Want to Use Indoor Furniture Outside? Here Are 5 DIY Weatherproofing Tricks to Try

published May 29, 2022
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Have you ever come across a piece of furniture you thought was perfect for your patio or balcony, but it wasn’t quite outside friendly? It happens, and it’s especially frustrating considering that patio furniture can be pretty limited in terms of choice or availability, making it tricky to find something that fits your vision for an outdoor oasis that is also safe to use or leave outside. If this is you, then there are some simple workarounds here. While you can’t make all furniture weatherproof — sorry! — there are some tricks to help make certain pieces more outside-ready. Start with these simple DIY weatherproofing tips below.

Add an outdoor sealant to wood.

Do you have a wooden table that would make the perfect patio dining table, or a wooden bench that would look lovely underneath your backyard tree? Turn it into an outdoor piece with the help of sealant.

“While ideally you would choose furniture made of naturally water-resistant materials like cedar, teak, or cypress woods, any wood furniture can be treated with an outdoor sealant,” says Morgan McBride, founder of DIY home improvement website CharlestonCrafted.com. “Pretty much every sealant brand makes outdoor sealants. Look for something clear, and be sure to note if the sealant is glossy or matte, which can really change the final look of your wooden furniture.” This way, you don’t have to worry that a light drizzle will warp your wood.

Don’t sleep on waterproofing sprays for washable fabrics.

Whether you want to give outdoor cushions an extra boost in protection or wish to weatherproof a certain pillow, waterproofing sprays are at your service. “Outdoor cushions are usually made of water-resistant materials, but adding a coat of an outdoor weather shield, like Scotchgard, is a great way to give it further protection. This will help prolong the fabric’s life and foam,” McBride says.

Just make sure only to use it on washable fabrics — you won’t get the same results with leather, for example. Look at the tag of your pillow or cushion. If it’s X-coded, it means it can’t be cleaned with solvents or water. That means you can’t coat it with a weather shield, either.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Swap in more waterproof fabrics when possible.

Did you find a great couch, some unique seats, or a perfectly sized pillow, but the cushions aren’t waterproof? (Been there.) Keep the frame and the foam, but swap the cloth for waterproof fabrics. “During my travels to India and Southeast Asia, I was entranced by the fabric-making traditions of the local artisans. I decided to take those traditions outside with a Sunbrella partnership. This performance fabric is resistant to mold, mildew, staining, and fading, making it suitable for outdoor use,” said textile designer John Robshaw. You can make the furniture much more waterproof if you use performance fabric that could take a bit of a beating. Just reupholster your pieces with it.

Add tape to your rugs.

This tip isn’t so much about waterproofing, but it will help your outdoor rug look nicer for longer. If you feel like your outdoor rugs get warped after a while, velcro can help remedy that issue.

“Outdoor rugs tend to get blown around in the wind, which can lead to them getting creased or warped. You can add strips of peel and stick velcro to the underside of the rug to hold it in place,” says McBride. “The velcro is removable in the future if you stop using the rug. If your outdoor rug gets dirty, the easiest way to clean it is with a pressure washer!” (Still shopping for an outdoor rug? These are on sale this weekend.)

Use heavy-duty weatherproof covers to protect furniture.

And finally, one of the best ways to waterproof non-waterproof furniture is to cover it with a tarp or furniture cover when you know a storm is coming. “It isn’t pretty, and might not be practical for everyday use, but putting on covers before big rainstorms or during long periods of time when the furniture won’t be needed is the best way to keep it in great shape,” advises McBride.