DIY Outdoor Furniture Restoration Ideas

Have you noticed that your patio furniture is beginning to look worn and shabby after another season of outdoor use? Thankfully, you can do more than just protect your patio furniture in the winter to continue getting good use out of it. There are plenty of steps you can take to restore outdoor furniture so that your outdoor space looks anything but drab.

Read this guide for tips on restoring your wood or plastic and poly furniture. Or skip ahead to the end for instructions on how to reupholster patio furniture if you want to give your pieces a fresh, updated look. With our easy DIY outdoor furniture restoration ideas, you can restore outdoor furniture to its former glory so you can maintain your beautiful, relaxing outdoor space.

How to Restore Outdoor Wood Furniture

Wood furniture can become worn and weathered from years of being in harsh sunlight. One way to slow down this type of wear is to add outdoor shading solutions around your seating area. However, regardless of shade, wood will still require maintenance over time to keep it looking like new.

When it comes to learning how to restore outdoor furniture that’s weathered wood, it’s actually a simple process. You’ll just want to devote enough time to follow the steps below.

1. Remove the Old Finish

Over time, the weather will loosen the original finish on your wood furniture. Fortunately, this makes it easier to remove when you’re ready to restore your pieces. 

Start by using a power washer or pressure hose to remove dirt, debris, and any large flaking pieces of the original finish. Let everything dry out completely and then move on to sanding. Sand with the grain when possible. 

You can do it by hand or to speed up the process, try using an orbit sander. Once you’ve completely removed the old finish, wipe the furniture with an old damp rag to remove leftover dust.

2. Add A New Coat of Stain or Paint

Next, assess if you want to stain or paint your outdoor furniture. Both are excellent options, it just depends if you want to make your furniture a certain color or enhance the natural beauty of the wood.

If you’re wondering how to re-stain outdoor furniture, it’s as easy as following instructions on the back of the stain you choose. It’s best to try wiping stain onto the wood with a rag and only use a brush for small corners and tight spaces. By applying most of the stain with a cloth, you can ensure you achieve a smooth finish with no drips or runs.

A woman paints a wooden chair to freshen it up.

Maybe you want to achieve a bolder look than a stain. If that’s the case, painting your pieces is probably the better choice. Make sure before you add any color that you begin with a primer to make your paint job last longer and adhere better to the furniture. Your local hardware store can likely provide you recommendations on what primers and paints work best on outdoor furniture for lasting results. 

3. Air it Out

Let everything thoroughly dry and once it’s finished, admire your handy work! Your furniture will look and feel like new, making your outdoor oasis look beautiful again.

How to Restore Poly & Plastic Patio Furniture

Your plastic or poly chairs may have seen better days, but with a little bit of care, you can revitalize them for another outdoor season. Plus, it’s one of many easy, affordable backyard upgrades you can make to boost the curb appeal of your property.

1. Clean It Off

Grab an old, soft brush or dry rag and start removing cobwebs and dirt from your furniture. Once you’ve removed loose debris, grab your hose and put it on the “jet” or any other high-power spray setting. Then spray dirt loose from tight corners and other hard to reach spots.

2. Break Out The Baking Soda

If there are still areas where dirt won’t come off of your furniture, you can boost your cleaning efforts with a little help from some baking soda. First, wet your furniture and scrub it all down with a nylon scrub pad of your choice. Then take a sponge and sprinkle some baking soda on top and proceed to wipe the furniture a second time. 

There may be tight corners or hard to reach spots, so you can use an old toothbrush or a scrub brush sprinkled with baking soda to clean those areas. Afterward, rinse the furniture again. One of the best perks of using baking soda is that it isn’t a harsh chemical, so you don’t have to worry about it harming the plastic or poly material and damaging your pieces.

3. Opt For A Power Wash

Sometimes dirt may be deeply ingrained and none of the above steps can get rid of it. So your best option may be to power wash your furniture. Start with a gentle setting and then test a few settings to find which one removes dirt best without damaging the plastic or poly. 

A woman power washes a plastic poly chair.

Make sure you don’t use a setting that’s too powerful though or you may accidentally cut grooves in your furniture. To find the right setting, you can test them on the underside of your furniture so any damage that occurs is out of sight.

Also, if you find a rough area when you’re finished, it just means the power wash removed a little bit of plastic from the top layer. You can easily fix that by sanding your furniture with a fine-grit piece of sandpaper.

4. Try Adding Wax Over Top

In an effort to protect your furniture from damage, you can add a car paste wax once it’s dried from being washed. Simply pick up the kind you want from any hardware store and apply it according to the directions listed on the product. Once the wax has set, you’re good to continue enjoying your furniture!

How to Reupholster Patio Furniture

If you’re still looking to add a fresh new look to your outdoor pieces, it’s time to learn how to reupholster patio furniture. It’s an easy way to refresh your outdoor space and dress up your old pieces. And if you’re not handy with a sewing machine — no need to worry. You can easily reupholster your furniture without sewing at all. This might just be the easiest way you can restore outdoor furniture!

1. Take Measurements

Take measurements of the seat or existing cushion and add on a few inches extra, so you purchase enough fabric. If you’re having trouble figuring out what you need based on your measurements, simply take them to your local fabric store and ask for help selecting the right amount.

2. Choose Your New Fabric

Picking out your new fabric is possibly the most important and most fun part when you reupholster patio furniture. Just make sure that you choose an outdoor fabric at the store. It’s designed to handle moisture and other weather thanks to its special chemical treatment.

3. Cover Up The Old Fabric 

If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you can certainly sew a new cushion. However, if you’re not, all you need to reupholster patio furniture is your fabric and a glue gun.

First, if you’re able to remove the old fabric, carefully pull it off the old cushion. Depending on how your cushions were made, you may find that some of the old glue is still sticking to the cushion. It’s okay to leave that as is if you can’t peel it off.

Next, plug in your glue gun. Once it’s ready to use, wrap the fabric around the cushion in the same way you’d gift wrap a box, tucking in the edges and then gluing them down. The only difference is that you want to have enough fabric that you’re only gluing everything on the bottom side of the cushion, so it’s not visible when you’re using the cushion.

Lawn furniture couch just upholstered with yellow fabric.

Once your cushions are reupholstered to your liking, you can sit back and enjoy your furniture and its new look! If you want to add a finishing touch, try some outdoor throw pillows and a blanket to create a cozy atmosphere in your outdoor space. 

Furniture Beyond Repairs?

Check out our collections of wood and poly patio furniture and consider investing in a new set. Our patio furniture is durable and easy to maintain, so you can enjoy using it for many years to come!

bright colorful adirondack chairs in backyard
Adirondack Chairs