How to Paint a Bench

A bench is not just a functional piece of furniture; it can also be a beautiful addition to your home or garden. Painting a bench is an easy and cost-effective way to revamp an old or worn-out piece of furniture or to add a pop of color to your outdoor space.

How to Paint a Bench

However, if you have never painted a bench before, it can be daunting to know where to start. The good news is that painting a bench is a relatively simple DIY project that you can do yourself, even if you have no prior experience with painting or DIY.

In this article, we will guide you through how to paint a bench, including how to prepare the surface, what tools and materials you will need, and step-by-step instructions for painting and finishing your bench. Whether you want to give an old bench a new lease of life or add a splash of color to your garden, painting a bench is a fun and rewarding project that anyone can tackle.

What Is the Best Paint to Paint a Wooden Bench?

When it comes to choosing paint for painting a wooden bench, there are a few factors to consider. The type of wood used in the construction of the bench, as well as the desired look and finish you want, will play an important role in determining what kind of paint is best suited for your project. Generally speaking, latex-based paints are most appropriate for painting wooden benches.

Latex-based paints offer durability and flexibility that allows them to better adhere to wood surfaces. Additionally, they come in both water-borne and oil-based varieties, so you can choose whichever formula works best for your needs. The colors available in latex paints also make them popular choice among homeowners and DIYers who are looking to add color or design elements to their wooden benches.

If you’re looking to paint a bench made of teak or cedar, the best choice is an oil-based paint. Oil-based paints are more durable and resistant to wear and tear, making them perfect for high-traffic areas like benches which may be exposed to changing weather conditions.

The Best Choice is an Oil-based Paint

Additionally, they provide superior protection against water damage and decay, allowing your painted bench to last longer. However, oil-based paints also require careful surface preparation prior to application—so make sure that you follow all instructions provided by the manufacturer before starting your project.

Is Acrylic Paint Good for Wood?

Yes, acrylic paint is suitable for painting wood. Acrylic paints are water-based, so they’re easy to clean up and won’t cause any damage to the wood surface. They can also be applied in thin layers that dry quickly without becoming too thick or heavy.

Acrylic paints come in many colors and finishes, so you have plenty of options when it comes to choosing the right paint for your project. When using acrylics, make sure to use a primer before applying the paint as this will help ensure a better bond between the wood and the paint and create a longer-lasting result.

Additionally, once you’re done with your project, protect your work with a sealant or varnish for added durability. With proper care and maintenance, your painted wood project will look beautiful for years to come.

10 Methods How to Paint a Bench

1. Choose the Right Paint

The first step in painting a bench is to choose the right paint. There are several types of paint to choose from, including oil-based, water-based, and spray paint. For outdoor furniture, it is important to choose a paint that is weather-resistant and can withstand the elements.

Oil-based paint is a good option for outdoor furniture, as it is durable and provides excellent coverage. Water-based paint is also a good choice, as it is easy to clean up and dries quickly. Spray paint is another option, but it can be more difficult to control and may require more coats to achieve a smooth finish.

2. Prepare the Surface

Before you begin painting, it is important to prepare the surface of the bench. This involves cleaning the bench and removing any dirt or debris that may be on the surface. Use a wire brush or sandpaper to remove any loose or peeling paint, and then wipe down the bench with a damp cloth to remove any dust or debris.

Use a Wire Brush or Sandpaper

Once the surface has been prepared, it is ready for painting. To begin painting, choose a suitable paint type and color for your bench. Latex-based paint is best, as it will provide a durable finish and long-lasting protection. Apply at least two coats of paint to ensure a good coverage, and allow the paint to dry completely between coats.

3. Sand the Bench

After cleaning the bench, it is important to sand the surface to create a smooth and even surface for painting. Use fine-grit sandpaper to sand the surface of the bench, being careful not to sand too hard and damage the wood. Sand in the direction of the grain to avoid creating scratches or marks on the surface of the bench.

After sanding, vacuum up any excess dust and debris. Wipe the bench down with a cloth to ensure it is free from any dirt or dust particles. Now the bench is ready for painting. While painting, use a good quality paintbrush and work in small sections at a time. Carefully go over the edges of the bench to ensure that no part is left unpainted. Allow the paint to dry completely before applying a second coat if necessary.

4. Apply Primer

Once the bench is sanded, it is important to apply a primer to help the paint adhere to the surface of the bench. Apply the primer evenly to the surface of the bench using a brush or roller, and allow it to dry completely before painting.

Apply a Primer

Primer helps to ensure that the paint adheres well and lasts longer on the bench. If painting an outdoor bench, use a primer designed to withstand the elements and extend the life of your paint job.

After the primer has dried, sand it lightly with fine-grit sandpaper to create a smooth surface for the paint to adhere to. This will help ensure that your paint job is flawless and professional looking. Once the primer has been sanded, wipe the dust away with a damp cloth and allow it to dry before applying paint.

5. Choose the Right Brush

Choosing the right brush is essential to achieving a smooth and even finish when painting a bench. Use a brush with synthetic bristles, as these are best suited for use with water-based or oil-based paints.

A high-quality brush will help to ensure that the paint goes on evenly and smoothly. When selecting the brush, consider the size of your bench and choose a brush that is wide enough to cover it in one stroke.

It is important to use a brush that has a tapered edge at the bristles, as this will help to create a smooth finish. Once you have selected the right brush, it is time to start painting. Start by dipping the brush in the paint and begin applying it evenly to the bench.

6. Use a Roller

In addition to using a brush, using a roller can help to achieve a smooth and even finish when painting a bench. Use a roller with a foam cover for a smooth finish, and be sure to apply the paint evenly and smoothly to avoid creating streaks or drips. To use a roller, start by pouring some paint onto the surface of your bench and use a roller to spread it out.

Apply the Paint

Start at the top of the bench and roll the paint downward in a long, smooth motion. Make sure that each coat of paint overlaps with the previous one to ensure an even layer. Once you have reached the bottom of the bench, start at the top again and roll the paint downwards until you reach the bottom once more.

7. Apply Multiple Coats

To achieve a rich and vibrant finish when painting a bench, it is often necessary to apply multiple coats of paint. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next coat, and be sure to sand lightly between coats to create a smooth and even surface.

When painting with acrylics, it is best to apply a minimum of three coats for optimal coverage. To make sure each coat adheres properly, be sure to use the same brush for each coat. When painting with oil-based paints, it is important to wait at least 24 hours before applying a second coat, as oil-based paints take longer to dry than acrylics.

8. Apply a Sealer

After the final coat of paint has dried, it is important to apply a sealer to protect the surface of the bench and ensure that the paint lasts as long as possible. Apply the sealer evenly using a brush or roller, and allow it to dry completely before using the bench. When the sealer has fully dried, your bench is now ready to be used!

9. Choose the Right Time

When painting a bench, it is important to choose the right time of day to avoid excessive heat or humidity, which can affect the quality of the paint. Ideally, you should paint in the morning or late afternoon, when the sun is less intense, and the temperature is cooler. If you plan to paint in the summer, it is best to wait until the sun goes down.

Additionally, avoid painting when there is rain or snow expected. This could cause the paint to run or not set properly. It is also important to choose a day that is relatively calm and free of wind. Wind can cause paint to splatter or blow away, which will lead to an uneven finish and possible damage to the surrounding area.

10. Maintain the Bench

To ensure that your painted bench lasts as long as possible, it is important to maintain it properly. Keep the bench clean and free from debris, and avoid exposing it to excessive moisture or direct sunlight.

Keep the Bench Clean

If the bench is located in a high-traffic area, consider adding cushions or covers to protect the surface from wear and tear. With proper care and maintenance, your painted bench can provide years of use and enjoyment.

Some Common Mistakes When Painting a Bench

1. Not Sanding the Bench Before Painting

Sanding helps create a smooth, uniform surface that paint adheres to better, resulting in a more professional finished look. Be sure to use sandpaper that is appropriate for the type of wood you are working with, and work in the direction of the grain.

2. Not Using Primer

Using a primer before painting helps ensure better coverage and prevents paint from chipping and peeling in the future. This is especially important if the bench was previously painted or stained, as the old paint or stain will not adhere well to fresh paint without a primer coat first.

3. Not Protecting Surroundings from Paint Spills

Whether you are working indoors or outdoors, it’s important to cover surrounding surfaces with plastic sheeting, drop cloths, or newspaper before beginning your project to prevent damage from paint spills.

4. Not Following the Instructions on the Paint Can

Read all instructions on the paint can carefully before beginning, as most paints require a certain amount of time to dry between coats and directions may vary based on temperature or other factors.

5. Not Wearing Gloves and Protective Clothing

Wear gloves and protective clothing while painting to keep your skin safe from chemical contact and potential injuries from tools or furniture pieces. You should also wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from paint splatter.

Wear Gloves and Protective Clothing


Painting a bench can be a fun and rewarding experience. It adds a great personal touch to any outdoor space and can even become the centerpiece of your patio or backyard. Depending on what paint you use, it can also last for many years despite exposure to the weather. Now that you know how to paint a bench, you’re ready to get started!

Choose your colors, gather your supplies, and pick out your project spot before you start so you can make sure you have enough room and are well-prepared. With these simple steps in mind, no one’s stopping you from making the perfect bench for yourself.

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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