We’re a couple weeks away from the one year anniversary of the completion of our backyard- and yes it totally deserves “anniversary” recognition because it was no easy feat in the dead heat of the Utah summer! Still to this date, my all-time favorite DIY is our outdoor concrete sofa. I love it just as much today as the day we completed it. Over the weekend I did make a small update to the outdoor seating area and thought it was worth noting for those of you who have tried the DIY or asked questions about it this past year. Click through to see the before, after, and my reasoning for painting the permanent backyard sofa.
Here’s what the sofa looked like before I painted the piece. It weathered the winter really well (read more about that here), and aged exactly as I expected it to. It had also developed a nice “patina” and was starting to fade into a beautiful gray hue. So why exactly did I choose to paint it? Aside from the fact that I love a good experiment and will try anything for the sake of DIY blog content, I wanted to brighten it up in an effort to make the fence feel more cohesive with the rest of the backyard.
The nice thing about a vinyl fence is that it requires zero maintenance- that’s exactly why we opted for this type of privacy fence (see that installation DIY here). I like how clean and crisp it makes our backyard look, but given it always looks bright white- as other elements in the yard age, they can look dingy in comparison. The concrete sectional is one of my favorite features in the backyard and that baby deserves to be the star! However, every time I look out the kitchen window, my eye always travels to the fence and greenery first. I think it’s the stark contrast that demands attention. By painting the sofa a brighter white to match the fence, it feels more balanced and captures my eye in the way I had hoped.
If you’re wondering what type of product I used to paint the concrete, it’s very specific to the material. After all, it has to withstand outdoor weather and bond to cement. The pros at Sherwin-Williams recommended H&C COLORTOP. It’s a water-based stain that provides a long-lasting, durable finish to interior or exterior concrete, masonry, or asphalt surfaces. You pick a swatch just like a regular paint, even though it’s considered a stain.
I opted for Snowbound SW 7004 – which is actually the same color our master bedroom is painted. It matched our fence really well and is a nice, neutral bright white (and an easy go-to).
The thing I like about this product is it also adds longevity and durability to outdoor structures. It colors, fills, and extends the life of stone by sealing it. You can also use it on previously painted concrete surfaces with proper preparation.
See those tiny little lines in the concrete above? That naturally happens over time. This stuff filled them in with perfection, smoothing the surface while preserving the integrity of the stone. I also like that it keeps concrete looking like concrete. I actually like the look of cement, stucco, and concrete textures- especially in an outdoor setting, and I didn’t want to hide the fact that it’s constructed of that material.
I applied the product with a brush, which is recommended… although you can use other methods as well. Being my first time painting concrete, I wanted to follow the instructions exactly to make sure everything holds up as it should. You can tell where I’ve painted in the images above and below- the different is obvious. The product really covers nicely and fills in every single hairline.
I won’t bore you with more process photos, so let’s jump right to the “after” image. It’s really a huge difference how much brighter and better the concrete sofa looked after completion. Here it is drying…
It already looks so much cleaner and is rivaling the fence color. I’m into the monochromatic dimension and separation it adds to the back corner of our yard. The white sofa kind of has a Santorini vibe to it, don’t you think?
I waited 24 hours, just to be safe, but once everything was totally dry, I brought the cushions out of storage. They look exactly like they did the day we winterized the patio and packed everything away last fall. I was honestly a little worried the outdoor furniture covers or shed would leak, but everything weathered the elements with ease.
In regards to other items that survived the winter, the pergola is still in perfect shape and we leave the string lights up year-round. They still work beautifully and are rich black in color. I wondered if they would fade, but splurging for the industrial set that is made to be left out all year was certainly a good choice! You can find all the backyard sources in this post, including the lights.
Do you spy the succulent arrangements on the coffee table? Click here for that DIY! They’re doing really well and have already doubled in size. I love planting them each spring.
I still need to spray off the paver patio and clean some of our other outdoor items, then I’ll shoot the entire space for you guys. I got things set up a bit later than I had hoped this year, but given we were transforming the adjacent carport (which I’m now calling the veranda, ha!), I was pressed for time.
I’d love to hear if anyone has tried this DIY! I still get a ton of questions about it and I’m not joking when I say it is my favorite project to date! I love the way it turned out and I absolutely enjoy lounging out here. I’m pretty pumped to have a few amazing outdoor spaces to hang out in, as well as entertain. Leave me a comment if you have questions!
SallyJune 5, 2018 at 4:00 am
I was totally thinking Greek island/S Italy before you mentioned Santorini! The whole seating area looks fantastic – a real testament to hard work and creativity. Wine and book/friends are all it now needs!
SarahJune 5, 2018 at 8:05 am
Thanks so much, Sally! I love that it has that vibe. I’m excited to chill outside with a book and friends soon- you’re exactly right! xo
KimJune 5, 2018 at 5:57 am
Wow! I liked the concrete sofa before but I really LOVE it now that it’s white! Great job.
SarahJune 5, 2018 at 8:07 am
Yay!! Thank you, Kim! I also prefer it painted… I was nervous to change it, but I think it was for the better. xox
Kat WachterJune 5, 2018 at 7:50 am
I am OBSESSED with your concrete/stucco couch. I’m planning to install a pea gravel patio in our neglected back yard, and was trying to figure out a built-in planter/seating situation that would withstand the elements in Tampa, Florida (sun as hot as Utah, but SO HUMID and so much rain, especially in the summer!), and I think this is the perfect solution. I even sent a link to my husband to get him on board! I’m excited to hear that it has weathered well, and I love the idea of painting it. Because of the humidity in Tampa, I have to bleach our concrete patio and siding a few times a year to keep the mildew off – and the concrete sofa would allow for that, too! I gotta say, this is a brilliant idea and you executed it beautifully. Well done!
SarahJune 5, 2018 at 8:09 am
Thanks so much, Kat! I think this would be perfect for the Florida humidity. If it can withstand our snowy winters and crazy desert HOT summers, I think you’ll be good. The paint should create a water barrier and keep moisture out. The concrete might even be easier to install in FL… we had to keep spraying ours with the hose because it was so dry during the installation process. You’ll have to let me know how it goes! xox
Colleen WisniewskiJune 5, 2018 at 6:27 pm
I also liked it before, but LOVE IT NOW. Holy cow, I don’t think I could spend my summer anywhere else if I lived at your home! So gorgeous and so Santorini. Wishing I could install something like this here in Philly, but maybe in a future home.
XOXOXO thanks for the inspiration, as always.
SarahJune 6, 2018 at 9:13 am
Thank you so much, Colleen! I love the way it turned out and am definitely excited to spend more time out here. xox
SheriMay 16, 2019 at 3:46 pm
I love it too. Can you tell me who installed your patio shade?
SarahMay 16, 2019 at 4:11 pm
Thank you Sheri! We installed everything in the backyard ourselves. The pergola came as a kit, then we stapled the outdoor shade fabric to the top. You can see more (and get the links) in this post: https://roomfortuesday.com/our-backyard-reveal/
JennyMarch 4, 2019 at 1:58 pm
Can you tell me where you ordered your cushions from? I’m going to try this project soon, but i’m having a hard time finding cushions that look similar to yours.
SarahMarch 6, 2019 at 3:26 pm
Absolutely! You can find them here (and they’re on sale right now): http://bit.ly/2EDpvRZ
GeorgiaMarch 18, 2019 at 1:24 pm
I am in LOVE with this couch DIY, and my boyfriend and I are going to give this a try once our Midwest weather warms up! We’ll be building it right outside our patio door though, and I’m worried about how it will look during the winter when we want to remove the cushions and the boards are showing. If we don’t want the storage space underneath, is there a way to modify it so it’s just a concrete seat instead? Thank you! I am in love with your whole blog!
SarahMarch 18, 2019 at 4:02 pm
Thanks Georgia! Emmett and I are both from the Midwest- so we know allll about that weather. You’ll have to let me know how it turns out! You could definitely modify it to not include the storage section- just stack the cinder blocks from front to back filling in the negative space :)
Don williamsOctober 29, 2019 at 11:31 am
Can you tell me where you got this pergola from
Jill StClairJanuary 13, 2020 at 12:11 am
This whole backyard space is so serene. I would never have guessed it was a DIY.
I’m wondering how the outdoor sofa is holding up after it was painted?
I’m especially curious as we have a very long perimeter wall that I would love to try this process on. The wall is CMU that has quik crete over it in a natural grey color. I don’t mind the color so much , but the texture and swirls in the texture are not my favorite. I’d love to try the same combo to try to get more of a smooth plaster vibe. But it will be a huge time and material commitment as the wall runs the whole perimeter of our lot line and is over 6′ tall. So I was wondering if the H&C concrete stain has held up over the past few months?
SarahJanuary 13, 2020 at 10:00 am
Hi Jill, we actually moved out of this home a year ago, so I can’t say how’s it’s doing today, BUT- when we moved out, the concrete stain still looked amazing and was weathering nicely. Hope this helps! xo
BrettJune 1, 2020 at 12:39 pm
Hi. Just wondering how you allowed for drainage/ prevented water from building up in the centre of the sofa?
I’m trying to do a similar project and am looking for ways to make it water proof
ShanilaJune 3, 2020 at 11:01 pm
I came across your blog last year na d was so inspired and shared with my husband that he actually built one too. We had to improvise a few things such as tile instead of stucco and used pool coping for edging and the bench seat is horizontal wood strips (like in a bench). But all in all it turned out great! I just got done styling it and adding cushions etc this week. I have one question though how do you address bugs crawling in the cushions lol. Do you store your cushions every night or leave them on the sofa. My kids jump as soon as they see a bug/spider on the sofa. I have started to shake them everyday before using but wondering if there is any better solutions?
SarahJune 4, 2020 at 9:31 am
Love hearing that Shanila! Thank you. I’m also happy to hear you were able to put your own spin on it… that’s exactly what DIY is all about :) Amazing work! To answer your question, I didn’t have an issue with bugs (I live in Utah and we have our home sprayed), but we typically stored or covered the cushions when not in use. We’ve since moved to a new home and I terribly miss that outdoor sofa! Maybe try spraying the perimeter of the sofa for bugs? Or store the cushions when not in use… that’s my best advice!
GinaJuly 24, 2020 at 6:30 pm
Where did you wind up getting the cushions too for it? Were they custom sizes?
SarahJuly 27, 2020 at 11:07 am
They were not custom, Gina… from Target, actually! You can find them here: https://rstyle.me/cz-n/dg23vzb57bf
Kimberly CoffeyNovember 6, 2020 at 9:23 pm
Hi Sarah, love your couch, if you do not mind, can you tell me the length from the back of the couch to where your knee would go. I am making one now, but think it is too narrow. Thanks so much!