How To Paint Patio Cushions

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How to Paint Patio Cushions

Last week I debuted our awesome eclectic repurposed patio makeover (say that ten times fast!) and I promised to share a tutorial on how I painted those cushions! If you’re cool with my oh-so-casual summer hair, then carry on! I got all the deets for you here! Just to get you up to speed… I bought a couch from a local consignment store and theeeese were the cushions. I *almost* left them behind but then I remembered the power of paint! I’m SO glad I kept them because they fit the couch perfectly and now, thanks to a couple of days of watching paint dry, they are a vision in coordinated navy blue.

How to makeover patio cushions by painting them with regular ol’ latex paint.

If you can believe it… here’s how they look now!

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How to makeover patio cushions by painting them with regular ol’ latex paint.

I made a video to show you how it all went down and honestly, I think that’s the easiest way to see how I did it, but… I’ll try to write it out with some screen grabs at the end of the post for those of you at work or unable to see the video!

Step 1. Mixing the right paint

Mix one part water to one part fabric medium to one part paint.

How to makeover patio cushions by painting them with regular ol’ latex paint.

Step 2: Prepping the cushions

Spray cushions with water until they are fairly damp. Not puddles, but definitely saturated.

How to makeover patio cushions by painting them with regular ol’ latex paint.

Step 3: Painting the cushions

Brush paint onto cushion making sure it soaks in. Be careful of drips, but don’t be afraid to apply liberally. (I know that sounds contradictory… basically, slap on as much paint as you want and then go back over at the end to clean up any excess/ drips.)

How to makeover patio cushions by painting them with regular ol’ latex paint.

Step 4: Layer the paint

When paint is dry, repeat steps 2 and 3.

How to makeover patio cushions by painting them with regular ol’ latex paint.

Step 5 (Optional): Sanding between coats

If you feel that your paint is too rough on the cushions, go over with some fine sandpaper between coats. I didn’t do this for the patio cushions because they are already a little ‘stiff’ and I didn’t mind the texture of the painted cushions. Also, I’m lazy and that saved some time.

How to makeover patio cushions by painting them with regular ol’ latex paint.

That’s it! Can you BELIEVE how simple it is?? Even at Homegoods, patio cushions can cost $30 a piece! For a large 3-seat couch… that can get pricey FAST. I also love that this meant I could paint other cushions around the patio to coordinate the colors. Win-win.

How to makeover patio cushions by painting them with regular ol’ latex paint. How to makeover patio cushions by painting them with regular ol’ latex paint.

If you’re interested in how that copper garden stool was made (and to see it back when it was shiny and new), here’s my post about that here!


(affiliate links included for your convenience)

Fabric medium

• Latex paint (I used Behr latex in eggshell finish)

Squirt bottle

Mixing Cup

Sand paper (optional)

Paint brush


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  1. Have you used Chalk Paint on fabric? (somehow I think you have)…is the process different as in do you still need the fabric medium? They look great!

  2. That’s really interesting and seems so simple. I’ll be curious to see how the paint holds up, too. Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Wow- I didn’t realize you could paint fabric with latex paint. Where did you get the fabric medium? Great job, and directions, too!

    1. Hi Karen! I bought some at our local Michael’s store… just in the paint section. And then I ordered the rest on Amazon. So easy and pretty inexpensive… maybe $4.50 a bottle?

    1. Hi! Sorry for the late response! They look good as new aside from things like the tree leaves getting all over them. 🙂 I will say, they don’t drain as easily as they did before… so I try to take them in if I *know* it’s going to be a big storm. Otherwise, I just have to leave them out in the sun a little longer than normal!

  4. Do you know the color of paint you used? I love the color. My mother did this several years ago and hers still look great!!


    1. Hi Nora! I did this in the bright summer sun, so not long. The earlier coats took longer because the paint was soaking into fabric… by the end, it’s just layering onto more paint than fabric!

  6. hello, just had a question regarding the fabric holding up in the sun. did the paint crack or peel, or would this issue be completely eliminated by the fabric medium?

  7. Hi charlotte, you did a beautiful job on the Patio cUshions. I followed the steps and painted my patio cushions for my deep seating set which included 2 chairs with ottomAns and couch. I have some scotchguard heavy duty water repellant. Do you think i need this or any kind of weather sealant on tHe cushions or they should be fine Without it? I didnt want to use it and damage paint. Thank you


  8. I have been wanting to do this to my current patio cushions and this post and video are making me brave! I bought two 8 ounce bottles of fabric medium from michaels and have most of a gallon of paint left from painting a room. I was wondering, some of my cushions (the seat part that you sit on) have zippers so you can take them off. could you somehow use this method like you would dye fabric (i.e. in a bucket)? or would the paint not be flexible enough to withstand putting the cushions back in? thanks for any input you might have!

    1. Hi Marina! I don’t see why it wouldn’t work… the paint is VERY watery though so I’d imagine you’d have to dip the cushions repeatedly? I had some cushions that unzipped, and I wrapped them with garbage bags to protect the cushions inside and I think I decided that it was ultimately faster just to smack a coat of paint on the cushions with a brush and let them dry in the sun. Let me know what you choose! I’m curious!

  9. i have outdoor cushions that are faded. I used rust-o-leum to do the seat covers for the table’s chairs and it worked amazingly well. When I started to paint my love seat, the fabric was different and absorbed all the paint. Is there an undercoating that you can recommend that will prevent the paint from soaking-in?
    Thank you.

  10. First of all wow charlotte you answer every question. I go on some sites on utube and folks ask question and no one answers them. i am going to do this to my cushions I have 6 which are back and seat so hoping 1 qt will work I guess I will need 1 quart of medium as well. I had read that it is best to prime as well as use a wax to make them soft… well I will try to investigate all the options for the best results. once again thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge the time it takes of your busy schedule to answer questions. i am so new at diy just retired this week that i am excited to start learning
    thank you so much charlotte

  11. Love how these turned out! So, I’m thinking about painting my sofa (old and stained) a navy blue to better hide the stains for the playroom. I’m wondering if i should use chalk paint and wax (as i’ve seen others do for sofas) or try your method with the fabric medium. Any thoughts? I might just try one option on the back of the sofa (it will be up against a wall so hidden later) and see how it looks and feels. Fingers Crossed – but any advice is greatly appreciated!!

    1. Hi! Sorry for the slow response here… I think a lot will depend on what fabric your existing couch is. For the chalk paint method, sanding between coats is essential so that’s an extra step. My method requires a number of coats which may get old with a sofa. I would probably try both and decide which texture you prefer in the long run!

  12. Hi! I cant wait to try this!! Im covering a dark colored pad (with a few stains) with a light color. Would it work to do the first coat or two with a primer, using the same technique?

  13. I painted my very old outside cushions this year. I used exterior latex paint with a primer already in it. I also used a vegetable glycerin. The glycerin kept the fabric from getting really hard. It is like a fabric medium but cheaper. This worked really good! I can’t believe how easy this was and I have brand new looking cushions for my chairs and outside swing. Whatever way you go painting your cushions work!