a colorful place to land

A deck with blue furniture and a cooler with drinks

How to Paint Outdoor Wood Furniture


May 7, 2021

It is finally nice enough to get outside again in New England, so I am trying to spruce up the deck so that we can use to be social again safely. We have all this Smith & Hawkin outdoor furniture that I got years ago from Target, but it was not in good shape. However it wasn’t in bad enough shape to get rid of, so I decided to paint my outdoor wood furniture.

I suppose most people would have wanted to stain their wood furniture, but when you are obsessed with color that just doesn’t seem that much fun, so why not spray them blue? Here is how to paint outdoor wood furniture.


As much as we all don’t like it prepping the furniture is key. For this furniture that meant lots and lots of sanding. Luckily I am married to a finish carpenter so I had lots of sanders to choose from. His belt sander worked really well but was a bit too powerful for me. The orbital sander was my favorite. Because I was painting I just needed to get the big flakes off and make the surface even. It was a great arm workout.

I also recommend filling any cracks or splits – you can read more about that below in what I learned not to do


So after doing quite a bit of research I decided to go with Rustoleum’s 2x Ultra Cover Spray paint. I read a lot of blog posts and reviews and it seemed that since it was a paint and primer in one I could skip priming! WAHOO! Welllllll…. with all my painting experience I should have known better. For the first few chairs, I just used the blue paint and it took SO MUCH! The wood was sucking it up and now a few weeks later and some wild weather I can tell which ones I didn’t prime. SO – I really recommend taking the extra step and priming with a true primer. I just used the Rustoleum’s primer.


So now that you have sanded, patched, primed – it is time for some fun. I started with the Navy paint, but decided that it wasn’t the right blue, so I went back and tried Midnight Blue. It was perfect.

It takes a few tries to get the hang of spraying them, but try to keep from having the paint pool. Follow the instructions on the can, or I recommend watching a youtube video. If you have primed your furniture you might only need one good coat of your color.


Now that most of the furniture has sat outside for a spring snowstorm and lots of rain I have learned what I should have done differently. On the pieces that I didn’t prime or fill properly the paint is starting to chip. So my advice is the following:

  • Let furniture really dry out – especially with wood. Even if it is dry to the touch give it a few more days
  • After letting the wood dry out fill any cracks with a good wood filler. Then let dry and sand.
  • Don’t spray paint if it is really humid out
  • Follow the directions on the can for drying times – even if it feels dry to the touch. (I know it is so hard to be patient)

So I have some repairing to do, but I have to wait for them to dry out. I will get back to you with how I fix the cracking cracks!

You might also like Lake House Porch Before and After

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