How can I lighten my dark stained deck, or even paint parts white?

The previous owners used an oil-based, semi-transparent, dark walnut brown stain on the deck they built. I want to lighten up the area, perhaps even paint the deck ceiling white or light aqua. I'm willing to use oil based paint if that will work. The floor can stay dark if I can just lighten the ceiling, posts, railing. The "spindles" on the deck walls are black wrought iron, which can also remain black if other can be lightened, even if to a medium grey!

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