How to Paint Outdoor Furniture that will Last

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This post is sponsored by KILZ but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Follow these easy instructions to give your old, worn outdoor furniture some fresh, new life! Learn how to paint outdoor furniture the right (and easy!) way so that it will last for years.

Paint has been, and likely always will be, my favorite way to update just about anything – a room, a thrifted piece of furniture, even fabric!

It is such an easy project, and it always has such dramatic impact.

Not to mention the fact that it’s typically pretty affordable!

Over the last month, Chris and I have been working in our backyard to get it ready for the warmer season when we like to spend lots of time outdoors.

We are repainting our deck, as well as putting in a new gravel patio, and in the process of adding another “hang out space” we decided to move some of our outdoor furniture around.

In the past, we furnished our deck with a nice metal outdoor furniture set (a love seat and two chairs), but with the addition of the gravel patio we decided it would be good to use that set over in that space with a new fire pit table.

Thus, we were in need of some new outdoor seating on the deck.

Like always, we are trying to do the updates on a strict budget, so rather than buy all new furniture for the deck, we decided to give an old set we bought at an estate sale years ago a makeover with primer, paint and cushions!

Honestly, it wasn’t until last week when we were coming home for a walk that I even remembered we had this outdoor furniture because it had been sitting on our front patio for years and rarely got used.

What better way to make the most of what we have (and maximize our budget) than with a simple outdoor furniture painting project!

Here’s how they look after my priming and painting – what do you think?

Pretty crazy transformation, huh?

I’m so pleased with them!

Ok, let’s get to the good stuff where I teach you how to make your old patio furniture look like new.

What kind of paint do you use on outdoor furniture?

For just about any type of outdoor furniture, a standard exterior paint will do.

The factors that will impact its durability and quality are how well you prepare the furniture, the primer you use and how you apply both the paint and primer.

First and foremost, I’d encourage you to use a high-quality outdoor primer, like KILZ® Original Primer, and follow the preparation instructions perfectly.

KILZ Original has has amazing stain-blocking properties (good for just about any surface) and has been trusted by professionals for over 40 years because of its ability to adhere and seal.

Secondly, make sure you’re using the right tools to paint your furniture.

If it’s got a lot of flat surfaces, use a brush and short-nap 4” roller.

If it’s like mine and has a lot of grooves and edges, consider spraying it.

Can I spray paint outdoor furniture?

Absolutely!

I’ve used canned spray paint to paint outdoor furniture in the past and it holds up really well.

Just be sure you’re checking the label to validate that the paint you’re getting is made for the material you’re painting.

They even make the KILZ Original primer like I’m using in this tutorial in an aerosol spray can!

The one thing with canned spray paint is it can get really expensive if you’re painting a large set of outdoor furniture.

So I’d encourage you to consider using a small hand-held sprayer for larger sets.

In fact, you’ll see in my tutorial that I spray painted mine with KILZ primer and water-based paint using a paint sprayer.

How to Paint Outdoor Furniture Like a Pro

For a printable copy of the materials and instructions, scroll down.

Materials Needed:

Tools Needed:

  • Hose with a Spray Nozzle
  • Wash Rag & Scrub Brush
  • Dusting Rag
  • Compressor with Air Nozzle
  • Drop Cloths
  • Paint Sprayer

How to Paint Outdoor Furniture the Easy Way

STEP 1: Clean your furniture.

Begin by washing your furniture really well.

We sprayed them down with water and then hand-washed them with mild dish soap.

In addition to washing them with a rag, we went back through and scrubbed them with a small bristle brush.

This is a decent amount of work, but it’s really important you do a good job, especially if the furniture has been sitting outside for an extended period of time.

If you don’t get all of the build-up off the surface, the paint won’t adhere like it’s supposed to.

So be like us and make it a family party! My kids were stoked about helping wash the furniture. 😉

STEP 2: Prep the surface.

After the outdoor furniture has been washed and is completely dry (we let our air-dry overnight) it’s time to prep the surface for paint.

Depending on what type of material your furniture is made out of, this will look different.

I’d encourage you to read the “surface preparation” section of your KILZ primer to make sure you’re doing it just right, but in summary you want to make sure the surface is clean, that there isn’t any chipping or peeling paint, and that any glossy or wood surface has been sanded.

Our set had a slightly glossy sheen to them so we chose to lightly sand them all down with 150 grit sandpaper.

After the entire surface of each piece had been scuffed up, I wiped them down with a rag to get the bulk of the dust off.

And finished by thoroughly spraying them down with the air attachment on our compressor.

This step is also critical, so be sure to work your hardest to get all the dust off your furniture before moving on to the next step.

STEP 3: Prime with KILZ

Now that your outdoor furniture is all prepped, it’s finally time to start priming!

This is my favorite step because you actually get to see the transformation start to happen. 😉

Start with your furniture upside down and prime everything you can see from this position, focusing on giving the bottom (the section you won’t see when it’s turned right-side up) a solid coat.

Let it dry for 1 hour, then turn it over and prime the entire top side.

STEP 4: Paint your furniture.

After the primer has dried for at least 1 hour (I like to give it overnight if I can…) follow the same method as step 3 and paint the bottom then the top of your furniture using the paint of your choice.

I wanted our set to feel like a light grey/natural wood rattan furniture set so we chose a khaki colored paint.

STEP 5: Add cushions and pillows!

I know, this step may not be necessary depending on the furniture you’re painting, but for a chair set like mine it is!

I ordered some nice, new outdoor cushions and pillows to place on mine to give them the comfort and style I was desiring for our deck.

If you’re ordering cushions for your set, make sure you measure your chair dimensions and get ones that will fit.

And here’s how our outdoor furniture looks now:

Stylish new set, right?!

Let’s look at the before/after side-by-side since it’s my favorite:

I still can’t believe how different they look! And all it took was a quick prime and paint.

As promised, here are the printable instructions:

How to Paint Outdoor Furniture that Lasts

How to Paint Outdoor Furniture that Lasts

Follow these easy instructions to give your old, worn outdoor furniture some fresh new life that will last for years!

Prep Time: 2 hours
Active Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 6 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $100

Materials

Tools

  • Hose with a Spray Nozzle
  • Wash Rag & Scrub Brush
  • Dusting Rag
  • Compressor with Air Nozzle
  • Drop Cloths
  • Paint Sprayer

Instructions

  1. Clean your furniture using non-soapy detergent and water.
  2. Rinse them completely and let dry.
  3. Sand the surface with 150 grit sandpaper.
  4. Wipe off the dust and spray off all remaining dust with an air compressor nozzle.
  5. Prime your furniture with KILZ primer - starting with a coat on the bottom with it turned upside down, let it dry for 1 hour then turn right side up and prime the top side.
  6. Paint your furniture the same way as step 5, but do two coats.
  7. Add new cushions or pillows!

Notes

For furniture with a lot of flat surfaces, you can use a brush and roller, but furniture with lots of grooves and edges should be primed and painted using a sprayer.

What furniture are you planning to paint? Let me know in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “How to Paint Outdoor Furniture that will Last”

  1. I have a settee glider, two chairs and table in metal that is about 14 years old. It has held up well, but needs refreshing. There are a few places where there is a little rust where the paint has come off. It is off white and I think I will do a grey shade this time.

    Reply

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