Painting a piano (before and after)

It’s been over a year since I bought our piano (a $100 score at a local Goodwill – you can read about that adventure here).  I had every intention of painting the thing, but as life happens, it never got checked off the to-do list.

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Once we moved into the new house, I was determined to get it painted, once and for all. But indecision about the color put things on hold (again). I couldn’t decide between bright yellow or turquoise blue.  Or green?  A simple search of painted pianos yielded so many fun options for transforming a piano with paint. Here are a few that inspired me:

Ten Painted Pianos in Bright Colorssources: green piano, light blue piano, dark yellow piano, my piano, turquoise piano with plates, yellow piano with antlers, aqua piano, aqua piano with birdcage, red piano, lime green piano

I finally decided on yellow.  We chose Goldenrod from Dunn Edwards because it was a rich yet bright tone. We decided to hire a professional painter because we knew that trying to DIY this one was out of our skill set.  I shopped around for “piano refinishers” but the quotes were outrageous because it involved working on the inside of the piano as well.  Finally I just asked the painters who painted our house if it was something they could do. They were up for the challenge, and charged me $300 (plus materials) for the job. The used a paint sprayer, which I think is the key to a smooth finish. They sanded it, then used a primer (they actually used auto-shop primer!) and then sprayed 3 coats of paint.

painted yellow piano

The piano did not come with a bench – but I found a stray bench on Ebay that needed a home for only $60.  I love the mid-century legs of the bench. I painted it to match, and then added a faux sheepskin from IKEA ($10) to add some texture.

painted yellow piano

I love the way it came out! Once it was painted, I went to Anthropologie to choose some funky knobs for the piano. They have so many options and for $16 it made a big visual impact. I actually took India with me and let her pick, in the hopes that having some ownership of the design would encourage her to practice.. I love the knobs she chose.

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Painted yellow piano with Anthropologie knobs

Between the price of the piano ($100), the paint and labor ($380), and the knobs ($18), our grand total for this piano was just under $500. I’m very happy with how it looks and it now feels like the focal point of our living room.  Now . . . how to get these kids to practice?


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