Painted Upholstered Chair

4 Materials
$20
3 Days
Easy

I took this chair from brown and stained to gray and trendy in a weekend!

Oh, me? I make crap. It's what I do. @ perfectlydestressed - please won't you be my neighbor?
A painted chair? It really is as easy as it sounds!
Here is the original fabric color. Really nothing wrong with the chair, my client just wanted a different color scheme for her room. No need to go buy a new chair!
The very first step (after making sure the goldfish cracker crumbs are vacuumed up and the milk stains are cleaned - Mom Life - Amiright?!) is to put water in a spray bottle and spray, spray, spray away. Get the fabric really wet. This will help your watered down paint to truly soak into the fabric.
I researched and researched and researched some more. I read a lot of articles suggesting the additive of vegetable glycerin.
DO NOT DO IT!
Seriously, if you are about to mix this in your paint, put down the brush and immediately abort mission!
It's an unnecessary cost and leaves the fabric "wet". That's the only way I can describe it. To me, it felt like it prevented the fabric from drying.
Luckily, I used this concoction on a sample piece of fabric and not the chair.
Phew. Crisis averted (and you're welcome!)

I made my own gray using a mix of these 2. I mixed a large batch of it to ensure I wouldn't run out and have to try and color match what I had already made and used.
Water and paint. That's all it takes. I didn't use a ratio. Honestly, I just added water and mixed. The most important thing here is that the paint is liquid enough to soak into the fabric. You don't, I repeat, DON'T want it to sit on the fabric. This will cause cracking. And we all know Crack is Whack.
Seriously.
This is it.
This is all you do.
Take a cheapity cheap cheap paint brush and paint the chair as if you were Picasso painting a masterpiece.
This is m.e.s.s.y. Be prepared. And cover up everything. The paint splashes alllll over. I learned this the hard way.
Positive note: my sunroom is now sparkling clean due to the wiping and scrubbing of every space within a 3 yard radius of the painted furniture workspace.
Waiting in between drying is the hardest part. I chose to err on the side of caution and wait 24 hours between each coat. Remember, it's wet. All the way through wet after spraying with H2O and painting.
Making sure it's dry all the way through is so important.
Here we are between coats 2 and 3. I have read a lot saying it only takes 2 coats. Honestly, I think it all depends on the color.
And your painting skills.
Mine are obviously lacking in "even-ness".
Here she is.
Drying her little heart out after a good waxing. Yes, you need to seal your furniture with wax after the chalk paint has completely dried. The same way you seal your other chalk painted projects. Nothing fancy. Annie Sloan, Rust-Oleum, Min-Wax, whatever wax you got.
It definitely has a leathery feel now. I have heard some people describe it as an outdoor fabric feeling. It's still comfortable, but different than the original feel.
And, just in case you were wondering, the answer is no. No, you do not get paint on you while sitting on it (assuming you are attempting to sit on it after it's completely dry, sealed and finished.) If you sit on it while wet, well, I can't help you there.

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Perfectly DeStressed

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

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 64 questions
  • PamPam
    on Jun 29, 2020

    I see you said to rub the wax on in a circular motion. Does it then need to dry and be rubbed off? I'm confused.


  • Marion
    on Jun 29, 2020

    how can this be done if the cushion is not removable?

  • Kamille Huggins
    on Jul 1, 2020

    I did a similar project with office chairs, but went a bit further to paint the black plastic frame to look like wood. Just like Perfectly Distressed described, the fabric feels a bit different, but is not too stiff and the paint does not come off on your clothing. However, when I added the wax a few weeks later (delayed shipping etc) it left a white residue that doesn't wipe off. Any suggestions?

Join the conversation

2 of 69 comments
  • Mark Cox-Gomez
    on Jun 28, 2020

    I heard you need to sand it between coats. So you think this might have made it feel more like it used to?

  • Kara
    on Jun 28, 2020

    Love it! I saw a painted piece on a home improvement show once and wondered if the finished product could be that nice - or if it just came out that way because it was done by a professional designer. You made it look doable. Thanks!

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