Can I paint my garden table?

Lately I have been trying to write pieces that tackle some of the regular questions we get asked in the comments of our blog and on our social media. Can I paint my garden table? is one that cropped up on Instagram a few weeks ago, and it was one I felt I could impart a little wisdom after recently painting a vintage garden bench.

Now that was done in chalk paint and I looked at that particular method in more detail in our Can you use chalk paint for outdoor furniture? post. However, I did a little research before I opted for chalk paint, and there’s a few other options I wanted to discuss in a little more detail. Try and provide a little choice, share a few more tips and videos etc.

Anna 4 Seater Garden Furniture Set
Our Anna 4 Seater Garden Furniture Set in White

Before we dive in, if DIY isn’t your thing, then why not pay a professional? Many of us want to upcycle vintage pieces, save money if we can. The elements can make a piece of garden furniture look a mess, but underneath is often a solid piece of furniture. If you live in a flat or smaller property, then you may simply not have the space to break out a rattle can. A quick local search is bound to throw up a company who can do the job for you. Your looking for companies, depending what the items are made from, that can either restore furniture or spray/re-spray metal.

If like me, you’re not afraid to roll your sleeves up and give it go, then a fresh lick of paint can give that old furniture a new lease of life! And I think probably the best way to go about this is to look at some of the best products on the market for the job. Guidelines on how to are pretty easy to find, I’ll include them here in form of links to the manufacturers specific guidelines and/or videos etc.

These are all products that I or another member of the Lazy Susan team have used, so whilst we are happy to recommend them, we are by no means suggesting they’re right for your specific project. If in doubt, what I would say, is test first. Flip a chair or table over and test on the underneath before you commit.

Painting Metal Garden Furniture

As I mentioned above, we covered the painting of metal garden furniture with chalk paint quite extensively a month or so back in our Can you use chalk paint for outdoor furniture? post. Chalk paint is a great option, easy to apply and it can cover a multitude of sins.

I found it great for the classic Parisienne bistro look I was going for, however, there are other options. Just do a little research, test before you commit, and find the product that is best for you.

The good folks at Hammerite have a great range of metal paints that are ideal for outdoor pieces. Everything from specialist paints that can be applied directly on rust to products that have been formulated to withstand high temperatures making them perfect for giving your old metal BBQ a new lease of life.

You can view their full range here, you’ll find a helpful How To here and the following video shows how you can rejuvenate old metal garden furniture with their Direct to Rust Metal Paint:

Rust-Oleum are another good brand that have a great range of spray paints in a wide choice of colours. Their Painter’s Touch Spray Paint is ideal for metal garden furniture, and the following video shows how easy it is to apply.

Just remember to please always wear follow the manufacturers guidelines/instructions for use/safety guidelines when using aerosols. My advice would be to practice before you start on the furniture too but don’t be scared. I have used spray paints in the past and they definitely give the best finish on furniture with more intricate designs/detailing.

This is another great video from the Home Repair Tutor that demonstrates how to refurbish metal garden chairs in less than one day:

Only 2 hours to get our chairs looking like new. A good scrape with a wire brush to remove any old/loose paint flakes. Sand with smooth with orbital sander. Wash it down with water and a sponge. Let the chair dry. Start painting. This video makes it look easy, because it is. Just make sure you work in a well ventilated area and lots of dust sheets to protect your garage floor or patio.

Painting Timber Garden Furniture

When it comes to painting timber garden furniture then there are a number of options. My best advice is to always strip any existing paint and sand it back to bare wood. Start again if you like. It is a lot of work (not to mention dusty) but it gives you the best end result.

The video from Cuprinol below makes it look a little easier than it is but its a great starting point:

While the next video from HouseSmarts has some great tips and tricks:


However, my favourite finish comes from Beth at Farm Fresh Vintage Finds. She uses Clay-Chalk paint to achieve a fantastic finish:

Painting Plastic Garden Furniture

This is probably the material that’s raised the most questions amongst readers of this blog. It is definitely the one where people aren’t too sure if it can be done, and what type of paint will best adhere to the surface.

It also very much depends on the style of the piece. Poly-rattan furniture for example is probably best avoided if the weave is quite tight it is impossible to get a good finish.

However, if you have a more conventional resin piece, then you can get some fantastic results as shown in the videos below:

The key to painting plastic furniture, is getting the right paints. Again, you could use chalk paint but for a flawless finish, it has to be a combination of primer and spray paint in a satin or gloss finish for me. That way you’ll achieve a smooth surface with the sheen that suits the material.

My advice, use Pintyplus’ Evolution range and follow their excellent How To Guide below:

If you have any tips you’d like to share, please feel free to drop them in the comments section below or email them to us at [email protected].


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