Easy Ways to Restore Worn Outdoor Furniture and Decor | Thrifty Decor Chick


Tips on restoring and updating weathered outdoor furniture and decor.

Patio furniture and decor can be really expensive, so I’m always looking for ways to update or restore them and bring back some of the original finish.

The elements do a number on everything outside — from fading in the sunlight to yucky grime from the elements, there are many simple ways to make them look (closer to) new again! 

We’re hosting a very special engagement party our on back patio in a few weeks, so we’ve been working on getting everything set up for the season. I’ve also been tackling some small projects out there to get things in ready for the party. 

I had a list of drab looking outdoor items I wanted to clean and update. The first project was revitalizing our weathered cedar potting bench. 

My Dad helped me build this DIY potting bench ten years ago and I absolutely cherish it! I’m thankful we spent more on cedar when we built it — other than refinishing it a couple times now, it’s held up beautifully. 

Years ago I sanded and treated the cedar and it looked amazing!: 

But after six years of direct sun and the elements, the cedar started to gray again. This is normal for this type of wood, especially when it’s exposed like it was. 

Last time I refinished this potting bench it was in much worse shape — I had to sand like crazy to get all of the mildew off. This time I tried something new and I was shocked at how well it worked: 

easy way to remove gray from cedar

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You can see how much cleaner the left side is after this easy treatment. (The gray all the way over on the right is how it looked before.) 

All I did was add a few scoops of Oxiclean powder (and water) to a spray bottle and then sprayed it onto the wood. I let it sit for a few minutes and then used the hose to reveal the pretty wood finish: 
easy way to clean weathered cedar

It was like magic! And sooooo easy! 

You can also use a mixture of bleach and water if you don’t have Oxiclean.

I could have stopped there, but I wanted to remove just a bit more of the rough texture, so I did a quick sanding with my orbit sander to get any remaining residue off of the cedar. 

After it dried completely, I removed dust from the sanding with a blower and then applied another coat of the Helmsan Spar Urethane I used years ago: 
restoring outdoor cedar wood

It brings out the gorgeous color of the wood and gives it just a bit of shine as well. 

The bench looks SO MUCH BETTER! This is it on a rainy day, but you can tell the gray is gone: 

protecting cedar outside

I use it for both planting and for entertaining, so it’s important that it’s cleaned up and looking good. 🙂

Next up, our outdoor fountain desperately needed to be cleaned up. I got it a couple years ago and we LOVE it…the sound is so relaxing. But our hard water has done a number on it: 

restoring dirty outdoor fountain

I don’t eve know what that grime was at the bottom, but it was not easy to clean! 

I sprayed a cleaning solution and used a stiff wire brush to remove it: 

cleaning outdoor decor

Parts of the finish had chipped off as well:

fixing worn outdoor fountain

Those parts were beyond fixing, so I decided to try covering it all in spray paint instead. 

I used the wire brush to scrape the brittle finish and then lightly sanded it all down. After it was clean and dry, I started spraying numerous light coats of black spray paint: 

spray painting metal outdoor fountain

Wow, what a difference!! The spray paint gave it a whole new look. 

Before I filled it up again, I added a coat of this Krylon glitter blast sealer on the parts that would come in contact with the water. It was the only clear finish spray I had and I figured if it keeps bits of glitter from shedding everywhere, it would help to seal this as well. 

It looks brand new again! Totally worth the time I spent cleaning it up and painting: 

spray painting metal outdoor fountain

It’s been a week and a half and it still looks like it did the day I painted it. I’ve already had to clean the hard water marks off once and the paint didn’t budge.

I can’t even believe how much better it looks now!:

So far so good…I will update over time to let you know how it’s holding up. These outdoor fountains are not cheap, so if this extends it for another year or two I’ll be thrilled! 

We have a lot of wicker furniture outside, and a couple chairs we’ve had forever were scratched up: 

fixing scratches on rattan furniture

These are lightweight and sometimes get tipped over in high winds. 

Otherwise they’re in great shape, so I had an idea to cover up those lighter spots a bit. I grabbed the stain pen I use to touch up our wood floors and furniture and covered the worn spots:  
hiding scratches wicker furniture

I let it sit for a few minutes and then lightly wiped up any excess. After it was dry I brushed a light coating of the Helmsman urethane on those areas as well. 

They look soooo much better now! It only took a few minutes to do both chairs and the difference is noticeable: 

fixing scraped wicker furniture

Even if it lasts for a few months this was definitely worth my time! We moved these closer to the house, so hopefully they won’t get caught in the wind anymore. 

It was raining today and you can see that the stain is holding up and the water is beading where I used the urethane:

restoring outdoor wicker furniture

My last project involved a product I picked up last year and hadn’t tried yet. A lot of our outdoor items were looking worn and this solution is supposed to bring them back to life. 

Here’s a view of our large storage bench — you can see how the plastic had lightened up and was discolored from the sun: 

restoring outdoor plastic items
rejuvenate outdoor color restorer review

I cleaned the storage bench (those little grooves were impossible to get really well) and after it was dry I applied a coat of the solution with a clean rag. 

It didn’t make it look brand new, but it DID help a lot!:

rejuvenate solution on outdoor plastic

I was pretty impressed! 

The rattan and metal furniture on our covered patio have some rusted areas on the metal that need to be cleaned up and spray painted, but for now I figured I’d try this product: 

restoring worn metal furniture

I wiped it down with a wet rag and then applied a quick coat of the Rejuvenate.

The photos don’t show the difference I saw in real life. It deepens the finish and makes it look much better: 

rejuvenate cleaner on metal

The rusty bits aren’t as noticeable now either — the richer metal tone helps to hide them. 

I was impressed with this stuff! I’ll definitely be trying it on more outdoor items. I bet it would bring plastic planters and metal lighting back to life. 

To keep our patio fabrics looking good year to year, I use our little power washer to clean the rugs every season. I throw the outdoor pillows and cushion covers in the wash a couple times over the spring and summer. 

I’ll update and share how well that works later this summer!

All of these items look a million times better after these updates. If I can extend the life of any of them it is definitely worth the time! 

Have you tried any of these ways of updating or restoring your outdoor decor? 

I’ll be sharing a new tour of our back patio with you soon! 🙂



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