Paint is a wonderful application to freshen up outdoor areas that are tired from the constant demands of weather. Paint can be applied to just about any surface, and with the variety of colors and textures available, you are sure to find just the right finish for your outdoor project.
If your porch flooring is wood or concrete and in need of a little sprucing up, consider a painted design that will look like a rug or tile, without the upkeep or installation hassle. One design looks like a rug suitable for outdoor wood surfaces. To prepare the wood, use wood filler to cover nail holes and crevices and sand once dry. Use enamel paint to create a base coat, and you are ready for the design. Choose a geometric pattern, similar to a block quilt pattern, for a rug look. Better Homes and Gardens suggests a Shaker quilt style with large blocks of color surrounded by borders of neutral color, with a wide neutral border around the edges. To create a terra-cotta tile motif on a concrete surface, clean and prepare the concrete with an etching solution available at home improvement stores. A grout-colored base coat is applied first, then painters tape is used to mark off even squares. For extra interest, BHG suggests using sticky notes turned to form a diamond shape in the corners between each marked-off "tile." Carefully tape around the notes, and you are ready to paint. Using two tones of a terra-cotta-colored paint, work dark from the edges to light in the centers. Fill in the small diamond shapes with a sea blue color. Once the design is fully dry, you can remove the tape, revealing a tile-style floor that is weatherproof and beautiful.
Outdoor furniture requires a little loving care every season or two to continue performing well and looking good. Wicker and wood can both be painted for a fresh look, but take care to prepare the surfaces first. Use a vacuum with attachment to clean the crevices of wicker furniture, then a mild detergent solution to gently scrub the surface. Better Homes and Gardens also suggests using a deglosser to ensure paint adhesion. Allow wicker to dry completely before painting and do not use while damp. Spray paint works well for wicker, using a gentle back-and-forth motion, building up coats to prevent drips that can clog the crevices. A second coat can be applied to ensure coverage, and stencils can be applied to the final base coat for a second layer of design using a complementary color. Adirondack chairs are popular outdoor furnishings, and their angular design works well with painted patterns. Sand the chair's surface and wipe with a microfiber cloth to remove dust. Prime and paint in desired base color, then use stencils to create a floral pattern, geometric design or even apply inspirational words or phrases to the slats. Another wood piece worthy of a coat of fresh paint is the picnic table. Sand the surface and wipe clean, then apply your primer and tape off the wooden table top planks one by one. For a patriotic design, Martha Stewart experts suggest outdoor semi-gloss latex paint in alternating red and white stripes. Be sure to double coat each board and don't forget the ends and underside for a clean, finished look.
Depending on the state of your stairs, you may need to sand old wood or etch concrete as described in the previous steps before painting them. One especially practical and pretty application comes from Martha Stewart. To keep your stairs safe, you can apply painted strips that contain sand granules to act as a foot grip. After the surface is prepared and primed, paint the stairs with the first coat of outdoor quality or porch paint. Then mix 3/4 cup of sand with two cups of paint. Stir throughout application to prevent sand from settling at the bottom. Mark off two strips on each stair tread and paint with sand mixture. When it is dry, you will will have functionally beautiful stairway that guest will admire and appreciate.