Upcycled Chairs Turned Into A Colorful Bench For Your Backyard

10 Materials
2 Hours

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This colorful upcycled chair bench for your backyard is brought to you in partnership with Sherwin Williams. The opinions in this post are completely my own based on my experience.

Have you ever found some trash waiting to be turned into treasure?! I scored these chairs for FREE (yes...that's right....zero!) on a local Facebook group!! I'm always keeping my eye on Craigslist and Facebook Buy/Sell groups for things like this. I knew exactly what I was going to do with these old chairs. I wanted to give them new life with a fresh coat of colorful paint and turn them into a bench.

I transformed these old chairs and one pallet into a colorful outdoor bench during a Hometalk's Facebook LIVE video . You can watch a replay of the live video at the bottom of this blog post.

These old chairs were absolutely perfect because the seats were already removed, which is where I'm putting the bench.

The chairs are a bit beat up, but that's ok. I mean they WERE going to go in the trash. Someone was getting rid of them and was going to trash them. I'm so glad we were able to save these chairs and turn them into something fun for our backyard.

Step 1. Clean chairs.

To clean your chairs, you can just use a slightly damp rag.

Step 2. Sand chairs.

Before you start painting, you definitely want to sand your chairs. This will remove whatever residue and/or finish that is currently on the chairs and give the exterior paint something to adhere to. I used a hand sander and 220 grit sand paper to sand down the chairs.

Once you’re done sanding, don’t forget to wipe down the chairs to remove the sanding dust.

Step 3. Paint chairs.

Now, our upcycled chair bench is going outside in our backyard so I decided to go with a high-quality exterior paint to prolong the life of the outdoor wood furniture. Sherwin Williams was kind enough to send me to some Resilience Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint to try out for this project. The Resilience line offers exceptional moisture resistance, which is definitely something I need since we live in a climate with harsh winters and sunny summers.

I used a paint brush to apply the paint, but you could also use a paint sprayer if you have one to make this DIY chair bench project go even faster.

As I mention in the live video, when you are painting furniture for outdoors, you want to really think about totally encapsulating the furniture, not just covering the wood in places you can see. The exterior paint acts a sealant for the wood furniture, so it’s important to get in all the nooks and crannies. Also, don’t forget about painting the bottom side of the chairs and even the bottom of the legs where the chair touches the ground!

Note: if you think your outdoor bench may be sitting in puddles of water, you can also attach some risers to the bottom of the legs so its not sitting directly on the ground. 

I ended up doing two coats of the exterior paint. If I put it on a tag thicker, I probably could have gotten away with doing one….but I tended to paint in lighter coats even if it takes me a little more time. It ends up being a little neater.

Step 4. Dry brush chairs.

After I put 2 coats of exterior paint on and waited for them to dry, I liked the color (which, by the way is Refresh by Sherwin Williams). But I just didn’t LOVE this way the chair bench was turning out. My style is typically a little more muted and farmhouse. I knew I couldn’t distress the chairs like I normally do when I’m painting furniture. The coats of exterior paint needed to stay in tact to provide moisture protection for this outdoor bench, so I definitely couldn’t sand them. I ended up dry brushing the chairs with a white acrylic craft paint.

Dry brushing is a very simple technique that you can use to add a little character to painted furniture. Dry brushing is also great for adding attention to a piece of furniture’s texture. It’s really simple to do, too! All you do is take an old ratty paint brush and put a little bit of paint on it and then rub the paint mostly off of a piece of paper towel or rag. You want the paint to be lightly coating the brush bristles and almost dry to the touch. Then, gently run the paint brush over the furniture just barely touching it. Always run the paint brush with the grain of the wood.

Hop on over to the full blog post (link below) to see how we finish up this colorful outdoor bench by adding pallet wood planks for the seat and sealing the bench.

What color would you paint your bench?? Let us know in the comments below!!

Suggested materials:
  • 2 Old Chairs   (Facebook Buy/Sell Group (for free))
  • Outdoor Exterior Paint   (Sherwin Williams)
  • Pallet
See all materials
Chelsea @ Making Manzanita
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2 of 3 comments
  • Skila Skila on Aug 17, 2017
    Red White and Blue for Flag. Rotate painting the back bars Red and White for the stripes on flag. Boards surrounding stripes paint Blue with white stars stenciled on top of the back of

  • Lynda Lynda on Aug 10, 2018

    Not so much a question but I believe the chairs joints will fail when outside no matter how much paint you put on the chair.