Update a metal dining set with fresh paint and a new umbrella.

Refurbishing a Metal Dining Set

by Mary Cockrill

Because metal furniture is durable and long-lasting, refurbishing your existing metal dining set makes excellent decorating sense. Whether the metal furniture lives outside or inside your home, you can spruce up the pieces to make them look brand new again. Add a clear polyurethane coating to a refurbished dining set for additional protection against rambunctious kids, active pets and inclement weather.

Give It a Bath

If your metal table and chairs are in good condition, but grungy with spilled liquids, food particles, grease or caked-on dirt, clean the pieces to restore their original splendor. Use a soft cloth and mild detergent to scrub the dining set, and rinse the pieces with clear water. Avoid harsh cleaning agents that can strip away the patina. For stubborn grime, lightly rub the pieces with a cleaning tool that won't scratch the metal surfaces, such as a stiff brush or synthetic steel wool cleaning pad and vinegar. If possible, take the furniture apart to allow you to clean the pieces more thoroughly.

Color It Beautiful

For a metal dining set that is showing its age -- rust spots, chipping paint, unattractive scratches, outdated color -- cover the pieces with new paint to update its appearance. If your furniture was manufactured before 1979, or if it's a garage sale find whose age you don't know, visit with a professional furniture dealer or acquire a test kit to check for lead in the existing paint. Follow a painting professional's advice on how to safely prepare the pieces for new paint. For dining sets that don't contain lead paint, remove any rusty spots or peeling paint with a wire brush, steel wool or sandpaper. Gently rub any deep scratches with sandpaper to smooth out the surface. Apply a metal primer before spraying on your new paint color. Choose a lively hue -- green apple, lipstick red, turquoise blue, tangy tangerine -- to delight your kids and boost the decorating energy level.

Fix It and Enhance the Glimmer

Repair or replace any broken parts of a metal dining set before you address its dull finish. Use a metal polishing paste to make unpainted aluminum furniture shiny again. Restore the shine to lackluster painted metal with a new coat of paint and a clear finish. If you like the existing paint color, apply a transparent polyurethane finish to enhance the current color and give it a tough, glossy coating that resists wear, staining and exterior weathering. Spray the dinette set with a metallic paint in shiny silver or brilliant copper to enhance contemporary decor, or cover the pieces with an oil-rubbed bronze paint to complement Old World style.

Dress It Up

Refurbish a metal dining set with new accessories and comfortable accents. For example, outfit the metal chairs with cushy seat and back cushions to tempt you to linger longer after a meal, and add a colorful umbrella to an outdoor table to provide a shady spot to dine. Soften a cold metal table with a variety of warm textures, such as a fabric tablecloth in a perky print, a stunning vase of fresh flowers and a tray of glowing candles in a variety of sizes. Lay an area rug underneath a metal dining set for additional coziness.

About the Author

Mary Cockrill's education and certifications in interior design and home staging have allowed her to author numerous home-related articles. Cockrill has been a top design consultant for a renowned home store and is the owner of Starwood Home & Gifts, LLC, an interior design, decorating and home staging business. She holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education with a comprehensive major in office administration.

Photo Credits

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