Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kids Outdoor Eating Area Reveal

Reveal is such a dramatic word... Today I want to give you a peek at the kid friendly outdoor eating area that I have been working on. Once the weather permits, the kids and I eat outside a lot. A lot. And we spend a great deal of time in the backyard in general. Warm weather is fleeting in Buffalo, so we really try to make the most of it.

Most of our outdoor furniture is of the hand me down variety:  a collection of [those ubiquitous] plastic chairs, in dingy white, two glass topped tables, one in brown metal, the other a dark green, and two metal chairs, also dark green, with tan and green cushions. Each piece is sturdy, it just not that appealing to look at.

Some of the furniture on a drop cloth in the driveway awaiting painting. I should have gotten a better "before."

I wanted to use what a had and not a lot of $$ to create a functional space for the kids. I wanted something that is attractive, durable, and easy to keep clean, with extra emphasis on easy to keep clean. Kids are messy, and I'm tired of being frustrated over dirty cushions. 

You might remember that I took a can of Krylon Fusion paint to a couple of chairs and a little metal table last year (here). I was pleased with the result, so I decided to attack the rest of the furniture this year. The Krylon wasn't on sale (like last time), so I went with what was - this Rustoleum Painter's Touch 2X Ultra Cover (Paint + Primer). And it turns out that I like it better than the Krylon Fusion. It has a nice glossy finish, and it does give really nice coverage (though I don't know if its exactly the 1 = 2 can coverage that is promised on the packaging). And another plus? The only prep needed is a quick wash with soapy water, and a bit of air drying.

I used "Seaside" and "Real Orange" on the chairs, and "White" on the table. 

The centerpiece is a mint plant potted in a plastic receptacle (intended to be a small waste can) from the dollar store. I punched holes in the bottom for drainage. The kids planted fast sprouting arugula seeds in the caps from the paint cans, which we'll soon transplant to the garden. And all four objects are gathered together on a thrifted metal tray, which allows for easy removal in the event we need more space. Everything on the table is edible and non-shatterable (a word?).

The bright colors go nicely with the kids' plastic Ikea dinnerware. Add some thrifted clothe napkins and mismatched silverware (the 18/10 stays in the house!), and it's a kid friendly place to eat!

When the meal is done, we just hose the table and chairs down.

Not only do the kids eat here, they also color, paint, use play-do, read books, and do puzzles. So again, spray paint for the win!

And a final note... I couldn't have done this project if my good sis Liz wasn't there to help with the kiddos. Thank you, Liz! Also, you may have noticed that not all of the furniture is accounted for. More to come!


  1. It looks soooooo good! Come do my house next! :)

  2. I love it! You're giving me ideas for my mismatched deck furniture, especially my ugly plastic chairs!

  3. Those orange chairs are also perfect for the hunter on a budget, looking to spruce up a ground blind or for deer camp

    1. Thanks for commenting, John! Yes, when I purchased that particular color, the lady at the checkout looked skeptical and asked me what I was planning on painting. I think only the town and possibly utility companies purchase that shade of orange : ) But it IS the same as hunters' vests, etc.

  4. Do you have tips for successful spray painting? How can something so easy be so hard for me? My work with aerosol paint ends up with gummy drips.

    1. Hi Jessica! I guess first off, I should give the disclaimer that my spray paint jobs are not perfect. By any means. Yet, even imperfect, the final product looks worlds better than the original. That being said, I do have a few tips.

      Practice makes perfect. Or at least better. Let each coat dry before moving on to the next. After a coat has dried you can lightly sand any big drips with fine sandpaper, then wipe away dust before continuing with a second coat. Also, the paint makes a huge difference. The hardware store brand was awful in coverage, even spraying, and basically every aspect when compared to the Krylon or the Rustoleum.

      Hope that helps!

  5. It looks great Mary. My favorite part us that you can hose down everything after mealtime. Perfect!

  6. gah...my whole long comment disappeared. but basically what i said was i looooooove it! esp. you smart uses for the centerpiece ;)

  7. Today I want to give you a peek at the kid friendly outdoor eating area that I ... okidschairs.blogspot.com


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