Restore A Vintage Metal Lawn Chair To Give A Retro Vibe To Your Backyard Space

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Warm weather means flea markets and yard sales are in full swing. But, would you bring home a rusty, old secondhand metal lawn chair? Think twice before you say "no." Despite how rusty, flaky, or discolored the chair might be, it still has potential. Scraping and stripping can easily remove peeling paint and rust, while a spray-on primer sets the stage for a shiny, new coat of paint. When you're done, you'll have a bright, bold accent chair that's both durable and colorful. 

When choosing a metal chair, think not about the state of the frame but instead about the potential of the design. This is one of the key rules of choosing vintage decor for any part of your home. Are you looking for a sleek, sinuous French cafe-style chair, or a blocky industrial chair? Look for the silhouette that fits your style, then pack it into your car, bring it home, and get to work!

Prepare the metal chair properly for a new coat of paint

One of the great things about vintage and antique metal chairs is that they're built to last. They are made from durable materials like wrought iron and aluminum, and with a new coat of paint you can return them to their weather-proof status. Just don't forget the most important step: you need to prime your chair properly to prepare it for painting, to assure that the paint will completely adhere to the metal and weather-seal the chair.

First, you need to remove old flaking paint and rust. You can do this with a wire brush or low-grit sandpaper. You can also make a DIY rust remover with salt and lemon juice. Next, apply a primer. Rust-Oleum's Rusty Metal Primer Spray is a great option if the surface still has some spots of corrosion. Always use primer sprays in an open, ventilated area. Don't forget that old furniture may contain dangerous lead paint. Lead test kits are available on Amazon, and you should not hesitate to use one.

Re-paint your old metal chair with easy, fun spray-on colors

Now that your chair is properly primed, the fun begins! You get to choose what color you want to paint your chair. You might try a vintage-inspired color palette or go for something modern and monochromatic like white or gray. Factor in whether you want the surface to be glossy or matte, as you can find shades of paint available in both textures.

You may choose to use a traditional paintbrush technique, with a durable enamel paint like this one from Sherwin-Williams. Or, for an easy and fast approach, try a spray-on paint specifically formulated for metal, like Krylon's Rust Tough spray enamel. Which ever approach you choose, don't forget to thoroughly coat the entire chair to seal the metal. For extra protection, after your paint has dried, spray on a glossy sealant like Rust-Oleum Clear Specialty Lacquer. Once the job is complete, all you have left to do is invite your friends over for a retro-themed garden party!