Astral Riles

Painting Upholstered Furniture: An Easy DIY Update For A Shabby Vintage Sofa

Painting Upholstered Furniture: An Easy DIY Update For A Shabby Vintage Sofa

Painting - vintage sofa on astralriles.com Earlier this month, I went to Maryland to visit my bestie Nache, so we could take care of a few things related to our new business venture FindAFashionTruck.com. Yep, that's a shameless plug!!!! Now do me a solid and go check out the site! But not now though...you gotta finish reading this blog post first! :) Anyhoo, we had to meet up with another friend, LaKaye, who happened to ask me for a few suggestions for updating her home on a budget. There was one particular piece of furniture she owned that didn't go with her current decor, but she really wanted to keep it, if at all possible. The question was, "How can I make it work?" Reupholstering the sofa was not an option considering how expensive that can get. It was a cream vintage sofa that had clearly been through the ringer a few times. Other than doing a minor repair to the frame underneath the sofa, this was an easy fix. I suggested that she paint the upholstery on the sofa. She was stunned and in disbelief, as many people are, that painting the fabric on furniture is possible. I assured her that it's done all of the time and that it will definitely give her sofa a new look...Well, at least much better than it's current state. Even after I tried convincing LaKaye that this would be a great idea, she was still hesitant about it. In order to give her that extra nudge she needed, I offered to help her paint the sofa so that she would feel a bit more at ease. I pretty much gave her a step-by-step instructional on how to paint upholstery. And YES...I work even when I am out of town. DIY'ing is my life! lol (Oh btw, if you're curious about the painting process/method that I use, check out Kristy Swain's website, Hyphen Interiors for the complete paint tutorial. Kristy is actually the one who inspired me to start painting upholstery in the 1st place with all of her awesome projects.) Painting LaKaye's vintage sofa would be fairly inexpensive. I estimated $60 or less for this project. MATERIALS NEEDED - paint brushes - 1qt of latex paint - spray bottle - water - painter's tape (optional) - fine grit sanding sponge - fabric medium - drop cloth   Here are the BEFORE pics of the sofa: Cream vintage sofa on astralriles.com Side view - Cream vintage sofa on astralriles.com sofa closeup 3 - Cream vintage sofa on astralriles.com fabric closeup 2 - Cream vintage sofa on astralriles.com Corner view - Cream vintage sofa on astralriles.com fabric closeup - Cream vintage sofa on astralriles.com LaKaye was afraid to go bold with the color. I told her that I would surprise her and choose the color for her. She wasn't even home at the time that I started painting the sofa, so she had NO IDEA that it was going to be purple. I wanted to hurry and get the paint on the sofa before she could freak out and change her mind! LOL The color I chose was Behr Paint's "Plum Jam". We decided not to paint the wood. The dark wood stain was fine as-is...no need to mess with that. Besides, that would've taken waaaayyyyy more time!!!   Behr 690B-7  Plum Jam -vintage sofa on astralriles.com Behr - Plum Jam - vintage sofa on astralriles.com   Before I started painting, I filled the spray bottle up with plain water. I sprayed the entire upholstered area of the sofa and saturated it with water. WATER IS THE KEY!!!!! The water loosens up the fabric and allows the paint to soak through and absorb better.   PREP_Spraying fabric - Cream vintage sofa on astralriles.com   After the fabric was wet enough, then I began the painting process. Oh, in the "Materials Needed" section, I mentioned painters tape. I actually chose NOT to use painter's tape to tape off the edges where the fabric met the wood. My decision to not use tape was made solely because I was being LAZY, that's all. Taping is one of those painting prep steps that takes entirely to much time. And sometimes it ends up being pointless b/c paints still gets everywhere anyways. So, with that being said, I just had to go slower and take my time not to get purple paint on the wood. I did have a few accidents here and there, but I kept a damp towel handy so that I could cleanup any mistakes right away before the paint dried.   Prep 1 - painting - vintage sofa on astralriles.com Painting - vintage sofa on astralriles.com Painting 3 - vintage sofa on astralriles.com Painting 2 - vintage sofa on astralriles.com Painting 4 - vintage sofa on astralriles.com Painting 6 - vintage sofa on astralriles.com Painting 5 - vintage sofa on astralriles.com Re-wetting paint_ vintage sofa on astralriles.com 1st coat of paint - Plum Jam vintage sofa on astralriles.com Painting cushion - Plum Jam - vintage sofa on astralriles.com   Normally, you're supposed to wait until the 1st coat of paint dries before you start applying the second coat. That did not happen in this scenario. I only waited about 2 hours before applying the second coat, which is why it just sucked up the paint right away. And if we were able to let it completely dry 1st, then we could have sanded the fabric in between coats. Lightly sanding the fabric after each coat of paint using a fine grit sand paper helps to soften up the fabric a bit. Here are the final pics of the sofa after the 2nd coat of paint was applied. Please note that the sofa is still WET in these pics. I instructed LaKaye to let the sofa dry overnight before applying the last coat of paint. Since I had to leave the project in her hands, I do not have the final "after" pics of the sofa. I will post those photos once I get them from her.   2nd coat of paint - vintage sofa on astralriles.com After 2nd coat_Plum Jam - vintage sofa on astralriles.com After 1_Plum Jam - vintage sofa on astralriles.com After corner closeup_Plum Jam - vintage sofa on astralriles.com After close up - vintage sofa on astralriles.com After cushion closeup_Plum Jam - vintage sofa on astralriles.com Me and Lakaye - vintage sofa on astralriles.com Me and Lakaye_2-vintage sofa on astralriles.com I think the sofa looks much better. A drastic change for a minimal budget. See what a little DIY'ing will get you???? And when you DIY with friends it's even better. Try it sometime! :)   before and after grid - painted vintage sofa on astralriles.com   collage 2 - Collage 1_vpainted vintage sofa on astralriles.com Collage 1_painted vintage sofa on astralriles.com Have you painted any upholstery lately? Show me how your furniture projects have turned out. And if you have any questions or comments about the painting process...leave me a message below in the Comments section. Oh...and don't forget to sign up for my newsletter to stay up to date on my DIY adventures! [mc4wp_form]
Jan 20, 2017

What great photos! It looks great – can’t wait to see it finished. Thanks so much for mentioning my blog. What a great friend to help!!

Kristy Swain
Jan 20, 2017

Hi Yetunde! Thanks so much. Yes, taping is a pain. I have also had instances where the paint seeped under the tape too. But i think it may also depend on the quality of tape as well. I usually buy that Scotch Blue painters tape, but I am going to try out that Frog Tape to see if its any better. Its suppose to have a better seal. IDK…we’ll see.

astralriles
Jan 20, 2017

It looks fantastic! You ladies did a great job! I hate taping off too…the paint still seems to seep under the paint.

Yetunde Rodriguez
Jan 20, 2017

Hi Adrienne,
Nope, I didn’t do the iron part. Not sure if I remember reading that on the textile medium instructions…but then again I probably didn’t read the instructions at all. LOL. I actually might try that the next time I do one of these projects. Did you sand the fabric in between coats of paint? If not, that could be a reason why the fabric is so hard. Let me know how it turns out. I’d love to see some pics.

astralriles
Jan 20, 2017

Did you end up running an iron over it like the directions on the textile medium says? I’m on my second coat of the primer Paint and the cushion is rock hard….

Adrienne
Jan 20, 2017

I’ll be sure to post photos as soon as I get the right pillows! It won’t be a proper “after” until then! :-) Thanks again Astral! I’ve been getting lots of comments from folks who saw my sofa before. They can’t believe it’s a paint job!

LaKaye Mbah
Jan 20, 2017

Hi Kristy! Thanks.
I am a painting machine…all thanks to you! LOL

astralriles
Jan 20, 2017

Hi. Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog.
The Annie Sloan brand is a “chalk paint”. It is not intended for painting fabric at all. So that is why you are getting cracks and that chalky consistency. My recommendations would be to use either of the 3 options:
1. Latex paint + fabric medium
2. Fabric paint
3. Acrylic paint + fabric medium

Painting upholstery probably isn’t a long-term solution for updating furniture. I look at it as a quick fix for those on a budget or those who want to try and save a piece of furniture or for the DIY-lovers. And because of this, I definitely do not recommend placing the painted upholstered furniture in a high-traffic area where it will get a lot of use. The more the piece is used the faster the painted upholstery will start to look worn.

The black arm chair that I painted last year still pretty much looks the same. But thats because I rarely sit on it. Its just an accent piece for me.

I would love to see pics of your painted chair & lounger. Feel free to share them with me if you like :)

astralriles
Jan 20, 2017

Love your blog, lots of great information. Have a serious situation with the chair and lounger that I have painted, used Annie sloan paint and followed all directions. After a couple of months, they are cracking and the paint is coming off. In areas like the arms and seat, the paint cracks, feels brittle and chalky feel to it. Have tried a repair of sanding, then wetting, reapplying with latex paint. This does not seem to make a difference. Have you or anyone else had this problem? The paint does not last. The chair and lounger looked fabulous when painted, it’s what happens after awhile. The fabric on the chair is softer, silky type of fabric, the lounger had a tapestry fabric. Cracking, peeling, yukes, what a mess. Would love to salvage this project. Love both the huge chair and lounger design. Would love any suggestions. Thanks

frances
Jan 20, 2017

Hi Shaquira,

Sorry for the late response. No it doesn’t matter what type of fabric it is. You should be fine. The only thing that I have not tried to paint before is leather. I’m a bit scared to try that. Keep in mind no matter what type of fabric you have, the paint will definitely change the texture / feel of it, even if you add fabric medium to the paint. If you are able to reupholster, then that may be the better route for you to take, especially to ensure that the fabric is as soft as you want / need it to be. But if there are budget constraints, also keep in mind that reupholstering can get expensive. So painting the upholstery is probably the easiest and most budget-friendly route to take.

astralriles

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