Patio Refresh: Transform Your Outdoor Space with DIY Furniture Painting

Patio furniture is often the design anchor of an outdoor space. Because of exposure to the elements, outdoor furniture is also destined to see the most wear. Even if you’re able to store your outdoor pieces for the harsh winter season, exposure to sun, wind, and rain at other times of year leave your favorite patio features looking dull after a while.

Before buying new pieces, consider creating a patio refresh with a DIY furniture painting project. No matter which material adorns your backyard, there are plenty of helpful tips for a fun, easy outdoor DIY patio furniture makeover.

Two white wooden patio chairs sit on a lawn next to potted flowers

DIY Painting Tips and Tricks

For the best success when repainting patio furniture, it helps to prepare properly. The painting steps vary depending on your furniture’s material, but these tips apply no matter what type of furniture you have.

  • Inspect your furniture. Even the best DIY patio furniture painting job can’t cover spots that are cracked, rotted, chipped, or broken. If you think your furniture is beyond repair, then new furniture may be the best way to bring life back to your patio.
  • Remove peeling or bubbling paint. Loose, flaking pieces of paint affect the quality of your project, so make sure you have a smooth, even surface to start.
  • Choose the right paint. Although your choice of finish may vary — popular options include eggshell, flat, and high-gloss — it’s important to pick a paint designed for use outdoors to ensure it holds up against the elements. If you’re painting plastic, choose a paint specifically designed to adhere to plastic materials.
  • Before starting, remove hardware and accessories like hinges or handles.
  • Choose your tools with care. If you’re applying your paint with a brush or roller, make sure to use items that are completely clean and free of old or dried paint.
  • Prepare your project area to avoid a mess. Use drop cloths to cover the ground or floor, and make sure you’re far away from other items.
  • Have your supplies ready before starting, and work in a well-ventilated space.
  • Avoid painting when it’s too hot or humid, as this could affect the paint’s drying time and overall finish.

Now that you’ve got the basics for how to paint patio furniture, you’re ready to proceed. Use the following steps for your DIY painting project.

Person using a paintbrush for repainting patio furniture

Painting Wicker Furniture

Wicker is beloved for its functional charm and adaptability. If your wicker is made from a traditional plant-based material, such as rattan, follow the steps below to repaint it. If you have all-weather wicker, which is usually made from plastic, then follow the steps for repainting plastic furniture instead.

  • Step 1: Clean using a soft brass or wire brush to remove dirt and debris.
  • Step 2: Let the wicker dry completely.
  • Step 3: Lightly sand any rough edges.
  • Step 4: Apply two coats of oil-based primer, and allow it to completely dry.
  • Step 5: Apply two to three coats of paint using a brush, spray can, or compressor sprayer.
  • Step 6: Add new cushions or other accents to complete your look.

Use these steps for other types of wood patio furniture as well.

Painting Metal Furniture

Ideal for its durability, metal is a classic outdoor furniture choice. Whether you opt for wrought iron, steel, or more lightweight cast aluminum, metal offers a sharp, clean aesthetic. Although it’s long lasting, metal is also prone to rust. When your metal pieces need a makeover, follow these steps for painting metal outdoor furniture:

  • Step 1: Scrape using a wire brush to remove dirt, debris, and large flakes of rust.
  • Step 2: Use a palm sander to remove remaining rust. (You could also sand by hand, but it adds time to your DIY project.) When the rust is gone, switch to a higher grit paper and sand until smooth.
  • Step 3: Wipe down using a solvent, such as acetone, and allow to dry.
  • Step 4: Apply two to three coats of a rust-preventing primer, and allow it to completely dry.
  • Step 5: Apply two to three coats of oil-based paint using a spray can or compressor sprayer.
  • Step 6: Protect with a clear, oil-based urethane sealant to prevent future rust and fading.

Two metal patio chairs and a metal patio table in an outdoor garden

Painting Plastic Furniture

Could your patio plastics use some prettying up? If you’re repainting plastic chairs or tables, follow these steps for a fresh new look.

  • Step 1: Clean with hot water and an ammonia-based cleaner in a well-ventilated area.
  • Step 2: Let the plastic dry completely.
  • Step 3: Apply painter’s tape to any non-plastic features.
  • Step 4: Apply two coats of plastic-specific primer, and allow it to completely dry.
  • Step 5: Apply two coats of paint using a spray can or compressor sprayer, and allow it to dry and cure before use.

Colorful plastic chairs stand against a wooden fence

Reviving your outdoor space with a simple and fun DIY patio furniture project offers a fresh new look, but it’s not the only way to make over your area. If you need new pieces to create the vibe you want, consider the value of premium, gently used furniture at CORT Furniture Clearance Centers for both inside and outside your home.

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