Labor Day Project: Outdoor Furniture Makeover

While the rest of the world prepares for the arrival of fall, California is firmly in it's indian summer. We can look forward to weeks of high temperatures, making summer feel like it's going to last forever. What I like best about living on the Central Coast is outdoor living. You can practically do it year round- which I have to admit is a little bit of a double edged sword because we are desperate for cooler days and lots of rain.

I have had my outdoor couch and ottoman for about 6 years now and I find it seriously perplexing that after about 2 years it started to get really worn and gross from being exposed to the elements. I thought the whole point of outdoor furniture was for it to be outdoors? The paint faded and peeled off and the cushions- yuck! Both were growing moss- I'm not kidding! We pulled it around the corner of our deck where no one ever went and tried to block it out. I couldn't bear to look at my not inexpensive furniture and it's serious deterioration. In a moment of craziness, which I can only blame on stress,  I was actually going to just toss it and take it to the dump.

Thank goodness inspiration struck! I did not want to drop more money on furniture that would probably go the same way as the first so I decided to revamp what I already had. The cushions are toast- originally I was going to recover them with waterproof fabric (or an ingenious Pinterest idea of shower curtains!!) but after looking at them I realized they were too far gone- they had lost their shape and I'm pretty sure there's mildew or mold on them and I just don't want to chance it. So out those are going.  The couch itself is really more like a bench with deep seats. I decided I only wanted seat cushions and would use the pillows that normally reside on my couch that I am completely over for back support and comfort. They are good Pottery Barn pillows and I didn't want to get rid of them but I'm also incredibly tired of looking at them- solution: outdoor couch here they come!!!

Here's how I spent my Labor Day:

Outdoor Furniture Makeover


1. Tarp or drop cloth. Protect the area that you are painting in.
2. Paintbrushes- these cheapies came from The Home Depot. $1 each.
3. Rag for wiping down the couch.
4. Paint stiring sticks.
5. Sandpaper
6. Paint**
7. (not pictured) flat head screwdriver to open paint cans.
8. an essential in my book: tunes. NO project is complete without music.

** paint used: For couch and ottoman- Behr Premium Plus Ultra, Exterior Satin Enamel medium base in PPU13-5 Bali Bliss. For card table turned outdoor table- Behr Premium Plus Ultra, Exterior Semi-Gloss medium base in PPU6-13 Hawaiian Pineapple. (can of paint and painting of table not pictured)

Behr PPU13-5 Bali Bliss

A note about color choices: I was originally going to paint the couch and ottoman either a dark red like THIS or a deep but bright blue like THIS, but my mom handed me the swatch chart for the Behr colors and inside the brochure there is a photo of a house painted the Bali Bliss and I just knew that that was the color. It also happens to be both mine and my husband's favorite color, the decision was easy peasy. Also, the table was going to just be an espresso brown like it started originally but my husband decided that a pop of color was necessary there too, so out with the brown and in with yellow!

The couch before. This photo does not show the extent of the damage. There were also plenty of cobwebs and dead bugs hanging all over it too. 

The faded paint on the arms. I did not sand this, this is what it deteriorated to. 
The slats on the back and seat area are actually in good shape because the cushions were protecting them.

Doing a little sanding in the areas where the paint was flaky.

It begins!

Sometimes you just have to use your knees to hold a couch in the air. ( I was sitting on a low stool)

The ottoman before. I did no sanding to this. As you can see from this photo it was in bad shape. 

The Final Product:

The sweet little yellow table. This is about 3-4 coats of paint. 

The ottoman has 2 coats of paint. The couch has 2-3 depending on the area of the couch. The areas that will be exposed more have 3 coats. 

A word about the cushion: I purchased this on sale from The Home Depot. It is a cushion for an outdoor chair. I needed to stay within budget and this was the only way to do it. If I'm out there on my own then I can put the cushions up like this but if my husband and I are out there or I have guests then I'll lay it flat. Gotta think outside of the box when trying to stick to a tight budget. A cushion for the ottoman will have to come later- but honestly it works just fine without one too.

There was nothing better than eating dinner al fresco tonight, with a breeze to cool the 93 degree + day we had today. I sat with a sense of satisfaction and a smile on my face as I enjoyed the fruits of today's labors. 

Pillows: Pottery Barn purchased 6 years ago. Table: collapsing card/dinner tray table, also purchased about 5 years ago. I believe I got it at Target. Planter: The Home Depot (cupcake trio planter) Coasters: DIY project how-to found HERE. Glasses: stemless wine glasses (I just love the shape, they are my everyday glasses) from World Market Cost Plus. I can't remember the brand but they were made in Germany. Couch and Ottoman purchased 6 years ago from Target.


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