Painting Garden Furniture: The Complete How-To Guide

May 10th, 2023

When exposed to the elements all year, garden furniture can become tatty when it’s finally time to brush them down and enjoy the sunshine…fortunately Brewers stock a wide range of products to give your garden furniture a fresh new look without having to go to the expense of buying a complete new set.

Photos courtesy of Little Greene. Colours, Lamp Black and Giallo.

Painting Metal Garden Furniture


When it comes to painting metal furniture you can choose a water-based or solvent-based system. 

You could use solvent-based products such as Hammerite Direct to Rust or Rustoleum CombiColor

Alternatively, you can use water-based products such Bedec Multi Surface Paint and Bradite One Can. These are all one-pack products which means you won’t need primers, undercoats, or topcoats.

Photos courtesy of Farrow & Ball. Colours, Wimborne White and Yellow Ground.

If you're looking for a specific colour or brand, designer paints have created systems to allow you to paint your exterior furniture with a great finish. 

F&B Metal Primer & Undercoat can be used with F&B Exterior Eggshell or F&B Full Gloss for a full system. Little Greene All Surface Primer can be used with Little Greene Intelligent Gloss.

Photos courtesy of Farrow & Ball. Colours, Blazer (Archive Collection), Railings and Dix Blue.

Preparation for painting metal garden furniture:

  1. Grab your PPE and ensure you’re in a well-ventilated area before starting the project.
  2. Remove all loose rust and flaking paint with a wire brush.
  3. Abrade the surface if it's glossy and ensure it's clean, dry and free from dust, dirt, grease and wax before applying the paint. 
  4. Top Tip: If the metal is galvanised, solvent-based products will require a primer first.
  5. If you're using a system, apply your chosen primer/undercoat.
  6. Apply the topcoat with a brush or roller and pay close attention to the manufacturer’s instructions on coverage, drying times and recoatable times.

For more advice, get in touch with our team at

Painting Wooden Garden Furniture


You can use a range of different woodcare products depending on the finish you would like for your furniture. 

If you have bare timber and want to bring out the beauty of the wood, consider using an exterior oil or wood stain. 

For an opaque finish, ensure you choose the correct product that has been designed for exterior wood such as Farrow & Ball Full Gloss, Little Greene Intelligent Gloss or Sadolin Superdec

Top Tip: Always check the manufacturer’s application instructions before starting your project.

Photos courtesy of Little Greene. Colours, Loft White, Celestial Blue, Bassoon and Garden.

General preparation steps for painting wooden garden furniture:

  1. Brush down with a stiff bristle brush to remove all loose material.
  2. Wash down and remove contamination fungal/mould growth, rinse allow to dry.
  3. Abrade to either, depending on condition or coating to be used.
  4. Remove all existing coatings and all greyed denatured timber back to a sound surface.
  5. Remove all loose/poorly adhering or failing coatings and all greyed denatured timber back to a sound surface. Any remaining coatings should be sound, well adhered, lightly abraded to provide a key and with edges tight and feathered.
  6. Key existing finishes that are in good condition and do not require removal.
  7. Repair any damaged areas with appropriate wood filler. Top Tip: Filler may be visible through translucent finishes.
  8. Apply the manufacturers recommended system of coatings.

Photos courtesy of Little Greene. Colours, Invisible Green, Clay, Windmill Lane and Garden.

Painting Rattan Garden Furniture


Arguably the most popular right now, rattan garden furniture can be painted to give the set a brand-new matt look and keep the furniture looking fresh. 

As rattan furniture is a specialist material, you will need to use a suitable primer such as Zinsser 123 Plus which will provide excellent adhesion for your topcoat. 

Once your primer has been applied, you can use any suitable exterior finish. 

Rattan furniture may be best sprayed, as the interweaving of the strands will create edges that will tend to wipe paint off the brush and potentially cause unsightly runs and sags in the finish, so consider using an appropriate spray paint for your topcoat.

Photo courtesy of Osmo.

Preparation for painting rattan garden furniture:

  1. Clean/wash down, rinse, and allow to dry.
  2. Prime with Zinsser 123 Plus.
  3. Finish with any suitable exterior finish.