Is Dyeing Chair Fabric with Upholstery Dye a Viable Option?

Candice Cleaver
by Candice Cleaver


I have a beloved chair with fabric that's marked and looking worn out. I'm considering using upholstery dye to bring it back to life. Has anyone here tried dyeing chair fabric before?

I'd love to hear about your experiences and any advice you have on the process. Also, if you could recommend any trustworthy upholstery dye brands, that would be fantastic.

Looking forward to your insights!

  14 answers
  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Aug 28, 2023

    I would advise painting with a fabric paint unless you can take the cover off. Trying to dye it in place, it won't be consistent. You will get more of a tye-dye effect.

  • I agree with Kathy. Have you tried cleaning it? A good upholstery cleaner may give you good results.

  • William William on Aug 28, 2023

    I also agree. The color would not be consistent The fabric and padding would absorb dye unevenly. Best solution is the clean it. Another option is to reupholster the chair.

  • Janice Janice on Aug 28, 2023

    I agree with the other posters. Fabric dye will be very watery and will soak into the padding and likely the soiled stained area will not dye in a similar color to the rest of the fabric. There are several totorials here on Hometalk providing info about painting upholstered pieces. Just enter "Painting Upholstery" in the seaarch box at the top left coner of the homepage to get tips and tricks about a good outcome.

  • Annie Annie on Aug 29, 2023

    This video might be able to help you out:

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Sep 01, 2023

    Clean or upholster are your 2 best options, the dye will be uneven if you do it on the chair itself. Another option would be to paint the chair's fabric.

    Look into the link below for advice on how to do this:

  • Ideally start with giving the fabric a terrific and thorough cleaning. If it's too complicated to do at home, check for someone in your area. You might be able to steam clean it but spot test first in case you're unsure of the fabric make-up.

    I've heard mixed results about painting upholstered furniture in general so be sure to do some tests there too should you go that route.

  • Deb K Deb K on Sep 02, 2023

    Hi Candice, hope this helps you out. You can try chalk painting your chair to give it a new look!

  • Dee Dee on Sep 02, 2023

    acrylic latex paint is what I would do. A neighbor did this and it came out great.

    While the fabric is still damp, apply the first coat of paint. One of the keys to keeping the fabric soft is to use diluted paint, and paint multiple coats. She diluted the Sherwin Williams acrylic latex paint in the following ratio: 3 cups of paint to 2 cups of water.. She did a second chair with Behr paint it was good but not as nice as the first one

  • Betsy Betsy on Sep 05, 2023

    Hello Candice: If you are in love with the fabric, I'd try giving it a good cleaning. Here's a site that shows exactly how to do that:

    Good luck

  • The fabric and padding would absorb the dye in an uneven manner, resulting in inconsistent hue. The clean it is the best answer. Reupholstering the chair is another choice. Unless you have access to removing the cover, you might also paint the fabric. It won't stay consistent no matter how you try to color it. There will be a stronger tie-dye effect.

  • Emingcas Emingcas on Nov 06, 2023

    Dyeing upholstery is definitely a viable option to rejuvenate a cherished piece of furniture! It can be a rewarding DIY project, but it does require some preparation and patience. Be sure to choose a dye that's formulated for the specific type of fabric your chair is upholstered with. Testing a small, hidden area first is always wise to ensure the color sets as expected. While not directly related to dye, if you find yourself looking for more extensive refurbishing or even a new piece to match your revamped chair, you might find what you're looking for at They’re known for quality and might give you some great ideas. Good luck with your project!

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Nov 06, 2023

    Check out Painting Upholstered furniture in Projects etc.