Painting a freestanding bathtub is an easy way to give a tired bathroom a fresh new look and, if you use a high-quality premium paint brand, you can get the job without having to spend a fortune. It's a relatively easy DIY home decor project that allows you to customize the colour scheme of your bathroom and raise your bathroom interior design to the next level. 
When you’re deciding on your paint colours, the options are endless. A bright pop of colour can provide the perfect focal point if you want to make a statement, or you may want to choose a more pastel or cool shade to evoke a sense of calm tranquillity for relaxing in the tub. 
Images supplied by Farrow & Ball. Tub colours: India Yellow No.66; Down Pipe No.26; Pelt No.254 


The first step of the process is to make sure that your bathtub is paintable. If it’s made of acrylic, you’re already winning, because cast iron is rarer and a bit more of a challenge. Once you’re confident your tub is suitable, you’re ready to start your prep by rubbing down the outside of the tub to create a rough surface for your paint to adhere to effectively. You can use fine sandpaper for this part of the DIY, or gently rub down with wire wool. 
After the sanding process, you’ll need to make sure the tub is clean and dry. If there are any stains or dirt on your tub, use a mild detergent and warm water to remove them. Let your freestanding bathtub dry completely before carefully covering all fixtures with masking tape. All done? Time to move on to the next step. 
Photos: Benjamin Moore Abyss 2128-20; Breath of Fresh Air 806; Napa Vineyards 427. Advance Satin Finish 


Prime, prime, prime! This is a very important step in most home decorating projects when it comes to paint, so make sure you don’t skip it, or your beautiful paint will simply chip off the bathtub and you’ll be back to square one. We recommend using a primer that matches the premium paint brand you’re using for your topcoat, and we’ve put together a few examples of primers that some of our top brands recommend. If you’re not going for one of these brands, make sure you get some good advice on which primer would be suitable: 
Little Greene – Intelligent ASP 
Eico - Grepp V Primer 
Farrow & Ball - Metal primer & undercoat 
Benjamin Moore - Fresh Start primer 
Two or three thin layers of primer will work best to make sure you achieve a smooth, even finish. 
Photos: Image supplied by Farrow & Ball. Tub in Paean Black No.294 


Once you’ve primed the surface you can move on to choosing a stunning topcoat colour. Don’t be tempted to use tester pots – they won’t be the correct finish for the job. Here are our recommended finishes for some of the major premium paint brands to create the best topcoat for your tub: 
Little Greene Paint Company - Intelligent Eggshell or Intelligent Gloss 
Eico - Flat Eggshell 
Farrow & Ball - Estate Eggshell or Modern Eggshell if you’re looking for a little more of a sheen. 
Benjamin Moore – Advance Satin 
Photo supplied by Eico Paints 


A 100ml sleeve is perfect to achieve the smoothest finish possible and a good quality synthetic brush works well for tricky areas. If you don’t have a roller and are opting for painting the whole tub with a brush, you’ll want to avoid brush strokes by starting at one end and working toward the other end as you go along. Apply two or three layers of paint, leaving each layer to dry and be sanded with fine sandpaper in between each application. 
Images supplied by Little Greene. Bathtubs in Boxington, Mister David and Harley Green  


With high quality paints, you won’t need a sealer but we’d recommend leaving the finished tub to cure for one to two days, to make sure the paint sets hard and you end up with a durable finish for your brand new work of art! 
If you have any questions about the process or want more information – do get in touch with us. Or you can visit us at our South London showroom – Eltham DIY for some free, bespoke advice about your DIY bathtub project. Don't forget to sign up to our newsletter and check out the socials for more interiors inspiration, tips and advice. 
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