Painting garden furniture: follow our step-by-step guide

Painting garden furniture is an easy, affordable way to brighten up your outside space. Here's how to do it

Painting garden furniture is a great way to refresh your outside space
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Painting garden furniture is a great way to protect your outdoor furniture from the elements and give it a quick refresh. Gone are the days when exterior wood paint was brown or brown, now you can find almost as many shades as you can for indoors. We love sage greens and blues, which provide the perfect backdrop for plants. Wooden garden furniture is especially vulnerable to weather damage, so even if you don't want to paint it a different colour, you should apply a protective wood stain.

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Painting garden furniture? You will need:

Tips for painting wooden garden furniture

1. If painting wooden furniture with a brush, always paint from left to right and along the woodgrain.
2. Only dip the tip of your brush into the paint, not all of the bristles.
3. If spray painting your wooden furniture, hold the can 15cm to 20cm away from the furniture.
4. If applying a second coat, always allow at least an hour between coatings, and check your paint manufacturer's instructions.

1. Check the furniture's condition

If your wooden furniture is brand new, then now's the perfect time to apply a coat of paint to protect it from the elements. Skip to step 3. 

If your furniture is a year or two old, then have a look at the timber and see what condition it's in. Remove any chipped or dented timber and lumps of existing paint with a stiff wire brush. 

2. Repair any damage

If there are any holes or cracks, use wood filler to repair the damage. With a putty knife, work the filler into any holes or cracks. Then leave to dry and repeat, if necessary.

3. Sand the furniture down

Sanding the furniture will give a good base for the paint to stick to. Make sure you pop on a mask to protect you from any dust. Start sanding with a coarse-grain paper, such as 80 grit, and then finish with a finer grain, such as 220 grit, to create a really smooth finish. 

A sandpaper block is best for tabletops and flat surfaces, but you'll need sheets of sandpaper to get between slats or around legs.

4. Clean the furniture

Once you're finished sanding, use a large, clean paintbrush or a vacuum with a brush attachment to clean off any dust. Then, use a detergent, such as sugar soap, to remove any grease from the surface and leave it to air dry. This will help the paint to stick.

4. Apply your first coat of paint

Now it's time to get painting. Try to pick a day that's warm but not too hot as this can stop the paint from drying correctly. Make sure you pop down a dust sheet or old blanket to protect your patio or lawn from any paint spills.

If the furniture has never been painted before, then it's worth applying a coat of wood primer and leaving this to dry before applying your first coat of paint.

When you're ready to start painting, stir the paint well and then use a brush to apply it, paying attention to any nooks and crannies.

5. Apply a second coat of paint

Leave the first coat of paint to dry for the time specified by the manufacturer on the tin and then apply your second coat. It's better to apply two thin layers of paint than one thick, gloopy layer. Leave to dry and then sit back and enjoy your handiwork! 

Painting garden furniture will give it a fresh new look

(Image credit: Cuckooland)

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Laura Crombie
Laura Crombie

Laura is Brand Development Director for Real Homes, focusing on digital content. She has written about homes and interiors for the last 12 years and was Deputy Editor and Editor of Real Homes before taking on her current position. She's currently renovating a 1960s house in Worcestershire, doing as much as possible on a DIY basis.