Asked on Jun 13, 2013

Advice on beautifying a metal garden shed.

by Sunush
I need suggestions on improving the exterior look of a metal garden shed that we use to store tools, pottery, soil and such.
  36 answers
  • Alexandra Arena Alexandra Arena on Jun 13, 2013
    I would paint the metal a feminine color, like powder blue, and replace the hardware with an antique handle of some sort! :)
  • Sunush Sunush on Jun 13, 2013
    What kind of paint should I use and is any prepping needed?
  • Alexandra Arena Alexandra Arena on Jun 13, 2013
    I really don't know much about painting metal, you'd have to ask an expert about that!
  • Painting metal is no different then painting wood. You need to clean any oxidation off of the surface. You will see this on your hand if you rub it on the existing paint. A power washer with a good detergent will do the trick. Make sure you rinse really well. If the surface is shiny after the cleaning ideally you should lightly sand it to remove any gloss. In addition there are gloss removing chemicals you can purchase to do this for you. ;But I have found using both a light hand sanding and the de-glosser combined gives you a real good base in which to put the finish on. If you do not have access to a power washer you can prep another way. Using a 3M sanding sponge with a fine grit. Use the garden hose on low and sand and wash at the same time. This will assure the entire shed comes clean as the water keeps the sanding sponge from plugging up while it rinses the dirt away. Once the shed is lightly sanded and really clean and dry. Using a paint accepting caulk, check and seal any screws in question on the roof and or the sides. Let dry. Once everything is dry use a good quality primer that is suggested by the paint manufacture that you choose your color from. Most high quality house paints are fine with painting metal so there should be no issue with that. You can use Rustolium paint if desired. They make great products that are made just for metal. But a good quality house paint would work well also. You may want to rent a small spray gun and spray the shed. This will prevent brush marks and get the paint into the areas that the brush would have a hard time doing. Carefully follow the instructions on the paint can to assure a long lasting finish. If not a good brush to get into all the edges followed by a good quality fine finish roller to do all of the flat areas will make short work out of putting a fresh coat of paint on the shed. When working on the roof, pick up a 2x12 board long enough to run from front to back. Then with that on the roof you can put your weight on the roof without worry that you will damage the roofs metal.
  • Cindy tustin Cindy tustin on Jun 14, 2013
    I just painted mine used the same paint that was used on the house last year had 2 colors. Cleaned with power washer and painted. Very pleased with the results.
  • Jewell Jewell on Jun 14, 2013
    We have several small plastic sheds and garden tools/equipment in an area. We used a couple of garden panels to hide the clutter and mismatched sheds. The cedar panels look great and added extra storage to hang a few things when not in use.
  • Sunush Sunush on Jun 14, 2013
    Thanks for the great tutorial. Will slowly start work on this area.
  • Mikell Paulson Mikell Paulson on Jun 14, 2013
    Paint it with a Primer first, so your color paint will stick better or have a paint store color your primer!
  • Donna Steeber Donna Steeber on Jun 14, 2013
    I painted my tin roof over my deck last year and it is peeling in clumps/chips and there seems to be no end to it.... and I have tried to remove it but it still just keep peeling more pieces an my deck looks horrid. Any suggestions?
    • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Apr 02, 2017

      I'd power wash it from top to bottom. I have a mobile home, so that's what we have done prior to painting. I prefer Clark & Kensington Exterior paint (excellent product). It comes with primer, and in many colors. Holds up very well here in Florida. Best of luck.

  • Donna, try reposting your question as a new one. But to fix this issue, Try powerwashing. The high pressure should remove any loose or peeling paint. Normally peeling occurs because the material that is being painted was not properly prepped or primed or both. Paint on metal can chalk up pretty fast and that can prevent even the best quality paint or primer from sticking. More times than not the finish was too shiny and the new paint did not bite into the finish very well. Factory paints often are much harder than that you can do on your own and for that reason it is very important once the surface is really clean that you sand it lightly to remove the gloss finish.
  • Janice Davault-Harral Janice Davault-Harral on Jun 15, 2013
    OK as usual I am outside the box. I would paint it a fun blue and the trim a bright yellow, hang an old window with many panes on the side of the shed with a flower box under it. Plant something that will spill over the edge and hang down. Put smaller windows in front like on either side of the door or faux porch lights on the front. Or hang a window but replace the glass with chicken wire and plant a vining morning glory in the flower boxes. Just a thought!
  • Cathy Porter Cathy Porter on Jun 15, 2013
    hi I agree with Janice. The minute I saw it I thought paint it some pretty contrasting colors---I love bright fun colors for an outdoor space. Then add embellishments like old doors, windows, farm or garden implements....(vintage/antique) place a climbing rose along one wall on a trellis or flower containers. adding whimsy will make it fun and certainly take away the ugly industrial look of the plain shed.
  • Lori J Lori J on Jun 15, 2013
    You are in Arizona, right? Oh what fun you can have with a southwestern color pallet. Hanging things on a metal shed might make for a bit of a challenge, but maybe an open framework of some sort (like a trellis, but more frame-ish) would give you a place to hang things. I prewash plastic and metal with ammonia and have had much better results than before I stumbled on that tip somewhere.
  • Lorah Marquardt Lorah Marquardt on Jun 15, 2013
    I adore this shed makeover. Maybe it will give you some new ideas:
  • Gayle wilson Gayle wilson on Jun 15, 2013
    Paint it bright ,fun, outdoors colors.Paint some big sunflowers on it ,Or if you have kids have them dip their hands in different colors and put hand prints of different colors on it.Or hang up small plant holders all over and fill with bright flowers.Clean up area around it.Use decorative bark or stones or grow a climbing vie and let it cover the shed.
  • Sharon H Sharon H on Jun 15, 2013
    I'd plant morning glory seeds in pots and then throw twine or string over the top to the other side so they would grow over the top. If you left the old vines up every year they would use those to climb and you could harvest some of the seeds to drop into the pots for next season. If you could find a couple of dry branches to stick in the pots for them to start their climb, that would be cute too. I would hesitate to paint it because once you start it will be a constant maintenance issue.
  • Faith Gonzalez Faith Gonzalez on Jun 15, 2013
    paint a mural of flowers all over it....... Make it pretty!!
  • Meg Wylie Meg Wylie on Jun 15, 2013
    You can paint it but I would add some shrubbery like where the tire is and even maybe some Virginia Creeper or so such vine that would grow up and over the roof! Metal gets hot so you need things that will tolerate the heat!
  • Bonnie G Bonnie G on Jun 15, 2013
    At my old house i painted my metal shed after cleaning VERY well first and we used a metal brush to clean it with a dawn and then we power washed it. Be careful with the pressure we had a commercial one and it dent the metal. I painted mine the same color as the house a light yellow and brown trim. I used really sturdy metal hangers the kind you get to hang christmas wreaths from your metal doors. We had a sign over the door and really pretty wreath that my neighbor made out of a water hose. We had really nice plantings around it which your area already has a nice blacksplash for with the path and the beds.
  • Melissa W Melissa W on Jun 15, 2013
    I would go with a 1960's flower child theme. Big daisies, smiley faces or Peace signs. Then funky up some clay pots by painting them co-ordinating colors.. and plant crazy daisies in them. Maybe some bright color Adirondack chairs and a small table on the side. Make a little patio to the left of the photo.. just make it fun.
  • Sondra A Sondra A on Jun 15, 2013
    Since you live in Arizona I like the idea of painting it blue because it is a pleasing and cool color. The trim can be as contrasting or compatible as you like. Then after cleaning up the outside you can put some plants in large pots along the side. You can also paint little vines and flowers up the trim.
  • Melissa R Melissa R on Jun 15, 2013
    Match the color of your home, including the trim. Faux windows with trim is a good idea, but you can plant local plants that won't take much water. To hang things on a metal exterior, mark where you want to hang it and drill holes through the shed. Then use a piece of wood on the inside of the shed to screw your piece to on the outside. Works very well and can hold a fair amount of weight.
  • Rjb Rjb on Jun 15, 2013
    I'm with Janice,add the window panes and the window boxes overflowing wth plants (i.e. wave petunias aspargus ferns etc.) I would paint the shed the same color as your house!
  • Catherine S Catherine S on Jun 15, 2013
    I would put up trellises. Have morning glories growing up the sides.
  • Sue Daugherty Sue Daugherty on Jun 15, 2013
    Faux stone exterior to match walkway
  • Anna Ibarra Anna Ibarra on Jun 15, 2013
    The trellises w/a flower vine or a weather permitting plant or ivy that will grow along one side of it will add warmth to it. Or a large planter toward the side corner. Also add that sitting that Melissa W. suggested that would be very welcoming. Painting it first is a must I feel and what Melissa suggested on the faux windows is just adorable. I would also paint the doors with trim to match the windows. Maybe a small metal or wood ornate trim over the doors. Whatever you do start off painting a color you can live with, your style. Then go from there.
  • Sara Glenn Sara Glenn on Jun 15, 2013
    I was just thinking of lattice framed so you could attatch 4 corners and you'll be able to hang anything so you can change flower pots or old tools or christmas lights.... change is creative... let it evolve... In front, 2 windows with window boxes made, maybe, with more lattice, or not...And a Dachshund by the door...
  • Rhonda Rhonda on Jun 15, 2013
    I would paint it however add stenciling with the type of look u want..example country, Tuscan theme? Soften up around the exterior with soft plants, cobblestone , color!
  • Mary Reinhardt Mary Reinhardt on Jun 15, 2013
    I agree with other people, paint, or stencil, potted flowering plants, something like petunias, sweet potatoe vines, trellis plants
  • Melissa W Melissa W on Jun 16, 2013
    Check out my Pinterest board.. lots of great ideas for your shed here.
  • Terra Gazelle Terra Gazelle on Jun 17, 2013
    paint the shed...paint a door, add a window and a window box...add a rocker and a table and a little garden. Who can tell its a shed?
  • Sunush Sunush on Jun 17, 2013
    How do I add window and a window box?
  • Jay Bickford Jay Bickford on Nov 30, 2015
    you can check out lots of great idea for garden sheds here
  • Marie R Marie R on Mar 29, 2017

    Painting is a lot of work...especially for stuff that's in the 'elements'. I'm into less work and maintenance...use live plants...add a 'fake' window or two or boxes...just adding some touches...maybe power wash it all first...if I painted anything,,,maybe a great, bright roof color. Lots of great ideas here:)

  • Marie R Marie R on Mar 31, 2017

    ,,,I had a window frame that came out of one of our doors, ..the 9 pane style...I replaced it with a new one. Also, I think you could easily 'make' one with an old pic frame from the thrift store....tack a few wood strips to give it the square panes look...mount a flower box under it? ...its why I love the internet, no shortage of ideas!! ...after looking at your shed, again,,,you might just paint the 'tan' parts. ..if you really wanted to paint.

  • Marie R Marie R on Apr 18, 2017

    I have a window that came out of my front door. 9 pane glass style. Hang it as it...or just use the plastic frame with the nine square holes...decorate...looks like you would do something like that on the side...I just think you could add things without the hassle of painting something like that. Neutral colors ultimately are nice, long term...decorate with's cheaper and you can change it when you get tired

    of it:)