How to revive an old patio furniture set with spray paint, on a shoestring budget

DIYer Jessica Nickerson used spray paint to bring a used metal patio furniture set, from Facebook Marketplace, back to life. Giving her front yard a speedy facelift, for next to nothing

Thrifted iron patio set gets a spray paint makeover
(Image credit: Jessica Nickerson)

Every yard, back or front, needs gorgeous patio furniture to go with it, right? But if your favorite outdoor furniture stores have all sold out, or if they are all beyond budget, you might feel stuck and a little like that idyllic entertainment space is a distant dream. 

When Jessica Nickerson (opens in new tab) of House Homemade (opens in new tab) wanted to spruce up her front yard space, she wanted a simple edit that wasn't going to be costly or time-consuming. 

Nickerson says 'I’ve been picturing a table and chairs in the mulch, under our live oak out front for a while. I wanted somewhere for more people to gather. Somewhere my two girls could have a snack with friends or we could sit with paperwork or a book.'

Project detail

  • DIY level: Novice
  • Time: Weekend
  • Budget: Low

Finding the patio set to upgrade

Nickerson started by scouring Facebook Marketplace and found the perfect contender for a cheap DIY project that was going to deliver both aesthetically and functionally.

'I had been looking on and off for a few months. I wanted a simple style but something heavy and long lasting with a decent price tag and relatively close to home.'

Blue iron patio set before paint job

(Image credit: Jessica Nickerson)

I found the perfect set on Facebook Marketplace for $150, and bonus – the people happened to live IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD!!' A rare case I'm sure many of us agree.

Nickerson adds 'I didn't want to make this patio space fussy. It's a table sitting in mulch. I don’t want to buy cushions or bring out throw blankets or pillows. I want it to be an easy, unstyled but beautiful spot that adds to our life, not our workload. It'll withstand the elements and need paint touch-ups every now and then; that amount of maintenance sounds like a breath of fresh air.'

Prep and spray painting

As when you're painting any type of metal outdoor furniture, prep is key for a good finish. Try to remove any visible flakes and scrub/hose down the pieces as Nickerson did. If your set is particularly dirty, use a little detergent with hot water and ensure they dry off before you start your paint job.

Thrifted iron patio set gets a spray paint makeover

(Image credit: Jessica Nickerson)

Selecting the right tools

As Nickerson says, using spray paint will make this so simple and the colors and finishes available now will help you create a patio set sure to compete with even the best metal garden furniture picks out there... Nickerson used Fusion all in one paint (opens in new tab) in gray, but there are alternatives also to suit your preference.

Thrifted iron patio set gets a spray paint makeover

(Image credit: Jessica Nickerson)

'I bought four cans of paint' says Nickerson. 'A good estimate is to buy one can per chair. You can always return the extra.'

Spray painting technique

Nickerson adds 'This is a great kind of spray paint project for beginners. With exception to the frames, there aren’t any solid surfaces so you don’t have to worry as much about an uneven finish. Just make sure you spray the lattice mesh parts from all sides and the bottom. This way bits of the old color don't peek through from certain angles.'

Blue iron patio set before paint job

(Image credit: Jessica Nickerson)

Nickerson went for a warm gray color. 'I wanted them to be neutral next to our light colored house and green shutters.' She adds.

The results: 

Thrifted iron patio set gets a spray paint makeover

(Image credit: Jessica Nickerson)

'As soon as they were dry I hauled them around front and enjoyed the cottagey charm they add to the yard. I'll list the chairs that were previously there on Facebook Marketplace, so the whole project will have cost about $125 including the spray paint.' Says Nickerson.

Thrifted iron patio set gets a spray paint makeover

(Image credit: Jessica Nickerson)

A super simple project sure to finish off a front or even side yard space perfectly.

Camille Dubuis-Welch
Camille Dubuis-Welch

Camille is Deputy Editor of Realhomes.com and joined in January 2020. Her love of interior design stemmed from a childhood spent dreaming up weird and wonderful ways to renovate her grandma’s house in France – a greenhouse roof was involved – and it was spending time around very good-looking house plants and in a hardworking kitchen garden that gave her a green thumb. When Camille isn’t sipping coffee and/or writing, she is seeking out cool new Facebook Marketplace finds or tapping into her other creative outlets: painting and clay throwing. She currently rents in North London with her French cat and two others, and hopes to one day renovate the most sustainable house of dreams, somewhere marvellously sunny with a wild, lavish garden and chickens, of course.

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