How To Paint Your Garden Furniture: Everything You Need To Know

How To Paint Your Garden Furniture: Everything You Need To Know

So I’m writing this blog at the end of April with the belief that the weather is turning and it's time for us to start getting our outdoors prepped and ready for summer garden life 2023. I recognise that today, it was 4 degrees in the sunny north east so I actually may be a little premature with this ‘how to paint your garden furniture’ blog but I’m manifesting the fruit cider and BBQ life and pushing good weather vibes out there into the world for the warmer weather to hit us soon and we’re going to be ready!



I regularly get asked at this time of year; ‘what sort of paint do I need to paint my fence’, ‘what am I using on my exterior brickwork’, ‘how do I approach decorating outside’? Luckily I’ve already covered these and more in an existing blog ‘Which paint should I use for which exterior project’.

What I’m finding a lot of this year is people asking how to paint up their garden furniture, which products are best to use when painting up your garden furniture and the tips and techniques you need to know to achieve a professional and long lasting finish!

Lets face it, things are a little tighter this year with the increases we've seen at the supermarkets and the petrol pumps so we’re looking at so many ways that we can squeeze our costs down and look at how we can transform spaces like our gardens on a budget!

I’m going to show you guys how we can take some of our older and unloved furniture, bits that we’ve managed to pick up for a bargain on facebook marketplace and transform, upcycle, revolutionise them to get the outdoor space we’d love to chill in, cocktail in hand, this summer.

In this blog I’ll cover: 

Once you reach the end, you should hopefully be feeling empowered and inspired to get out there and transform your outdoor space! So let's get started!


The best products to use when painting your garden furniture:

>I’ll start off by saying to keep it really simple, we’ve pulled all of our favourite products for painting garden furniture into a shoppable category on the website, linked here. You can quickly browse everything I’m about to talk through in detail!

You know that we love to provide choice here at DCO so we have options in abundance however I do realise that sometimes too much choice can be overwhelming. I’m going to share some of my favourite products when painting garden furniture here.

The list is not extensive, there are nuances and anomalies that would make me recommend some over others so if you’re still not 100% sure after reading through this blog, please remember that we’re always available through email, live chat, whatsapp, DM and phone (I’m sure we would even find a way to answer a carrier pigeon!). 


Rust-Oleum Garden Paint

Rust-Oleum’s Garden paint has been around for a good few years now and I’ve used it myself (see the first picture at the top of this blog on my Mam’s shed transformation!). It actually used to be called ‘Garden Furniture Paint’ but it does more than just your garden furniture so they’ve usefully knocked out ‘furniture’ from the title so you can get the idea that it's a useful one for your outdoors spaces.

My biggest frustration with this product is that it was only available in 750ml size and quite often you’re going to need more than that for a garden project. Luckily they have just (like literally as we speak) launched a new 2.5L size so that you have the option of both depending on how big of a project you’re doing.

To give them even more brownie points in my book they’ve also brought out different finishes so you can now get the garden paint in matt, satin and gloss finish and with its 110 colour choices you really can find something to suit your mood board or colour scheme.

They do sample sachets and they're in the paint type too so you can actually test garden furniture paint in the colours you like, outdoors on your garden furniture so they really have tried to think of everything. 


Getting down to the fact you’re probably more interested in this paint has a 6 year expected life and is formulated to protect against mould and the weather. It’s a water based product and as I’ve used it I can vouch for the good coverage it boasts on the can! (Mam’s shed and plastic bench took 2 coats!). As I mentioned previously it can go on so many surfaces from plastic, wood, brick and metal but bare in mind if you are using it on plastic or metal, ensure you’ve popped a primer on first like the bullseye 123.

Cuprinol Garden Shades

Another favourite of mine due to the fantastic colour range, tin sizes and quality of the paint is the cuprinol garden shades. Similar to the Rust-Oleum garden paint, the Cuprinol Garden Shades have a 6 year expected lifespan when used on wood and the flat matt finish helps to enhance the grain of the wood for a natural feeling finish. In addition to wood you can also use the garden shades on brick, stone, terracotta etc so you can enhance your planters, walls etc too! 



 With their fantastic range of colours inspired by nature, Cuprinol Garden Shades can be easily applied to your surfaces with a brush or paint sprayer and is touch dry within 1 hour meaning you can get all your painting completed in one day. 



Zinsser AllCoat

If you’ve followed us for a while then you’re probably quite sick of me talking about Zinsser AllCoat but this stuff really is the G.O.A.T. It's an interior and exterior product and I love it for painting garden furniture as its self priming, available in three can sizes (so suitable for any size project) and also is available in three finishes (matt, satin and gloss).



Its a high quality trade paint so the coverage is fantastic and it has a 15 year life span in addition to being mould and microporous making it really weather resistant. I wanted to add AllCoat into this blog not only because it's such a fantastic product but because it can be colour matched! If you have a specific shade that you want to be made up it's entirely possible with AllCoat rather than having to select a colour from a limited colour chart.

Finally, (although I could talk about AllCoat for days!) and the name may have given it away, it can be used on pretty much any surface from wood to metal, uPVC to plastic and everything in between. With your one tin you can paint your garden furniture, then upcycle your plant pots, electric box and anything else that takes your fancy to match! 



Osmo UV Protection Oil

If you're looking for a high level of protection against mould, algae and UV damage, then the Osmo UV Protection Oil collection is the perfect choice. Available in a wide range of colours to suit your exteriors, this weather resistant oil can be used on a wide range of surfaces including fences, doors, window frames, sheds and of course garden furniture. 




Featuring a microporous finish that protects your surfaces against cracking, flaking, peeling and blistering, Osmo UV Protection Oil dries to a beautiful satin finish and is plant, animal and human safe once dried. Easy to apply with a soft tip brush or paint sprayer, for the best results and finish we recommend using the Osmo Soft Tip Flat Brushes which have been purposely designed to be used during the application of wood oils. 

As I mentioned, this list isn’t everything available but it covers the best bases which would answer 99.9% of questions. For those of you that aren’t sure I’ve covered a project you’re thinking of, just drop us a message and we can talk through the other options we have available for painting your garden furniture! Now let's tackle primers. 


Do you need to utilise a primer when painting garden furniture? 

So I’ve already partially answered this within the product overviews above but we’ll quickly recap. The RustOleum Garden Paint, Cuprinol Garden Shades and the AllCoat do not require a primer for most surfaces. AllCoat pretty much only needs it for galvanized steel, the Rust-Oleum when painting plastic or metal.

Galvanised steel is highly unlikely but if you’re painting metal or plastic with the Rust-Oleum Garden Paint, then I would recommend applying a coat of a primer like the bullseye 123 first before the paint. This will help with adhesion to those trickier surfaces in addition to helping to build coverage and achieve a longer lasting finish. If you’re painting a varnished surface, you should also utilise the Bullseye 123 for adhesion. 


The preparation steps for painting your garden furniture

Not a massive list and something you guys may already know but let's quickly talk about the preparation steps you should take before starting to paint your furniture to ensure a professional and long lasting finish. 


As with any project, interior or exterior, sanding over the surface is incredibly important. Remove any loose flakes of paint, runs in existing paint coatings, and provide a light key to the surface (aka rough it up a little). This helps your paint coating bond to the surface better and is important for achieving a long lasting finish! 


For any furniture that's been outside for a while, possibly with a little algae or greenery growing on it you need to give it a good clean. Sugar soap is an easy and affordable product that with a little elbow grease will remove the dirt and prepare your surface for painting!


If your wooden garden furniture is a little older and worn it may benefit from some filling before painting. The Toupret wood filler is handy as it comes in a squeezable tube and can be sanded down to a smooth finish once hardened. It fills up to 1cm depth and can be painted over in 12 hours so a really good one to have in your tool box!





My recommended tools for decorating your garden furniture. 

I love to use the lime wood finishing roller sleeves from Axus as they leave such a soft finish without any speckle/orange peel. They're made of a soft velour fabric so I find them to be a better option than using a foam roller. The only caveat here is if you're working with rough sawn wood (like a pallet garden furniture which is popular at the moment!). For these I would use the captain chunk roller sleeves which have a thicker pile to handle the rougher surface!

This is a fantastic kit from Harris which provides everything you need in one kit. You get the rollers which are specifically sized to match the width of the fence and shed lats which makes it so much quicker in addition to the tray and a fence brush for any edges are areas you can't get with a roller. 

The Ultimate Swan Neck Shed and Fence brush is a fantastic product. It's specifically designed with an angled head which reduces some of the tension you feel in your wrist when painting areas like your fences and causes fatigue. It's also designed to be the perfect width for your shed and fence panels for speedy application in addition to a reusable plastic cover which you can pop on to keep the brush moist for up to 2 weeks saving you from having to repeatedly wash your brush when you spread this onerous task out over a couple of weeks! 

A cheaper alternative to the swan neck brush, this shed and fence brush is the perfect width to match your fence panels for quicker application!

The Osmo is a fantastic product for protecting and nourishing your woodwork and is best applied in thinner coats and built up rather than getting it on too quickly and thickly! Their flat tip brush has a thinner stock so it doesn't hold too much of the oil when applying it meaning you can achieve a thinner application.

You really could do with a wire brush in your decorating kit when tackling outdoor furniture. It's a godsend for helping to remove old and flakey paint from most surfaces to help with preparation before you start with a new coat of paint. This one has a full handle so you can give it a good bit of welley and remove the tougher flakey areas!


What types of garden furniture can you paint?

I thought a great way to finish this blog would be to share some imagery and inspo of the different types of furniture you can paint. Hopefully this reassures you and empowers you that you really can tackle these projects yourselves!



So there you have it, a quick guide (although hopefully you’ll agree it's quite comprehensive!) for how to paint your garden furniture. It’s one of those cases where ‘it's really easy when you know how’. Remember to select the best product for the job (select the best from the list above on your personal colour requirements, finish and size needs) and making sure you put in the prep work in with your sanding and cleaning to ensure your garden furniture can look the best it possibly can with long lasting results. 

As I mentioned, if you have any further questions, concerns or need any further advice, we’re always here to help either at the end of the phone, on live chat, whatsapp, DM or if you’re local enough pop in and see us in store! 

Helen x

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