Home Decor

Patio Update on a Tiny Budget

Our little patio is nothing special. Until recently, we only had a couple of cheap, second hand patio chairs, a sand box for the kids, and our grill, which totally met our needs. However, with the warmer weather we’ve been having, I’ve been feeling the need to spruce things up. The only problem is that we don’t have a huge amount of money to throw into a patio makeover. We are currently saving for a few other big projects inside of the house, so I had to do a patio update on a tiny budget.

Patio Update on a Tiny Budget

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a before photo, but you really aren’t missing out on much. These chairs were super cheap to buy and after a couple of years of use, the seats had started to fade and look weird.

Patio Chairs

So, I grabbed a few cans of Rust-oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint and went over all parts of each chair. I was a tiny bit worried that the paint would effect the feel of the seats, but they are exactly the same to the touch as they were before painting. Plus, changing up the color really makes the outdoor space feel so much different and saved us from having to buy new chairs. Woohoo!

Spray Paint Chair

Here they are still drying, but I think they turned out pretty nice.

Patio Chairs Painted Black

I also found some cool indoor/outdoor globe string lights at Target that I thought could be fun for the patio. (Dollar Spot for the win!) I wasn’t crazy about the blue color, so I grabbed some ping pong balls from the dollar store and changed them out for a more neutral look.

Blue White Globe Lights Remove Light Bulb Cover

To add the ping pong balls, I used a craft knife to cut an X into each ball and then inserted a bulb into each. Easy peasy.

Ping Pong Light String Ping Pong Ball Lights

The striped lumbar pillows were a last minute idea. The fabric is from Ikea and I was hoping to cover some existing placemat pillows. Sadly, I measured everything incorrectly, so I had to wing it and sacrifice a couple of old throw pillows to stuff these. They turned out cute though, right?

Striped Pillow Chair Fern

As for accessories, I grabbed our pegboard luminary and added a few other items from around the house. I love this pretty, yet simple, vignette.

Lantern Candle Moss Wreath

In all, I think we spent about $30 total on this update, with the cost of paint and the little bulb lights. Not bad, huh? Although this is not the patio makeover of our dreams, I think it will totally make our time outdoors a bit more enjoyable. What do you think?

Patio Update on a Tiny Budget


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  • Katie

    There’s so many great things going on with your patio update!! I have the same chairs and had no idea what to do with them. GREAT idea. The lights, the pillows, the shelf…it all looks amazing. Thanks for sharing, Erin!


        • Krisitne

          I’d like to know this as well. How does this hold up in Summer heat? I don’t want my guests in white shorts to have black smears on them!

          • Erin

            Once the paint has cured, it should not come off on clothing. We never had any issues with smearing in the summer or any time after everything was dry, regardless of weather. However, I would recommend following the temperature/humidity guidelines for your specific paint to ensure the best adherence.

  • jess

    I love the lights in the background and the colors of everything! Simply perfect! Thanks for sharing at Totally Terrific Tuesday! Glad to have you around! Pinned and shared :)

  • Cat @ Pocketful of Posies

    Elizabeth and Joan,

    What a cute patio makeover! I love how you used things you already owned to make up this brilliant space! Painting the chairs was an excellent idea! I have recently started hosting a new link party with Refresh Living and Vintage Refined and we would love to have you come link some of your awesome posts with us. The party starts every Tuesday at 7pm CST.
    I hope to see you there!


  • Carolyn @ Our Gilded Abode

    What a lovely space! Everything looks wonderful and so tied together – the pillows, chairs and pops of greenery are so nice. Thanks for sharing your redo on the string lights – nice to know that if I find a good buy on some that aren’t quite the right color, I can change them out. Would never have thought of that!

  • tara

    Hi Erin,

    I think the chairs look great! I have the same chairs and thought about this, but wondered if the paint would run on clothes when its wet? How did that go?


    • Erin

      Hi Tara! The chairs have held up great and we haven’t had any problems with it running when wet (or at all for that matter.) I think once the paint has cured it is good to go, wet, dry, or otherwise. Hope that helps!

    • Erin

      We’ve never had an issue with the paint transferring or rubbing off when it is hot (or cold or rainy for that matter.) Once the paint is dry, it is good to go!

  • Lauren

    Hi Erin!
    I wanted to see how your chairs were holding up after a few seasons… I am on the verge of doing this with ours.

    • Erin

      Hi Lauren,

      The chairs are still in great condition! We actually passed them onto my in-laws when we moved and they use them on their deck to this day. Hope that helps!

  • ellen brehne

    I think your space looks amazing! However, I have a question. I inherited some beautiful outdoor chairs, but they were an awful flesh color. I striped, sanded, washed w/tsp, dried , primed & spray painted with the exact same oil rubbed bronze Rustoleum. The paint lasted 2 weeks, now they have flaked so badly, they look like they have Vetiligo ! Any hints to what I may have done wrong. I repeated this process 2 times w/ same result.

    • Erin

      Wow, Ellen. I’m so sorry to hear that! We didn’t have any issues with ours flaking or peeling. Is the paint coming off on just the seat area or the arms as well? I would have assumed that with all of the prep work that you wouldn’t have had any of these kinds of issues, but maybe they chairs are made of a different material than ours.

  • Marlene

    Hi Erin, I keep searching about painting our patio chairs and your post is the only one I have found. They look great. I am curious if they are the same mesh type fabric as mine. I just read the recent post from Ellen where hers flaked off. Now, I am nervous to paint mine. Were yours that open mesh fabric? Thanks, Marlene

    • Erin

      Hi, Marlene. We did not have any problems with the paint that we used coming off/chipping at all. We actually have since passed the chairs onto family and they are still in great condition. Hope that helps!

  • Shirley

    Well, I tried to add a picture but Pinterest makes it very hard. I painted my old beige & rusty chairs & tables the same color as she did & they really do look good so thank you so much for your Pinterest post!

  • ellen B.

    Love the make over, looks great. Just want to mention that I used that same brand & color on my patio chairs and it flaked off horribly. I used TSP and sanded pre painting. Also brought chairs into house with A/C hoping low humidity would help then dry & “cure” faster- didn’t help. Even called Rustoleum HQ to find out what I did wrong & why paint wouldn’t adhere – no help they “didn’t know”. Finally we had a worker in our home who told me to use an automotive paint primer first, then spray, that worked MUCH better. I still need to touch up every season. Touch up is still cheaper than sending them out for redip.

    • Erin

      Thanks for the info, Ellen! We have used this technique on multiple brands of these mesh type chairs and have never had any issues with flaking or rubbing off. I wonder if maybe there was something wrong with the Rustoleum batch of paint you got? I’m so sorry that this did not work out for you and that Rustoleum also could not help!

  • msry damiano

    This is exactly like the chairs i will be covering. I wasn’t sure which paint would hold up for the aluminium and seats. I love the color you picked . i want to change my green to this color.Is the paint rubbing off at all while you sit?

    • Erin

      Thank you. The paint has adhered perfectly to the mesh and we haven’t had any issues with it coming off while seated (or at all for that matter.) Hope that helps!

  • Brittany

    Hi Erin! My husband and I have these awesome deck chairs we love but want to revamp them by using your method with the rustoleum spray paint. Did you prep the metal frames at all with sanding or anything? Also, for the oil rubbed bronze, is that color similar to black just not as deep and as rich as the carbon mist? I’m debating between the two colors. Any input helps :) love what you did with your space!

  • Kate

    Thank you so much for this idea! I had some patio chairs I got for free and this totally changed them for the better!

  • MemeLove

    OMG!! You are a LIFESAVER and I’m so Inspired. I was looking for proof that these chairs could be spray painted because mine are so faded (red) Not only did you do it but it looks AMAZING!! I love what you’ve done with your space!! Thanks a MILLION!! <3 <3 I'm so happy I found you!! :)

  • Cindy

    How are the patio chairs holding up now since you painted them? Mainly meaning the material of the chair. I am definitely painting my metal was a little Leary of painting fabric. Thanks for sharing!

  • Idania

    I think the chairs look great! I have the same chairs and thought about this, but wondered if the paint would run on clothes when its wet? Or really hot temperature 100F how did that go? Also what kind of spay pain did you use?

    Thank you for sharing I’m keeping my chairs thanks to you. :)

  • T Thomas

    I decided to give this try after finding your post. I have sling back chairs with sunbrella fabric but they were looking outdated in a brown that I didn’t care for. Bought Rustoleum primer/paint in one in Gun Metal. Two weeks ago I sprayed the chairs fabric and all and they look fantastic. They have been outside in multiple rain storms, and a week of 80 degree weather and so far they still look great with no flaking. I did not sand them since there were only a few nicks but I did clean them well and let dry in the sun for an hour or so before hand. Thank you for this post!

  • Sandra Smith

    We are painting our outside interior and I bought a nice patio set some years ago and I want to spurs the chairs up and saw your posting. I am HEADED to LOWES right now to get me some paint and spray them. Love it!!!!!

  • Renee S

    This is EXACTLY what I’m looking for! Seeing that this project was done a few years ago…did the paint survive the spring/summer? Or did it chip off quickly? TIA

  • Carmen Gonzales

    These look amazing! I would love to paint mine but would like to know how does the paint hold up with direct sunlight hitting the chairs and will your clothes stain when you sit on them?

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