How to Paint or Stain an Unfinished Bed

How to Paint or Stain an Unfinished Bed

Unfinished Lori Wall Beds are made from 100% cabinet-grade Baltic birch plywood, which needs protection. All Unfinished beds should be painted or stained before using, in order to keep the bed beautiful and functional for many years. Our unfinished beds are a great option for those that want a specific color we don't offer, or who don't mind a few days of extra work to save even more money.

You can finish your bed before or after assembling the bed, depending on what works best for you. Finishing after assembly requires you to be more careful for drips, but takes up less room. Finishing individual pieces is easier, but requires more space to lay them out while drying.

Tips for all finishes: A bit of sanding with 120 grit sandpaper will help give the cleanest finish, but it isn't necessary. We do recommend that you lightly sand the edges and corners of the bed platform, as those can sometimes be sharp if left untreated.

Tips for painting: a gallon of water-based interior latex paint with primer is the most forgiving product to use. Get the best quality paint you can afford, and your finish will last a long time. Eggshell, matte or semi-gloss paints will show fewer imperfections than high-gloss paints. Water-based enamels and oil-based paints will dry harder and last longer, but they are messy, very strong-smelling as they dry, and require more experience to use.

Tips for staining: Water-based stains are the easiest to use and clean up. In addition, a pre-stain conditioner, such as those from Minwax or Varathane, helps even out the stain color and reduce blotchiness, especially on the most visible parts of the bed. 

We always suggest buying a small jar and testing it on a piece of wood that will be against the wall or under the mattress. Once you find the right color, get a gallon, just in case you want more than one coat. Follow the directions on the can. For those looking to get the look of our walnut color, customers have had success with the Minwax color "Early American".

Tips for the final clear coat: All stained beds will need a clear coat layer at the end for protection. You will need one gallon of water-based semi-gloss polyurethane finish. One or two coats with a brush will be sufficient, but you'll have to watch out for brush strokes. You can wipe the finish on with a cloth, which makes drips and brushstrokes less likely, but you'll probably need a few coats. Minwax and others also offer their polyurethane finishes in spray cans, which virtually eliminate drips and brushstrokes, but will require good ventilation.

If you'd like the look of our natural finish, skip the staining step and just apply a clear coat.