Garden furniture paint ideas: 12 easy and colorful updates for tables and seating

Give your backyard a quick and easy makeover with these garden furniture paint ideas. All for the price of a can of paint!

Wrought iron garden table and chairs painted in orange outdoor paint
(Image credit: Oxley's)

Garden furniture paint ideas have become a real trend in recent times. You only have to look at the range of outdoor paint colors available now, compared to a few years ago, to know that many of us are seeing just how much a quick coat of color can do for our backyard spaces.

Paint provides an instant facelift for walls both inside and out, and it has exactly the same effect on garden furniture. When I moved into my first home recently, the previous owners left behind an old wooden garden table. It certainly looked like it had seen better days, but with a bit of a sanding down, a clean, and two coats of a slate gray outdoor paint I had a fresh piece which felt brand new. And it was all for the price of a can of paint!

But the benefits that these painted patio furniture ideas have goes way beyond aesthetics. Ash Read, interior expert at Living Cozy says: 'Garden furniture paint comes in numerous colors so you can spice up your garden, but it also helps to protect your furniture from weathering and wear, therefore extending its life.'

Give your space a makeover with these garden furniture paint ideas

When it comes to deciding what color to paint your garden furniture, the advice from Ash Read from Living Cozy is to allow your space to help you decide. 'If you have a smaller garden, opt for one statement piece and consider staying away from dark colors,' he says. 'If you have a bigger space, you can get away with bigger and darker colors, however, be sure to use them sparingly.'

1. Keep it classic with timeless cream tones

A garden table and chairs set on a lawn painted in a contemporary white color

Little Greene Tom’s Oil Eggshell from The Paint Shed is an oil based exterior eggshell paint that offers a traditional finish

(Image credit: The Paint Shed)

The best way to choose colors when painting garden furniture is to draw inspiration from the setting, believes Michael Rolland, painting expert and MD of The Paint Shed

'If you have a lush, thriving country style garden with beautiful, colorful wild flowers, then a pastel or neutral shade will complement the space. A country cream or a powder blue for example will work with the setting rather than against it,' he says. 

2. Paint outdoor table legs a bold blue

wooden outdoor table with legs painted a deep blue shade

(Image credit: Little Greene)

'Painting a piece of furniture can add a dash of your personality to the space and enhance it, without committing to anything more permanent,' says Michael Rolland. 

But if your deck is in a calming, toned-down palette, then the thought of injecting a color statement into your deck furniture ideas might seem like a risk. If this is the case, then opt for a subtle injection of color, such as painting the legs of a garden table

If you do decide to go for garden furniture paint ideas which involve only one part of the furniture, bear in mind that it could cause this section to look newer than the rest. For that reason, you might want to give the whole piece of furniture a bit of a clean up at the same time so the contrast isn't too stark.

3. Perk up a chair with vibrant orange paint

A wicker armchair painted in a burnt orange paint

Alitex Collection Burnt Orange exterior eggshell, M&L Paints

(Image credit: M&L Paints)

Just one piece of colorful furniture can enliven your garden and be an enjoyable project for the weekend. This dull wicker armchair has been transformed with a vibrant orange paint job. 

It is always best to prep a piece of furniture prior to painting it, particularly if it has been treated with varnish, advises Michael Rolland. 'This is the only way to achieve the finish you are looking for,' he says. 

'Sand the furniture carefully, removing any old flaking paint, bubbles, old paint drips, varnish etc. Make sure you use a proper sealant on furniture that will be left outdoors to prolong your handiwork.'

4. Choose green for a subtle outdoor furniture update

Half arbour seating area painted in a soft green shade of outdoor paint

(Image credit: Thorndown Paints)

All timber materials for outdoor furniture will succumb to the ravages of the weather and UV degradation. So if you've invested in a new piece like an arbour seating area, then make sure you choose a good quality exterior wood paint

'Choose a paint which will protect the timber making it last much longer – even hardwoods will degrade and can rot,' says Ben Thornborough, Founder of Thorndown Paints.

Protection aside, colored paints are essential for exterior design, blending or contrasting with a chosen theme. 'A change of color can breathe new life into old garden furniture and lift the entire mood of a garden. If you choose a subtle color that blends in, it will give the garden a bigger sense of space,' says Ben.

5. Go for pretty pastels for long-lasting color

Swingseat painted in pink and grey accessorized with outdoor cushions

Light pastel colors tend to last longer than dark paint

(Image credit: Thorndown Paints)

According to Martin Young, founder of handcrafted garden furniture Sitting Spiritually, pastel colors tend to last longer than the dark colors which absorb more sunlight. 

When timber is exposed to the elements it will mature and change color over time. It will naturally mellow to a lovely silver hue. 'A lot of people love that look,' says Martin. 'It really characterizes wooden garden furniture – some people, however, feel that it makes the wood look tired. Painted garden furniture can not only provide a protective layer for the wood, but also give it a new lease of life.

'Outdoor seating is typically placed front and center to allow for the best views of the garden. Painting the furniture can make it stand out in its surroundings, serving as the focal point.'

6. Paint a runner in the middle of a garden table

round garden picnic table painted with a blue and with stripe

Slatted tables are perfect for painted stripes

(Image credit: Future)

Eating outside is one of the joys of summer and giving your table a makeover with some fun garden furniture paint ideas is an easy to enhance the experience. Wooden garden furniture which has slats, including pallet furniture, easily lend themselves to striped paint patterns.

This paint project is in two shades, a nautical blue and white. Smooth a length of masking tape along the edges of the slats when you're painting in a contrast shade for a clean finish. And leave the first color to dry completely before swapping to the next.

7. Go bold with a brightly painted bench

Bench painted a deep blue in front of an aqua blue wall

Paints in Crazy Daze and Blue Peter, from Sadolin

(Image credit: Sadolin)

'Repainting garden furniture is one of the easiest ways to add an injection of color and create an interesting focal point in your backyard,' says Matthew Brown, Sadolin and Sandtex Technical Consultant. 

So if you have a side return or a tiny terrace garden that lacks light and interest, transform it into a bright seating area by choosing a fresh paint color for your garden bench. Bright jade and azure blue shades work together to conjure up images of blue skies and open sea.

Matthew adds that if garden furniture is left as bare timber and it is exposed to the elements, even in sheltered areas of the garden, unwanted moisture can penetrate. 'This leads to accelerated wetting/drying of the wood leading to twisting, warping and splits. This also exposes the wood to unwanted mold/fungal growth,' he says. So protecting it with a coat or two of paint makes for an easier job when it comes to how to clean outdoor furniture too. 

8. Update metal garden furniture with bright colors

A metal table and chairs painted in a bright orange outdoor paint on a blue porch

(Image credit: Oxley's)

If you want your garden furniture paint ideas to inject a burst of color and show off your personality then Simon Hudson, Managing Director at Oxley’s suggests marigold yellow or a bright orange as great options. These work particularly well for a small dining or bistro set, as pictured here. 

'You can also complement the planting in your garden with your painted furniture,' says Simon. 'For example, if your garden is full of blooming purple irises, alliums, geraniums, or lavender, then purple is a good option to carry the theme through to all parts of your garden.' 

Whereas if you're looking for a minimalist, neutral approach Simon suggests shades of cream or even dark greys. 'This allows your flowering plants to stand out, preventing the garden furniture being a distraction. Which is great for gardens with staged flowering plants in different colors, so that the garden furniture doesn’t ever clash,' Simon says.

When painting metal furniture ensure that it's thoroughly cleaned and any rusty patches are sanded down to ensure a high-quality, long-lasting finish. 

9. Use paint to make porch furniture more durable

A vintage rocking chair painted up with outdoor paint in a deep green shade

Wicker rocker has been painted in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in shade Florence

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Green has been a coveted shade for interiors, a trend which has been gaining momentum over the past few years. But why limit it to inside our homes? Particularly for those of us wanting to achieve that 'outdoor room' feel in our gardens.

Using indoor furniture which has been treated with outdoor paint is a simple way to achieve this interior/exterior style. A wicker rocker like this is a perfect addition to your front porch furniture ideas where it will benefit from the shelter of your porch. For added protection, the on-trend green paint has been sealed with a coat of chalk paint lacquer for durability. 


10. Highlight a garden bar with dark paint colors

Garden bar painted in a dark shade with color pop orange bar stools in front

(Image credit: Thorndown Paints)

Give your outdoor bar ideas a cool and contemporary facelift with a dark shade of outdoor paint. If you have a modern, minimalist outdoor space, a black, grey or white garden color scheme will help keep the contemporary feel.

Dark tones like black, navy blue and charcoal gray also provide the perfect backdrop for vibrant accessories and colorful outdoor furniture ideas like these bright orange bar stools. 

11. Go for a cohesive gray scheme

Gray painted built in outdoor furniture

(Image credit: Sadolin)

'A freshly painted piece of outdoor furniture is going to instantly revive a garden,' says Michael Rolland. 'Making it look well cared for as well as making the prospect of spending time out there more appealing to both the resident and their guests.'

As with this scheme, the built in outdoor sofa has been given a fresh coat of gray paint which has been extended to the alfresco cooking area. This creates a seamless flow between the different zones. 

12. Create a fun vibe with multiple paint colors

Indoor table and chairs set painted with outdoor paint

(Image credit: Sadolin)

Painting a set of dining chairs in different shades could be a quirky touch for your garden furniture paint ideas. Go for similar tonal shades for a classic country look, or opt for contrasting brights for a more statement look. 

If you want to go bold with your outdoor dining ideas, Ben Thornborough suggests complementary colors which are on opposing sides of the color wheel. 'For example, red is the complementary color to green, orange is the complementary color to blue, purple is the complementary color to yellow.'

If you're planning to paint an old dining set, you'll need to prep it correctly. 'Garden furniture should be painted for both style and protection,' says Ben. 

Most paint experts will advise you to sand off a layer before applying an outdoor paint. But according to Ben, Thorndown Wood Paint bonds well to timber but it can also paint over other paints, varnishes and oils. You just need a sound dry and clean surface.

Can you paint over varnished furniture?

When it comes to garden furniture paint ideas, the better the preparation, the better the finish and the longer the color will last, according to Sitting Spiritually's founder Martin Young. 'Ideally, furniture needs to be stripped back to the bare wood, sanded, and a primer and undercoat added. The key here is in the attention to detail, be meticulous in how thoroughly you strip back.

'Then, at least two topcoats need to be applied. The quality of the finish will very much reflect the preparation. A primer, undercoat and two or three top coats at the bare minimum. For wooden garden furniture, I would always recommend using a stain block primer to block the knots from showing through.'

Teresa Conway
Deputy Editor

Teresa has worked as an Editor on a number of gardening magazines for three years now. So she is lucky enough to see and write about gardening across all sizes, budgets and abilities. She recently moved into her first home and the garden is a real project! Currently she is relishing planning her own design and planting schemes. What she is most passionate about when it comes to gardening are the positive effects it has on our mental health to grow and care for plants, as well as being great for the environment too and help provide food and shelter for wildlife.