3 Ways to Make Your Exterior Wood Look Great

The chances are that you have some exterior wood on or outside your home. This could be in the form of doors, window frames, decking or furniture.

There is a wide range of products available to help you make your exterior wood look great. Read on to find out 3 of the best ways to decorate the wooden structures, fittings and furniture outside your home.

1. Exterior wood painting

Painting is one of the most popular ways to decorate wood. If you want to paint your exterior wood, you can choose between vinyl resin, acrylic and all-acrylic paints. All-acrylic paints are usually the best at staying bright, breathable and flexible for longer, so go for these if you can. Good-quality paints can withstand extreme temperatures, heavy weather and UV rays without fading, cracking or peeling, so are well worth investing in.

Once you’ve picked the type of paint you want, you need to choose the kind of effect you want to achieve. If you want a bright, shiny paint, choose an exterior gloss paint. This kind of paint is highly durable and can keep your exterior wood looking good for up to 10 years. Or if you prefer a more matte effect, go for exterior eggshell paint. This is equally hard-wearing and long-lasting and can provide a great finish.

Just make sure that whatever paint you choose is specifically an exterior paint. Using interior paints on your exterior wood won’t be as effective and will need re-doing in no time.

2. Exterior wood staining

Staining your exterior wood is an easy way to make it look great. It can also help to protect it. There are 4 main types of stain, so you can choose the one that you think will look best on your exterior wood.

  • Clear
    If you want the grain and colour of your wood to shine through, this is probably the best stain for you. Clear stains protect wood without obscuring the grain and give it a slight, warm tint.
  • Semi-transparent
    If you want to keep the grain but change your exterior wood’s colour, go for a semi-transparent stain. You can choose a different colour while preserving its natural look.
  • Semi-solid
    Using this stain will change the colour of your wood and partially obscure its grain. This is a good choice if you don’t want the grain of your exterior wood to be too obvious but want to keep it visible.
  • Solid colour
    Solid colour stains look like flat paint. They change your exterior wood’s colour, obscure its grain but preserve its texture. This is a good choice if you want to completely customise your wood.

So it’s easy to pick a stain that suits your wood and style. Generally speaking, clear stains need recoating more frequently and coloured ones less so. Whatever stain you use, just make sure that you reapply it after the recommended interval. This will keep your exterior wood looking great.

3. Exterior wood varnishing

Varnishing is also a brilliant way to decorate your exterior wood. It’s available in transparent or coloured options, so you can pick a varnish that suits your home. Varnish is very hard wearing and one of the best treatments you can use to protect your wood. So if protection is your top priority, it’s a good idea to go for varnish.

As well as colours and transparency level, you can also pick your varnish finish. Both matte and high-gloss varnishes are available. As with paint and stain, make sure you pick a varnish that’s specifically designed for outside use, so your exterior wood stays looking good for longer.

So you’ve got plenty of choices when it comes to decorating your exterior wood. If you want to hire a professional to help with the work, click ‘Start my project’ and complete our online form. We’ll put you in touch with up to 4 local painters and decorators.


Approx. £7 - £35 per litre

Depending on product type and quality

Painting and decorating time

From 1 day - 1 week

Depending on area size and number of coats

Advantages and disadvantages
  • Decorating your exterior wood can improve its appearance
  • Treating your exterior wood with a product will make it last longer
  • You can use decorating products to coordinate your wood with the rest of your home