We love to entertain, and as the weather warms up, we love to host gatherings of friends and family outside. We want to make entertaining as easy and seamless as possible, so I love having what I need on hand, outdoors, and close at hand. I also love to repurpose items – creating painted outdoor furniture is the perfect solution! Not only do we have plenty of storage, but we also have a statement piece!
One of our favorite things to do with friends is hosting Smore’s nights. S’mores nights are such a fun tradition, but S’mores usually have several components to them, and I like to have all the choices on one big tray, the ingredients, the plates, the skewers, etc. All of these items can take up a lot of room.
I am always budget minded when it comes to furniture and decor, both inside and out. Outdoor furniture that lasts is functional and beautiful can be quite an investment. And finding what feels unique and fits my whimsical decor is challenging. As I have done with most things in my home, I find what I need for free or very low cost, and I customize, build it, make it over, and repurpose it to suit my needs and style.
I knew I wanted a large cabinet to house outdoor plates, serving trays, cups, skewers for BBQing, smores, etc. These items usually live in our garage cabinets because they occupy much cabinet space in our kitchen. I wanted to find a buffet that we could quickly move around the patio and would hold all the things we needed to host a gathering outside.
Finding the Potential Outdoor Furniture and Adding Casters
I found a Buffet for Free on Facebook Marketplace.
I knew I could add wheels and create a fun paint finish that I could seal for the outdoors. Once I had it in my garage, I turned it over and added six sets of heavy-duty casters to it. Usually, four casters are enough, but this piece is half Octagonal and needed additional support in the front.
Creating the Perfect Look for Your Painted Outdoor Furniture
This piece had arched facing on each cabinet door that I knew was glued on. I knew it would be extra work but worth the labor when I took the cabinet facings, and I would have a smooth plane to work with. I used a Chisel and Hammer to remove the door faces. There was a lot of glue, and MDF left behind on the surface. I used a heat gun at its highest setting to heat the remaining glue and MDF, then it was easy to continue with the chisel and Hammer to “break it off .”Some areas had “pock marks” or deeper gouges where the doors were pulled off. I filled these areas with Sandable Wood Filler.
Once the glue was removed and the filler was dried, I sanded the entire front of the Buffet until smooth; this process took about an hour. It was worth the effort as it gave the Buffet a much more streamlined look.
I then Painted the base and upper top of the Buffet in one of my favorite colors, DIY Paint in Liquid Sunshine. (Looking back at where I ended up, I probably could have skipped this step). Sometimes I have to get in and begin painting a project to find the road map of where I will end up with the final look.
When the paint was dry, I applied the “Numbered Decoupage” Decoupage Paper from Recycled Treasures. I love the Graffiti look of this paper. Using Rice Decoupage Paper was my first time using thin Decoupage Paper. I went slowly, applying a thin coat of DIY Paint Liquid Patina (my all-time favorite Decoupage Medium, it’s easy to work with and has a long open time) in a long row, then carefully laying the paper down, smoothing it, then moving to the next section. I applied the paper over the front with the design mirroring on each side and then to the sides.
Painting the Buffet and Adding Grunge Texture
I wanted the paper to look like old posters pasted on this old piece of furniture and the paint to look like, over time, it had been applied in layers, was weathered, and “grungy .” I used DIY Paint in Marquee, applied in thick coats in a crisscross, overlapping the top and bottom of where the decoupage paper had been applied, so you couldn’t see where the paper ended and the paint began. While the paint was still wet, I sprinkled on “Salt Wash” powder to give the piece a lot of texture. I allowed the paint to dry with the Salt Wash stuck in the paint.
Once the Marquee was dry, I applied more Liquid Sunshine by essentially “dry brushing” the paint on the textured areas and high points where the paint may have worn off over time. I dipped a small DIY Paintbrush into the Liquid Sunshine, brushed off all the excess, and then lightly applied the paint to my piece. If there were areas where I felt like I had too much Liquid Sunshine, I repeated the process in reverse by Dry Brushing Marquee over the areas that were too “yellow.”
Creating a Weathered Look and Weatherproof Top for Your Outdoor Buffet
I wanted to carry the theme of this grungy outdoor buffet/cabinet to the top. I didn’t want just a regular painted top. I knew I wanted the top to look like it had weathered for years. To create a multi-dimensional finish, I started with a base color of DIY Paint in Gravel Road. Gravel Road is a soft, neutral gray that plays well with just about any color.
Next, I sealed the paint with one coat of Big Top. DIY Paint is highly adhesive but also highly absorbent. Any colorant you put over unsealed paint will immediately absorb into the paint, and you won’t be able to “move it around .”Adding a layer of Big Top or Clear Patina will allow you to add layers of glaze or colored wax over it.
Once the sealer was dry, I created a glaze using equal parts Dark Patina, Copper Patina, Grey Patina, and Clear Patina. Have a lot of paint rags on hand(or cheesecloth) and a spritz bottle of White Vinegar or Rubbing Alcohol. Working in sections, brush the glaze on from end to end. Then spritz with your acid or alcohol mix; I used straight white vinegar. You want to use something that will start to “dissolve” the glaze and leave a pockmarked look. I then went in with a wadded-up shop towel and blotted the excess glaze. You can also do this with a Cheesecloth for an even finer and more detailed finish.
I repeated this process three times to give the top of my grungy buffet dimension. The final look is so fun and exactly what I imagined.
I also opted to use some of the leftover glaze and brushed it lightly over the super textured parts of the buffet, high points, and areas where the piece might naturally darken from lots of exposure and contact with hands over the years.
You can seal the top again with DIY Paint in Big Top or leave it as is. Your top will now have layers and layers of a protectant coat, so I opted not to add more top coats.
After I took some beauty shots of my fun buffet, II easily wheeled the Buffet to the patio for its new home. Now all we need is warmer weather and a few friends and family members to stop by.
Looking at Old Furniture in a New Way
I encourage you to look at old furniture in a new way. Regular pieces can easily be upcycled and repurposed as outdoor cabinets, buffets, and tables. If you decide to use a solid wood piece for your next outdoor furniture project, I highly recommend you do not put it where it will get hit with sprinklers or get rained on regularly. Wood will absorb the moisture and expand, then contract, compromising your wood finish. Instead, place your painted outdoor furniture it in an area with minimal rain or cover it up as needed.
What will you create for your next outdoor project? Head over to Redouxinteriors.com and let me know; I would love to be inspired by you!
Karen is the kind of person who will talk to anyone in a grocery store line, dance in public to a good song, laugh so hard she cries, doing all of these things on a fairly regular basis. Karen’s nickname in High School was “Good Time Charlie”, (given by her Great Grandma for someone who is the life of the party), she still lives her life this way, always searching for joy and fun wherever she goes. View Karen’s Full Bio