How to Paint a Metal Desk

Kelly Nuttall

If you have an old metal desk that you are not using and needs some attention, or if you just have one that needs a color update, then painting it yourself will be easy. Painting your own metal desk can be fun and very cost efficient.

With just four easy steps, you will have the new look for your metal desk that you have been waiting for.


Always apply spray paint in a well-ventilated area.

  1. Put desk in an area that is well-ventilated. Place the desk on a large piece of cardboard or an old sheet. Remove hardware and drawers from the desk and stand drawers up so that the fronts are facing upward.

  2. Wipe the top, drawer fronts, and sides of your metal desk clean with a damp cloth. If your desk is older and has rust on it, use a wire brush to scrape the rust off then go back over it with a damp cloth. If the rust is severe, use a chemical rust stripper which can be purchased at your local hardware store. This will clean your desk of rust.

  3. Stand back away from the desk about a foot or two and spray a light coat of spray primer onto the surface of the desk. Allow to dry according to directions on can.

  4. Apply a rust resistant appliance spray paint, which can be purchased at any paint store or major hardware store. Allow the paint to dry. Add a second and third coat as needed.