How to Paint Outdoor Wood Furniture

Updated November 21, 2016

Patio furniture can see the brunt of outdoor weather. Paint can chip away after time and ruin the aesthetics of wooden patio furniture. Because patio furniture is subjected to the elements, it is important to use the right type of paint. Avoid using the same paint you use for the interior of your home, because the outside moisture will cause this paint to chip. Paint on a dry day with a low humidity level to help the drying process.

Choose a paint colour for the furniture that incorporates the theme of the outdoor entertaining space, blends in with the natural surroundings or makes a festive statement. Bolder colours will jump out, but will fade sooner than more muted shades. Take a swatch of your outdoor patio furniture fabric with you to the hardware store, if applicable, if you want to match colours.

Pick an enamel paint from the hardware store to use. Latex paint will not hold up well to the moisture of the outdoors. Thin the enamel paint with some water for the first coat. Pour the paint in a paint tray and add enough water so it is a runny texture.

Place the furniture on plastic and not on the grass to paint, because the paint will harm the grass if it splatters. Paint the top coat of the furniture with a natural bristle brush. Allow the top coat to dry thoroughly. Depending on your area's humidity level, it should take several hours.

Sand the top coat to aid in the second coat adhering to the top coat. Brush off the sand and paint flakes with a small brush.

Apply the second coat of paint. Paint in one direction to prevent streaks. Place furniture in dry area to dry completely. Examine the furniture and decide if you want the colour to be more vibrant or if you need to fix missed areas. Repaint or place in desired location.


Apply a semitransparent stain to the wood before painting to prolong the life of the wood and protect it from the sun.


Keep pets away from drying paint by keeping them indoors or painting in a secured area.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint
  • Paint brush
  • Paint tray
  • Plastic sheet
  • Sandpaper
  • Brush
  • Semitransparent stain
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