Categorized | Crafty Stuff

My Thrift Store Find- Painted Chair Upholstery Before/After

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Since learning that it is possible to paint the upholstery I’ve had it in my head that I was going to find a chair and do it. There are different ways to paint fabric including actual fabric spray paint or Tulip fabric paint. I chose to use a latex paint/water/fabric medium mixture seen on Hyphenated Interiors and various other blogs.  I scored a chair for $10 at Goodwill that was perfectly suited to be painted.  In photos it doesn’t look too bad, even the color isn’t hideous, but I needed to match the pillows in my living room.  There were some marks on the seat that only paint would have covered so I promise I didn’t ruin a good chair!
Painted Upholstery Chair Before/After

I knew, because I’m lazy and hate doing a ton of coats, that I would need to pick a chair that was light in color. In total I did 2 full coats and went back to cover a few missed spots I noticed after the second coat dried. It took longer than I expected and was more effort too. Luckily I chose a chair with less fabric to paint.

painted chair before paintpaintedchairbeofre2

After one coat it was still pretty soft once I sanded the paint, but the coverage wasn’t there yet.


The material is a velour and, after painting, feels and looks more like a microsuede. The sheen the original fabric had was lost during painting which adds to that microsuede look. It isn’t nearly as soft as the original fabric but I wouldn’t describe it as rough or crunchy either.  Also, to take care of the scratches I rubbed a walnut over them, then washed the whole chair with Murphy’s Oil Soap, which made the wood look almost new.

I painted in all of the nooks and crannies but one and this should give you an idea of the texture difference.

My intention for this chair was to fill a corner in my front living room, a spot that wouldn’t often see an actual visitor. I figured that, if nothing else, the chair would look nice there. To tie the chair in more with my “mid century modern” decor I picked up an “as-is” lamp that I’ve been eying from Ikea for half off! I went there thinking of buying it full price, I just got lucky that day!

Painted fabric chair

The total cost of the chair after buying 2 bottles of fabric medium (1.99 each at Michaels) and a quart of latex paint ($13.00 Glidden brand from Home Depot) was $28.00.  The materials cost more than the chair itself!  Had I not been trying to match the look of my couch pillows and had used paint already laying around the cost would have only been $14.00.

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Kim Rosas began Dirty Diaper Laundry in 2009 out of a desire to help more parents understand modern cloth diapers. She lives in Florida with her husband of 5 years and her two boys. Even though none of her boys wear diapers anymore she is still just as committed to promoting them. In her spare time Kim enjoys video editing, photography, and coffee.
  • Wendy Armbruster Bell

    I had no idea you could do this. And the chair looks wicked!

  • Kristy Swain

    Great job. Thanks for linking to my tutorial (Hyphen Interiors). I’ll add your chair to my chairs page and link to you! :)

  • Elizabeth Bruno

    This looks great, and you used my favorite color too! Once we are in a place to decorate again I fully intend on doing some up cycling. Your remodel gives me hope that we can do more work on our next home that is sure to be a fixer-upper. By the way, did anyone else think the picture of the unpainted nook and cranny looks a little, er, lady-like if you know what I’m saying?

    • kimrosas

      Oh my Elizabeth! Yes…. I told my husband about my little nook and how I made sure to paint all of the crevices to avoid a bunch of vaginas showing up when the chair was sat in. It could be called the vagina chair if I didn’t. Glad I’m not the only one who went there :)

  • Katie S

    I alos had no idea you could paint fabric like that! And you rubbed an actual walnut over the scratches?!

    • kimrosas

      Yep, a shelled walnut. The oils darken and the nut slightly fills the scratches. It won’t work for deep scratches or all woods but worth a shot.

  • Caroann

    I have a question I don’t see answered on any of the “chair painting” blogs. I want to use my two chairs out on the covered patio so I don’t mind if they’re a little stiff. Must I use the fabric medium??

    • kimrosas

      I don’t think so. I saw one person who used only latex and it gave the fabric a leathery/vinyl look and was shiny. They used it as an outdoor photo prop.

  • Melissa Velardi

    Very pretty!

  • Shallwe

    Love the end result! Have my white wingbacks thirsting for color! You’ve inspired this lady to go for it!

  • Elizabeth Cummings Johnson

    Good for you! I had some nasty carpet on stairs of a house I bought…I had to paint cause I couldn’t afford to recarpet right away. Super clever idea!