Painting a Piano Black – Was I Crazy? All Your Questions Answered

It’s been a few months now since I started the piano project. At first, painting a piano black sounded crazy. Honestly, it was both the most terrifying and rewarding projects I’ve completed! I’d put it right up there with installing shelves on our tile backsplash. It’s also one of the projects I receive the most questions about!

painting a piano black - questions answered and tips I learned along the way

So, since I just officially completed this pained piano project (sealer and all), I thought I’d answer your questions here!

Painting a Black Piano

neutral living room decor
our piano and living room before the painting and update

1. Why Did You Paint Your Piano?

I knew there would be some controversy here. I’m typically one to just let wood do it’s thing. In fact, I love a good raw wood.

That said, the piano was a HUGE piece of our living room. There was literally one wall we could put it and it set the mood for the whole space. Being a deep cherry stain it really reflected a dark reddish hue on the room.

In a nutshell, it just didn’t feel like us. And I’m in the camp of if you have something in your home, you should really truly love it.

living room with black piano
black painted piano before wax sealer

2. Ok. But Why Black Paint?

Wellllll. Pretty much everything in our home is either white, black, or natural wood. I love a good contrast (you probably know this from my office wall...) and painting a piano black was just the thing we needed for some good contrast!

painting a piano black with rustoleum milk paint in Eclipse

3. What Type of Paint Did You Use?

After a lot of research, I settled on Rustoleum Milk Paint in Eclipse. I wanted a classic, matte look reminiscent of colonial furniture but not shabby chic (no offense to the shabby chics out there!).

I used the same color as the Mini Dresser Makeover and while I do have some opinions about this particular paint (more on that in another post), I overall love the final result. It’s a rich, deep dark true black.

prepping a wood piano for paint
cherry piano before painting

4. How Do You Paint a Piano?

Carefully. Very carefully. Lol. Actually, it really wasn’t too difficult. Like other painting projects, most of the time is spent doing the prep work. Admittedly, I usually cut corners and probably slack off on most projects, but with painting a piano, I took it very seriously.

I think I went through a few good true crime podcasts just taping it off.

cherry wood piano before painting it black
prepping to paint the piano

5. Did You Have to Sand Before Painting a Piano?

This totally depends on the paint being used and the piano itself. Rustoleum Milk Paint says no sanding is required but I’m always a little skeptical of instructions. Because our piano had a very shiny lacquer in some spots and very rough in others, I gave it a quick rough up with a sanding block.

seal wax paint with soft clear wax
Real Paint Co. Clear Wax applied with soft cloth

6. How Do You Seal Milk Paint?

There are so many options! I went down a rabbit hole of recommendations and tutorials until I found The Real Milk Paint Co. (they answered my questions straight away & have a great Q & A section). Because I wanted something simple, effective, and that would not drastically alter the paint color, I went with their Clear Wax.

clear wax for milk paint

7. Should I Paint My Piano?

A lot of you have shared you’re thinking of painting a piano too. In general, I’d say go for it! It feels good to do something new and hard.

That said, I think more simple, less ornate pianos in fairly good shape make the best candidates. I’d also suggest investing in the time and materials to get it right. This is not a project to say, “Oh I found some leftover paint in the garage.”

If you decide to go for it, let me know!

supplies for painting a piano black

Supplies for Painting a Piano Black:

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painting a piano black with milk paint