Published on April 30, 2019

We are in the middle of a concrete moment. Concrete kitchens and bathrooms alike are trending, each finding their moment in the spotlight as a design-forward way to make a statement. To a smaller—and more affordable—degree, concrete lighting is saturating the marketplace. Given that we’re seeing a resurgence of other natural materials, like rattan from the ’70s revival and terra-cotta from the southwestern trend, our fascination with concrete isn’t surprising. But why only employ this cool material in its most basic gray form? Colorful concrete feels like the perfect way to blend a timeless item with a contemporary look, and there’s no better way to try your hand at this design than by painting your concrete patio.

Between bold colors and subdued hues, there are plenty of ways to personalize your patio. You can even go the extra mile and try your hand at a funky pattern—blogger Dabito DIY’ed a Moroccan tile-inspired patio, and the result is stunning. While his take on the trend may feel a little daunting for some people, his experience overhauling the space certainly makes him an expert on the matter. So, in time for patio season, we tapped Dabito to get his tips on all things concrete paint–related.

Do…

… Use the right kind of paint

“Get top-quality paint, always,” cautions Dabito. Being that your patio is generally unshielded from the elements, a high-quality covering is necessary—there’s nothing more heartbreaking than pouring time, effort, and money into a passion project only to have it chip away or be ruined in a matter of months. Opt specifically for exterior paints and primers; most major paint brands, like Behr, Sherwin-Williams, and Kilz, have these varieties in spades. “There is elastomeric paint, which is really durable, and also exterior acrylic paint,” he explains.

… Choose a vibrant color

If you’re painting your concrete patio, chances are it’s because you’re looking for something a little punchier. It turns out that maximalist tendencies are perfectly suited to a painted patio; per Dabito, white is the worst color to use on a cement terrace. “I think when you paint anything white outdoors, it’s not a forgiving color. This is why I wanted to paint a pattern,” he says. His go-tos for an outdoor refresh? Blues and greens, which will be instantly eye-catching in an outside space.

… Wait before decorating

Once you’ve gone through all the steps (power-washing, priming, painting, and sealing), it’s important to let your newly vibrant patio breathe a bit before going ham on the decor. “I recommend people wait about a week or more before moving any furniture on it. Let the paint dry and cure,” says Dabito, adding that it’ll take longer if it’s humid. “The longer you wait, the more durable the paint will be so it’s not prone to peeling and scratches.”

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Photography by Marisa Vitale

Don’t…

… Expect this to be a one-day DIY

Of course, Dabito’s patio-painting process was a little more involved than the average project; there were stencils involved. But even for those planning a simple coat of paint, the blogger warns that you’ll need time. He first power-washed the entire concrete slab, letting it dry completely before priming it to fill in cracks and smoothing out the surface. After letting that dry for a day, he then painted the patio a base coat before painting the top design and adding paver sealer—all this to say, set aside a solid weekend to upgrade your terrace.

… Forget the last step

Speaking of sealer, it’s the most important part of the whole project. “A big mistake people make is not properly sealing the freshly painted concrete,” says Dabito, who recommends doing research to find the best paver sealer for your space. Ask an expert at your local hardware store to direct you to the best option.

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For a sunny look

Bring some sunshine to your home, even if you don’t live in a particularly temperate state. This bright yellow would be perfect for trying your hand at a pattern similar to Dabito’s tile-inspired print.

For an earthy vibe

Terra-cotta is one of the biggest color trends of the year, so, given its earthy roots, it feels only natural to use it in an outdoor space. Paired with concrete, it’ll lend a Mediterranean, rustic element to your backyard.

For a bold statement

Follow Dabito’s suggestion and opt for a rich slate blue. Paired with natural wicker—or even white—patio furniture, it makes for some great visual contrast.

For a bit of sweet subtlety

This barely there hue is ideal for those in search of a delicate wash of color for their patio or porch. It’ll look great in a smaller space too.

For a timeless style

A lighter powder blue-gray is classic and timeless—the perfect versatile hue. If you’re planning on selling your home in a few years, you won’t risk offending potential buyers with this color choice; if you’re staying put and upgrading your forever home, you’re less likely to tire of a universally appealing shade.

See more ideas for your outdoor space:
5 Ways to Turn Your Outdoor Space into a Moroccan Oasis

How to Style Your Outdoor Dining Area
Your No-Fail Guide to Designing an Outdoor Living Room

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