How to Weatherproof Your Metal Furniture for the Outdoors

How to weather-proof your metal furniture for the outdoorsHi, there! Today I am excited to share a post about prepping furniture for the outdoors.

There are few things I love more than vintage… specifically mid-century furniture! Some of my favorite pieces in our home are vintage. I can’t get enough. However, there is typically a bit of extra TLC that needs to go into vintage pieces. They have to be maintained and sometimes restored.

Today I’m teaming up with Rust-Oleum and their Stops Rust line to share my quick tips for weatherproofing your flea market finds for the outdoors!

BeforeI have these amazing vintage chairs. I inherited them from the previous owners of our home. I love them and want to use them on our deck soon. (The deck isn’t built yet, so I am using them indoors for a bit, but ultimately they are intended to be outdoor chairs.) They will be SO pretty!

They had some wear and tear (a bit of chipping paint and in this pic you can see they are a little dirty from being outdoors). Nothing too bad, but if I were to set them outside without weatherproofing and leave them through 1-2 winters, they would be ruined. Definitely not going to let that happen!

There are two main elements to weatherproofing! Maintenance and proper storage.

1. Maintenance

Rust-oleumI have used Rust-Oleum for years for all kinds of outdoor projects. They are my go-to paint for pretty much all furniture projects. They also are hosting a contest this summer! If you show your project on Instagram or Twitter, follow their accounts and use their #stoprust and #inwiththeold hashtags, you can be entered to win a monthly prize box and $100 gift card to any Rust-Oleum retailer of your choice! Just in case you needed any extra inspiration to get working on those projects.

If you have a piece of furniture that is just a little bit (I mean a teeny tiny bit) chipped, it can become rusty quickly and over time ruin your furniture. So it’s pretty important to maintain your metal furniture by sanding smooth any chipped areas and repainting them. It’s a small simple thing that can make your furniture last far, far longer!

For these chairs, I used Semi-Gloss Protective Enamel in White.

2. Proper Storage

If you live in a region that gets cold, rainy or snowy to the point where you are not using your outdoor space for part of the year—store your furniture! There is no reason to expose them to wear and tear when you aren’t even able to be out there enjoying them! If you don’t have storage indoors or some kind of shed, just buy protective waterproof covers for your pieces and use them through the winter or any season you aren’t using your outdoor space. It’s an extra step, I know, but you will be so glad you did!

I learned this lesson the hard way in my first home when I let a beautiful hammock and some outdoor furniture stay outside all winter—a lot of it was damaged or ruined and wasted a lot of money. Never again!

How to weather-proof your metal furniture for the outdoors My finished chairs are as good as new and ready for our outdoor space (as soon as it is completed).

How to weather-proof your metal furniture for the outdoors How to weather-proof your metal furniture for the outdoors Oh, and because I am crazy and I don’t know when to stop, I made a few quick DIY pillows as well!

Pillow ideas 1I made these pillows using some plain pillows from Target and adding yarn (with more of a rope-like texture) with glue. Originally I intended to add a bunch of stitches to each corner and throughout the design as well, but when I finished, I didn’t feel like it really needed the stitches). You can see here how I just created a super simple design with layers and knots of yarn and glued it down.

EyeHere’s a closeup of the finished product.

Pillow ideas 2In this first image you can see how crazy easy it is to make words. I didn’t have any words I wanted to use, but it’s super cute, so I just wanted to show you!

And in this second image you can see the rainbow. I know I JUST made a rainbow pillow, but sorry not sorry, I made another one. Rainbows are my favorite. This is just 5 knotted strings, a braid and a hand crocheted piece (as in I couldn’t find my crochet needle so I just used my finger instead).

Here’s the finished product…


How to weather-proof your metal furniture for the outdoors Thank you so much for reading!!! If you have any additional tips for keeping furniture nice outdoors, I would love to hear! xx -Elsie

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson, Photography: Collin DuPree and Elsie Larson.
  • We have a gorgeous vintage brass tabletop we scored for a song that fits perfectly on an old tabletop we have. It’s a bit oxidized, which we don’t mind that much, but we would like to clean it up a bit and then weatherproof to use for our deck.

    I was having a hard time finding a solution online, and then I ran across your fab site. Any suggestions?

  • What a great idea! I will have to find the perfect green color to fix my fun vintage set…or maybe just change the color!

  • Before painting the chairs did you sand them? Mine have a bit of rust and wondered if I needed to get it off before painting? Thanks!

  • These chairs are so cute!!

    Also, kind of off topic, but your plants always look SO healthy and cared for. For those of us with brown thumbs (hi, me, RIP all those poor plants), I would love if you could do some posts about plant care tips.

  • Metal furniture maintenance is very important. Thanks for the tips for weatherproofing the outdoor metal furniture. I really liked the DIY pillows, they are very cute.

  • Your chairs look great. I would nog advice to cover all you outdoor furniture, but to get advice how to store them in wintertime. For us, both our table and our loungeset get worse if you cover them. We don’t have room to store them inside. We leave out on advice of the store were we bought it and leave it be especially when freezing don’t touch them. If we were to cover them we would get al kinds of molds on them.

  • Hi Elsie, thank you for that post! I have a question regarding the mid century style planter. I’ve been searching for one for a long time now, but those I could find are just not affordable. Do you think this could be a DIY project? Or do you think it’s too difficult to make them on your own?

  • Such a helpful post! And your DIY pillows are just too cute <3

  • Super great tips! It’s so cute and cozy too! Love it!

  • I’ve heard a lot of good things about Rustoleum’s protective enamel! Totally doing this when we get patio furniture this year!


  • Omg! Those chairs are so cute! I love them. Thanks for the tips too. I’m terrible at leaving my outdoor furniture outside year round.

    Nicky Zeeb xx

  • I’m obsessed with Rustoleum. It’s the only type of spray paint that I will use for anything! I just got new patio furniture (new meaning thrift store patio furniture) and now I’m definitely going to go check out the protective enamel spray. Thanks for sharing!!

  • I love following along with the newest developments in your home! I’m all about this chunky yarn, cute outdoor pillows are a must!

  • I love your home progress posts as well! It helps cultivate my own creativity as I’m working on my own home! So much fun! Also, how fun that you inherited the chairs from the previous owners! All we got from our previous owners was a nasty plaid couch (left on our front lawn *eye roll*).

  • I feel like you’ve DIYed every part of your home, yet everything looks pristine and store-bought. So talented you are, for sure!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    • Thank you!! When we moved my husbands ONE request was that our new home didn’t look “crafty” and I have tried really hard to stick by that. It’s been a fun creative challenge. 🙂 xx!

  • Elsie, my favorite posts are about your home progress. I love your style and you always throw in some cute and easy DIYs. Plus, your style is vintage/retro/bright/earthy/gold all at once!

  • I noticed Laura had her baby, are you guys not going to do a post to congratulate her? I haven’t seen anything mentioned on the ABM Instagram nor yours, Elsie… What’s going on?

    • I think this is up to Laura to share – not anyone else! 🙂

    • Laura just got home from the hospital today and I haven’t even been over to see her or the baby yet (not being rude, just giving them space and privacy).

      She is going to write a post on her introducing her baby once she is feeling up to it.

      We are all VERY happy for her and very excited, so please don’t mistake our silence as weirdness…. 🙂

      • I was wondering the same thing. I understand letting Laura ‘present’ her whenever she wants, but not even a congratulations on the blog or social media? Moments like these make me miss the spontaneity of the early blog days.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.