How to Add Patina to a Metal Bed

We’re sharing how to add patina to a metal bed as we finish Week 2 of the One Room Challenge!

As always, a big shout out and thank you to the One Room Challenge and media partner Better Homes and Gardens for hosting this bi-annual event.

If you’re new to the One Room Challenge, each week for the next 8 weeks, guest participants and featured designers will work to makeover their spaces from top to bottom.

You can read all about our design ideas from Week 1: Guest Bedroom Makeover Plans here if you need to catch up!

An Antique Bed…

Several years ago, I picked up this 3-quarter iron bed at an antique mall. It was crazy heavy and a beast to get home but I’m thankful to have found it.

We had custom mattresses made for the bed. For a while, it served us well in the guest bedroom.

Total side note, I have NO idea why this messy home tour picture was the only picture of this bed I could find. But here she is in all her glory ?

Once we turned the bedroom into a home office, there was no room for the bed. So, it’s been sitting in a closet ever since.  

An Antique Bed Makeover…Take 2

The minute we decided to take on this season of the One Room Challenge, I knew I wanted to use the antique iron bed. 

The only problem was the previous owner had spray painted it black. After years of being moved around in the closet, it was starting to show a lot of wear and tear.

My first thought was to spray paint the antique metal bed an oil-rubbed bronze color. So, I chose Flat Chestnut. 

But it just didn’t look right.

Even after choosing a metallic paint, it still felt…flat ?

Especially against the crisp white walls which are painted in Valspar’s Bistro White.

An Antique Bed Makeover…Take 3

I went back to the drawing board and decided what the bed really needed was something with more depth and a bit of patina too.

Given spray painting was not an option again and hand painting metal can be hit or miss, it felt like the only other option to consider was Rub N Buff.  

I’ll be completely honest, this is the first time I’ve ever tried Rub N Buff on a bed frame. 

I have no idea how it’s going to hold up and I’m slightly scared once we get the mattresses in place, it will rub off.

But you never know until you try, and to me, it’s worth taking the chance.

Here’s a look at How to Add Patina to a Metal Bed…

How to Add Patina to a Metal Bed Supplies:

  • Metal Bed Frame
  • Rust-oleum Spray Paint in Metallic
  • Antique Gold Rub N Buff
  • Medium Bristle Art Brush
  • Dark Furniture Paste Wax
  • Lint Free Cloth
  • Tarp (to protect your work surface)
  • Gloves (to protect your hands)

How to Add Patina to a Metal Bed Steps:

Gather your supplies. Lay a tarp down to protect your work surface. 

Before you begin adding patina to a metal bed, you’ll need to spray paint the bed in a dark color using caution, care, and safety precautions in a well-ventilated area outside. 

We chose Rust-oleum’s Flat Chestnut. Be sure to allow the paint to fully cure before moving on. 

Next, we placed a small amount of Antique Gold Rub N Buff on a medium bristle art brush and applied it to the bed frame.

I really wanted the appearance of layered patina, so I brushed the Rub N Buff in multiple directions. 

Just a heads up, if your application looks anything like mine your brush will probably be toast at the end of this step. 

An Antique Bed Makeover…Take 4

I allowed the Rub N Buff to sit overnight.

The next morning though, it felt too shiny.

So, I applied a layer of dark furniture paste wax over the Rub N Buff using an old cloth.

I know it might seem like an extra step. But those are the kinds of small details that help when you’re trying to add patina to a metal bed.

Truth be told, I’m still waiting for the wax to properly cure before deciding if I want to add a coat of poly or not. All the linens I’m using for this bed are very light and I definitely don’t want to get dark wax or Rub N Buff on them.

Of course, anytime you’re trying to add patina to a metal bed using a DIY technique like this might be risky. So, it’s completely up to you if you want to take the chance or not. 

I’ll keep you posted on how things are going as the weeks’ progress!

Let us know if you have any tips or tricks to add patina to a metal bed. We’d love to hear if a similar technique has worked for you! Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Before you go, be sure to check out what all the other guest participants in the One Room Challenge are sharing for Week 2!

Many blessings,




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  1. This looks beautiful Coco and I would have chosen the same application. In all honesty you have gone this far I would add the coat of spray ploy. Mod Podge, makes a spray poly I love. Best thing, it’s matte finish. This WILL NOT take away the beautiful details of your work.

    Just my opinion and what I would do but it’s up to you.

    Loving what I’m seeing. I’m so excited to see more my friend!

    1. Thank you for your advice, Cindy, I really appreciate it! I will definitely add the coat of poly and look up the Mod Podge spray too. I think it will help to keep the wax and rub n buff off the linens because it would be awful if they got messed up for sure. Hugs and thank yous, CoCo

  2. It’s the perfect Goldilocks bed! Now it’s just right. I seriously need to get some of that rub-n-buff stuff although I have no clue what to use it on – YET. Love what you’re doing so far! Pinned

    1. You could totally rock, Rub n Buff, Cindy! If you’re worried about trying it in any way, you could always use it on something thrifted first or even something you already have at home that you’re ready to upcycle. It’s super easy, I don’t think you’ll have any problem with it at all. Hugs and can’t wait to see what you create, CoCo

  3. It looks sooo good! I hope your wax cures well. I’ve used rub n buff for years on a variety of things, but nothing as large or intimidating as a metal bed! Bravo you! The trick I use is to buff it right away and then let it dry. I’ve never tried waxing it, so I’ll look for your updates. I painted a metal bed, and like you, sprayed it, then used craft paint in antique gold and in raw umber to add my final layer. Because it’s paint it dries hard and you can poly over that. No rubbing off on bed linens. I don’t know if you can remove the wax and rub n buff at this stage, or would even want to. But if your wax doesn’t cure and you’re getting rub off on your linens, you may have to resort to a Plan B. Honestly, the gold paint brushed on then antiqued with raw umber and wiped with an old sock gave a great antique look to my old bed. It was long before cell phones and taking pictures of everything we did, so I don’t have any pictures to show you. I sold the bed a long time ago. I really like this post, thanks for sharing your progress. I hope the finish dries hard for you! Please keep us posted!

    1. That sounds really beautiful, Crystal! I guess I never thought about adding gold craft paint over the spray paint but looking back I totally should have given it a try. It sounds like it was a fabulous solution for you. The wax is definitely starting to harden and so far is not wiping off. I’ll probably do a top coat of poly though just to be on the safe side. It’s been a lot of work getting the bed to this stage so I don’t want to take any chances ? Hugs, CoCo

  4. It looks great! I have never used Rub n’ Buff on a bedframe, but I did use it on my couch and on door hardware. So far so good, And I do like some patina, so wear and tear might be ok lol.

    1. Thank you, Marie! I’ve never used it on anything this big either so I’m really excited to see how it all comes together. It really is an easy way to age just about anything. Hugs, CoCo

  5. Question? Did you decide to apply poly to the bed frame after it was patina and waxed?
    I am also concerned with the finish rubbing off on linens.

    1. I did end up spraying a coat of poly on the bed frame, Robin! So far it seems to be holding up ok. For the sake of full disclosure that room is used primarily for guests so I am extra careful when making the bed and prepping the linens just to be on the safe side though. Hope your summer is off to a great start, CoCo

      1. Hi! Looking to do this for my daughters bed frames, did you have an issue with anything rubbing off?

        1. I haven’t had any issues with the Rub n Buff, wax, or coat of poly coming off so far, Shelby. For the sake of full disclosure though, this metal bed frame is used in our guest bedroom which is not used daily or even monthly so I am not sure how it would hold up if the bed frame was used on a regular basis. Even now, I am extra careful when making the bed and prepping the linens just to be on the safe side. Hope this helps, CoCo

  6. Laurie Harding says:

    Looks wonderful!
    My question … How do you attach these to a bed frame?


    1. Hi Laurie – We bought this antique iron bed from a local antique dealer so it came with all the parts (headboard, footboard shown in the post) as well as the rails and pins to attach everything together and complete the bed frame. Hope this helps, CoCo

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