DIY: Painted Upholstery

The day that I waltzed into our home with these floral beauties and proclaimed that I was going to paint them is also the day my husband looked at me like I really had officially lost my mind. I found them on Craiglist near my parents home and asked if they would mind driving across town at 6:00pm on a Friday evening to meet a possible ax murderer for me because I had to have these chairs. They live in a larger city with a much better Craigslist. And, they clearly love me.chairs-3

I was enamored by the idea of painting upholstery after happening upon this vintage sofa. The idea of painting a sofa was intriguing, though I felt an accent chair like this one would be a safer bet.

So, what supplies will you need?

The cost is relatively low and because my sewing machine and I don’t always see eye to eye, painting is a game changer in comparison with reupholstering. The biggest decision I faced was what kind of paint to use!? Latex, chalk and acrylic were the top three consistently used paints that I found on most tutorials. I ultimately chose latex.

Supply List:

  • Paint
  • Fabric/Textile Medium
  • Paint Brush, Roller or Foam Brush
  • Spray Bottle (filled with water)
  • Mixing Cup
  • Drop cloth

Step 1 – Mix 1 part paint: 1 part fabric/textile medium: 2 parts water. The mixture will be very thin and runny. If painting indoors, consider layering a plastic drop cloth with a cloth drop (or old sheet) over top. It’s a messy process!

Step 2 – Start with a thoroughly cleaned upholstery piece and spritz with a light coat of water to dampen. This step will help spread your paint further.

Step 3 – Apply a thin coat of paint mixture and let dry thoroughly.

Continue to spritz and re-apply thin coats until you have reached your desired coverage, always allowing to dry thoroughly between each application. It took me 5 coats and a solid three day weekend. This was about half way through…



If these stayed in our home I would have added nailhead trim. Instead, I chalk painted the legs and listed them for sale on our local Facebook Yardsale group where they sold immediately. They are now in their new home serving as accent chairs in a study.


Would I do this again!?  YES!



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