm, so I was really glad I had a 4″ memory foam mattress topper for it otherwise it would be firm enough that I would be uncomfortable.

3) Don’t start building a bed at 11pm when you have to be up early the next day.


Either way we got a new bed frame out of the deal and it looks stylish and I’m totally counting it for the upgrade for July, let’s see you try and stop me. This was actually FAR worse than refinishing the deck so I think I deserve a medal, or at least a lifetime supply of Rustoleum spray paint for all my spray needs.

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