Renew, Reuse, Recycle: A Colorful Patio Set Makeover


“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.”                                                                                                                                                                                                           – Mary Lou Cook

Giving New Life to a Wrought Iron Patio Set

Sometimes people shy away from DIY projects because they are afraid they will make a mess or mistake or it will not turn out the way they imagine it. This is exactly why I love to DIY. It is about the process and the finished product. There is satisfaction with attempting something and seeing it thru to the end and not giving up. I am always surprised with what I end up with.


My first project for this spring is to repaint my wrought iron table set. Years ago, I worked as a decorator for a high-end leisure furniture company. In the summer, we helped customers decorate their patios, decks, and porches. One of the perks was sometimes, we were able to take any damaged or scratched furniture. This is how I obtained my current wrought iron café set. I love wrought iron patio sets, they are durable (pretty indestructible and will last years), heavy (perfect for Midwest summer storms)  and have a vintage feel to it. Originally, I painted it white but now it needs a new coat of paint and the cushions need new covers.


If new patio furniture is not in your budget this year, than try recycling furniture for a brand new look, saving you money. Search for a set at garage sales, resale shops, friends, family, neighbors or on the curb. They do need some upkeep but with a little TLC and not a lot of money, you too can have a cool new patio set for this summer. The best part is that it will have a history and be a conversation piece.  My set was originally called an ice cream set because it would have been found in ice cream parlors and is probably about fifty years old. It needed some work to remove the rust and grime.




Here are my steps to DIY your wrought iron patio set:

  1. Remove any loose paint and rust with a wire bristle brush or sanding paper or steel wool. Acids such as vinegar, lemon juice, and cola can help remove lighter rust. It is not necessary to remove all the old paint just the loose paint and rough spots. Also, if it has a gloss finish, dull the surface so paint will adhere better. You want a nice smooth surface before painting.
  2. Wash furniture with water and a mild detergent or vinegar with a scrub brush or rag to remove the grime, dirt, dust and etc. Allow it to completely dry before painting.
  3. Choose a well-ventilated area, preferable outdoors, where you will be painting, Lay down some old cardboard, piece of wood or painting drop cloth.
  4. Choose a day that is not humid and between 65 degrees and 90 degrees.
  5. Time to paint. I recommend a primer and paint combination spray paint.
  6. Spray even thin coats to prevent drip marks and allow it to dry between coats. Do not try to cover entirely in the first coat. Examine furniture from all angles so you do not mess any places. I used five cans for my two chairs and table.

The hardest part will be picking out what color you want for your furniture. I went with Valspar satin outdoor anti-rust paint +primer in Koi Pond. There are so many choices. You could go with a traditional colors in gloss black, white, green or red. If you want to add a modern touch then use one of the beautiful metallic finishes such as gold, platinum, bronze or copper. You can also go neutral with a twist with hammered or textured paints in taupe, rust, browns or greens. Or you can go with a really vibrant pink, yellow, bright green, blue or turquoise.


Extra tips…

  • Do not shy away from a set that may need some welding. Check with a local welding shop or auto body shop to have it re-welded. The price of the repair will be a lot less than purchasing a new patio set.
  • Do not forgot the bottom of the furniture. If the plastic feet(caps) are missing or need replacing, check with a local furniture store or  a local hardware store. You may also order online here: Shepherd Hardware 3040 Round Plastic Insert Cups – 1-1/2-Inch, White, 4-Pack
    This extra step will keep your wood deck or kitchen floor from being scratched.
  • If you are missing the glass top, call a glass repair shop. It is very easy to order a new top. Remember if used outdoors, order tempered safety glass with a rounded edge. Sizes are normally: 30 inches up to 48 inches with increments of 6 inches. Older sets may have an odd size of 27 inches or 40 inches.You may even order with an umbrella hole or with a beveled edge if used inside.
  • If you do not want glass, try another medium such as a DIY mosaic, painted, stained, or stenciled wood, tiles, or colored cement.
  • You can also combine different chairs and tables. Once you have painted the furniture, no one will really notice.
  • Best and last tip: After all the hard work,  get a new manicure, you deserve it and enjoy your NEW patio furniture all summer long!


Please let me know if you would like to see a post about recovering the cushions!

xoxo, Christine




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