For a simple and affordable way to personalize your outdoor space, try painting your front door, mailbox, planters, or shed for a pop of color.

Exterior Versus Interior

Exterior paint is 100 percent acrylic latex, the most flexible of the binders used in paints. Wood, vinyl, and to some extent aluminum all expand and contract with heat and cold. Without a flexible binder, paint subjected to outdoor temperature swings would crack.

Additionally, exterior paint contains an additive to prevent the growth of mildew in areas that are not exposed to direct sunlight, has better adhesion, and is UV-resistant.

Preparing to Paint

If you are preparing an outdoor item such as an old shed, simply wash with water and bleach before painting to remove any mildew. Whether the item is new or old, apply a primer so your paint will adhere nicely to the surface.

Painting Tools

Outdoor objects are often textured; use a brush instead of a roller to get paint into all the nooks and crannies. A wide brush of 4 inches or more is helpful to cover lots of space quickly. Paint with the grain for an even coat. Use a drop cloth to protect your grass, and just like when painting indoors, use painter's tape around all hardware.


Cedar hideaway shed by Sheds USA and Martha Stewart Living exterior paints are available at The Home Depot.

Comments (1)

Martha Stewart Member
February 2, 2014
Interior Vs Exterior. Exterior you need better paint that can last for years. Interior make sure the toxicity is low and thankfully there is color matching now at every store so picking a color can be easily done.