Saturday, January 26, 2013

Painting Upholstered Chairs

A while back I finally jumped in on a project I had read about and wanted to try - painting some upholstered furniture.  I did the project and I'm very happy with how it turned out but I put off writing up a tutorial because - to put it bluntly - my photos aren't the best. Why? Reason #1: I don't have a lot of natural light in my condo.  My windows all face north and there's an overhang outside that cuts some of the direct light. Reason #2: I picked a time to do this project when the weather was just dreary and  awful, so I couldn't work outside.  Reason #3: the paint color I chose for my furniture is a light, subtle color and the steps I took don't show up very well in the photos.  

I finally gave up struggling with the photos and decided I'm just going to have to show the best pix I have and hope you believe me that it all turned out very well! 

I had two off-white chairs like this and, although they are probably over 15 years old, they are in great shape and very sturdy. They are not large chairs, which is perfect for my small condo.  Perfect, except that they were showing wear marks, scuffs and stains (some of which I'm afraid were brown wood stain splatters from my dining table refinishing).  Something had to be done ....

I first got the urge to try painting when I saw this post and all the additional samples in this section. I pretty much followed the instructions that Kristy used. Since I did this a few months ago and didn't write anything down (!), I would suggest that if you are interested you read her instructions since they are much more thorough than I'm going to be here. 

Materials I used:
Latex satin paint (for the life of me I can't find my paint chip to tell you the color!)
 Fabric medium (I used Delta textile medium; purchased at Joann Fabrics)
1 Spray bottle for water
1 paint brush

The paint color is a soft, light sage.  For the first coat, shown here, I mixed 1 part latex paint, 1 part  textile medium and then one-half part water, creating a very watered down mixture.  Then, spritzing water first, I brushed the paint thoroughly into the surface. This coat didn't take too long, although I got a little carried away with the water and it took an extra day for the first coat to dry.  As you can see it looked kind of splotchy after the first coat. 

The second coat was a 1:1 mixture without the additional water.  Looking much better.  The weather cleared up for a little while so I was able to take a photo outside.

The final coat, the same 1:1 mixture but with a tad more paint, went on very easily.  

I really hated to have to do all this inside, but it was the only choice I had. (What a mess!)  Once I had the first coat done on the first chair, I started on the second chair.  Here I have a fan set up to help with drying - they took a while to dry thoroughly.

It really wasn't a very difficult job, just messy for a few days in the house.  The actual painting didn't take too long; drying time took much longer of course.

The one question everyone asks: is the fabric stiff now? Yes, a little. But these chairs were not soft and cushy to begin with. I think you can tell the fabric is firm and the chairs solid.  People familiar with the before and after of these chairs don't see any difference - except of course that the chairs are much better looking now.

I think this photo below comes closest to showing the actual color, a soft sage green.  I'm very pleased with the result, and figure these chairs are good for another 15 years at least! 

Linking up to these parties:




  1. I went to the chair section and just marveled at all the transformations. I now want to look for a comfy ugly chair to transform. haha! Thank you for sharing with us on how well it turned out for you.

  2. I had seen Kristy's inspiration post a while ago and thought this might be a good solution for our couches. I really don't love them enough to invest the time and money into traditional reupholstering. Thanks for the reminder and it's encouraging to see someone else had success with this technique!

  3. This is so neat!! I am still amazed that one can paint furniture. Thank you for sharing. I am going to be brave and try it sometime. :0)


  4. I did this a few years ago before the came out with the fabric medium, and even with traditional spray paint... yeah I went there, they eventually get super soft and you can't tell at all!

    I'd love it if you would share this for F-it Fridays!!

  5. great job on the chair! I've been wanting to do this, but I haven't had a good specimen!


  6. Nice Post, I like it
    Wide variety of furniture is also available

  7. I am doing this right now and can't to see the end result! I just finished the first coat and letting it dry over night. I had one question though. Should I keep spraying water between coats or just on the first one?

    Thank you!

    1. No, Marcela, it's not necessary to spray water after the first coat. Good luck with your project. I would love to see it when you're finished!

  8. Thank you very much for your quick response Felicia! i will send you a picture when I'm done with my chair.


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