How to Paint a Leather Chair

3 Materials
3 Hours

If you have a leather chair that is good shape but doesn't match your colors, you can PAINT it! and completely update its look!

Let me introduce you to an amazing new paint product that helps you transform leather furniture!!! I used it to update a chair in a more modern gray palette that fits my new office design.
I found this burgundy chair on Craigslist for $50 bucks!!  And it is so beautiful……but it just did NOT match my new office design plans at all!!!!

I loved the style and the size though. It is missing one tuft and a few nailhead buttons. But that didn't matter since it is going behind my desk.

First thing you want to do with leather before you paint it, is strip the oils. I used straight rubbing alcohol. I coated a wash cloth and gave it two good wash downs and let it dry.
Then I started painting with Heirloom Traditions Finish All Paint in "Weather Vane" a nice warm neutral, but modern gray. It's an all-in-one paint -- no priming, no sealing, no waxing ... and it paints on EVERYTHING - leather, vinyl, wood and fabric! It comes in 8 colors and you can find the paint links in my entire blog post here.

This paint works on most fabrics, except high-mat fabric like velvet.

Make sure you get your "tooth coat" in all the cracks and crevices, making sure to spread out the leather folds around the buttons and stippling the paint in there.
I painted right over the nailhead buttons, stippling over them, because later I am going to paint those silver. It's so much easier than taping over the nailheads. When I do that part (eventually), I'll use my finger tip to paint the nailheads. You can make them look metal again with metallic paints.
Let it dry and then paint a second coat. (On fabric it dries very fast, sometimes only 1 coat is needed. ) The Finish All Paint self-levels so well that you don't need to use an expensive brush!
Is this gorgeous!? The gray is so modern. And honestly, brand new leather chairs are expensive. This one looks BRAND NEW now!

The before and after comparison blows my mind.  I use Finish All on fabric chairs weekly when I paint my signature mermaids and fancy lady chairs.

But I am even more fond of it for leather!  I want to go out and save all the outdated leather chairs and paint them!!!  Bring me all the old leather chairs!!!!

If you want to get more painting tips and furniture makeovers, follow my Tracey's Fancy blog here.

You can also find me on Facebook: @TraceysFancy and share your leather chair makeovers with me! You'll also be able to catch me Live sharing other projects. I'd love to hear from you!!!

If you'd like to see a video of me painting this gray leather chair, click on the blog link below!

Thank you, fancies!

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Tracey Bellion

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

16 questions
  • Lesley
    on Jan 12, 2018

    Could you put some polish on it later?
  • Koc6750759
    on Mar 24, 2018

    How durable is this paint against the constant friction from continual sitting, movement, etc.? Can one expect that, in time, it will chip off or wear off?

  • Christina aka Queenopearls
    Christina aka Queenopearls
    on Mar 24, 2018

    Positively gorgeous! I admit I would be a bit anxious about it flaking off. How long ago did you paint it and how is it holding up?

    Thank you for the great inspiration.

  • Donnaottone
    on Mar 24, 2018

    Definitely inspired. Were any of the ‘does it peel with use’ questions answered?

  • Mary Rupniewski DeVole
    Mary Rupniewski DeVole
    on Mar 24, 2018

    Wear after a year?

  • Mary Rupniewski DeVole
    Mary Rupniewski DeVole
    on Mar 24, 2018

    Wear after a year?

  • Ann
    on Mar 24, 2018

    I’m wondering how it would work on an old leather sofa that is really showing it’s age. Cracked and peeling leather and apparently now I realize some of it is faux leather. Anyone have any experience?

  • Jean Pitzer
    Jean Pitzer
    on Mar 24, 2018

    does the paint work on leather car seats?

  • Amy
    on Mar 24, 2018

    I have a leather chair that has small puncture holes from my cats’ claws. Do you think painting would help cover them?

  • Mar11007149
    on Mar 24, 2018

    Would the paint cover plather? The armrests are so scratched, I mean peeling.

  • Wandamurline
    on Mar 25, 2018

    I have a leather expensive one...and after about 8 months the top of the leather on the arm started to delaminate....guy who sold it to us went out of business and factory would not stand behind it. If I found a match to the color of my sofa, do you think I could just paint the spot to match the rest of the sofa?

  • Ney86
    on Mar 25, 2018

    Needing to know How to repair a leather sofa arm ? A piece in a complete circle has come off (top layer) then a piece is flopping around, ,,,,

  • Mary Hofstra
    Mary Hofstra
    on Jun 8, 2018

    My question is similar to others about leather couch that is peeling and cracked. I'm not sure if it's 100% leather but I bought it used about 16 years ago and the seat cushions look terrible. The middle one especially! We can't afford a new sofa and this one still functions ok. If I could paint it to at least make the burgundy leather look better, that would hold us off getting a new one! (to us as we'd probably find another one on Craigslist again!)

    • Jewellmartin
      on Sep 11, 2018

      I was in a local hardware store today. They had at least ten different leather repair kits, most about $10-13. I think if you have a large area to repair, a kit might be the best. You have to build the fabric back up, then make it look like leather. Best wishes ☺️

  • Leslie Lamproe
    Leslie Lamproe
    on Jan 20, 2019

    I was just given a leather arm chair, it has a large body oil stain on the back. Will this paint cover this.

  • Amy
    on Aug 25, 2019

    I am curious how long to let the chair "cure", before being able to comfortably sit in it and use it?

  • Kimberly
    on Dec 7, 2019

    How has this paint job held up after a year and a half?

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