|

Beginner’s Guide to Painting Upholstery

Today’s edition of “Lauren just can’t leave well enough alone”: painting upholstery.

Remember that whole back and forth debating about whether or not to paint our upholstered headboard?

Beginner's Guide to Painting Upholstery | blesserhouse.com A simple tutorial for painting fabric furniture- This is so easy! Way better than upholstering furniture from scratch.

UPDATE: See the full master bedroom makeover reveal + source list here!

Yep. I did it. And y’all. I was straight up skeeeeeeeeeered the entire time I was tackling this project. But I conquered!

If you have ever wanted to attempt painting upholstery, I’m here to tell you, don’t even sweat it, girl. You’ve got this.

It is so super duper simple, but sometimes those are the best tutorials. The simple ones. So here ya go.

Supplies needed to paint upholstery:

  • Chalk paint (This king-sized headboard required exactly 1 quart of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to give you an idea of how much you’ll need.)
  • A large cup or small pail (I like to use this one because I can grip the handle really well in one hand as I move around to work on a piece.)
  • Painter’s tape, if needed (We’re big fans of Frog Tape around here.)
  • An excellent quality paint brush (I used this 3 inch angle brush.)
  • Fine grit sandpaper (I used 320 grit.)
  • Drop cloth
  • Annie Sloan clear soft wax or any clear wax you prefer (optional)
  • And of course your upholstered piece of furniture

Here’s my victim. We bought this bed from Ashley Furniture a little over two years ago, and even though it’s a beautiful piece as is, it was kind of driving me crazy that the brown fabric didn’t really work with all of the blue/gray tones in the rest of the room.

In pictures, it wasn’t too bad. In person, it wasn’t jibing well.

Beginner's Guide to Painting Upholstery | blesserhouse.com A simple tutorial for painting fabric furniture- This is so easy! Way better than upholstering furniture from scratch.

I taped off the wood frame of the bed with the painter’s tape, which thankfully blocked all of the paint from seeping under.

Beginner's Guide to Painting Upholstery | blesserhouse.com A simple tutorial for painting fabric furniture- This is so easy! Way better than upholstering furniture from scratch.

Then, I mixed 3 parts paint to 1 part water in a paint pail. I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Paris Grey. And um… I was out of paint stirs so I used wooden take-out chopsticks. Ha!

Beginner's Guide to Painting Upholstery | blesserhouse.com A simple tutorial for painting fabric furniture- This is so easy! Way better than upholstering furniture from scratch.

I put a canvas drop cloth down on our bed because that could be a really terrible situation to have on your mattress later.

After mixing the paint with water, start brushing it on your upholstery, and pay attention to the pattern of your brush strokes. I painted straight up and down the entire time. Continue to stir your paint as you work.

Y’all. I wanted to cry after this first coat.

Beginner's Guide to Painting Upholstery | blesserhouse.com A simple tutorial for painting fabric furniture- This is so easy! Way better than upholstering furniture from scratch.

Most of the time I take on projects and don’t always tell Robert, so he never knows what kind of DIY drama he’s walking into every day when he comes home from work.

I was rehearsing what I was going to say to him after coat #1. “Yeah, so… I destroyed our bed. Kay? Bye!”

But after the first coat dried, I put on a second one and it made me feel much better. Whew!

Beginner's Guide to Painting Upholstery | blesserhouse.com A simple tutorial for painting fabric furniture- This is so easy! Way better than upholstering furniture from scratch.

Beginner's Guide to Painting Upholstery | blesserhouse.com A simple tutorial for painting fabric furniture- This is so easy! Way better than upholstering furniture from scratch.

It was still a little bit on the splotchy side, so I put on one more coat for a total of 3 coats of paint/water.

When the third coat was dry, the fabric did feel a lot like it just had paint on it. It was pretty stiff.

But once I sanded down the entire thing with the fine grit sandpaper, it had a velvety texture and felt similar to the original fabric.

Beginner's Guide to Painting Upholstery | blesserhouse.com A simple tutorial for painting fabric furniture- This is so easy! Way better than upholstering furniture from scratch.

It is entirely up to you whether or not you want to apply clear wax after sanding. I looked up several different methods, and some wax and some don’t. I’d say for something like a chair or sofa, you definitely want that extra layer of protection. But since this is just a headboard that doesn’t have people sitting on it or anything, I did without.

Beginner's Guide to Painting Upholstery | blesserhouse.com A simple tutorial for painting fabric furniture- This is so easy! Way better than upholstering furniture from scratch.

I’m soooo happy with how it turned out. Oh, and Pat the Deer approves.

Beginner's Guide to Painting Upholstery | blesserhouse.com A simple tutorial for painting fabric furniture- This is so easy! Way better than upholstering furniture from scratch.

So now we have this action going on:

Beginner's Guide to Painting Upholstery | blesserhouse.com A simple tutorial for painting fabric furniture- This is so easy! Way better than upholstering furniture from scratch.

The gray definitely coordinates much better with our nightstands and rug now. I still walk into this room and get surprised by it.

You can check out more about all of the projects and makeovers that went into our master bedroom here:

If you ever want to take on an upholstery painting project down the road, you can pin this post for future reference:

Beginner's Guide to Painting Upholstery | blesserhouse.com A simple tutorial for painting fabric furniture- This is so easy! Way better than upholstering furniture from scratch.

In other bedroom makeover news, our doors arrived, which you’ll probably be seeing more of next week. So Operation Sliding Barn Doors is on the horizon. Yippee to the ki yay! (‘Bout time.)

Oh, and you might be noticing some minor changes around here on this site soon. I’m working to make things more user-friendly for you guys like amping up the site’s loading speed and getting rid of some obnoxious ads. In a day or two, I’ll be adding a full home resource page to round up paint colors and decor items I’m frequently asked about so everything is in one place and easy to access.

If you’re a fellow blogger, I added a Blogging Resources page to the menu bar if you’re ever curious about any of the tools I use on the regular to keep this little blog motor running.

I always appreciate getting feedback from y’all, so tell me in the comments what you’d like to see around here or what changes you think should happen to make things easier for you. I love hearing from you guys!

signoff

Follow:

Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter | Google+

Affiliate links are provided in this post. For more information, see my full disclosure here.

Similar Posts

62 Comments

  1. Lauren, it looks fantastic. When you put the before and after next to each other it really does show how much better the after is in the room. I was under the impression that you were going to paint the wood… In this case, it turned out perfect. The grey is a nice contrast to the wood of the headboard making it stand out and look even better. Great goin!!

  2. Your bed looks gorgeous. The perfect choice for your room. So glad you went with your inner voice and painted. I think you empowered a lot of divers today. You rock.

  3. The grey/blue looks so much better! I totally agree – the blue traditional rugs are so in right now, but you need to have a really bright and airy pallet to match them. I just ordered one. I have light grey walls & white bedding. Our bed is a mid tone mix of stains, so I’m most likely painting our bed set & distressing. We made the set, so it’s not like I’ll be ruining big money – haha
    http://www.theruggedrooster.com/blog

  4. wow this is a turn up for the books, I didn’t even know you could actually paint upholstery!!! I have a great couch but wrong colour Hmm….. thanks for the info and bravery!!!!

    1. Crazy, right? Seems like you can paint anything these days. I’m not brave enough to attempt a couch yet. But I know people who have done it and loved the end result.

    1. Thank you! I figured paint was easier and if I completely messed it up, Plan B could be to reupholster. 🙂

    1. I had to hold my breath to brush on that first stroke of paint. Very scary for a minute there. Haha! Thanks, Carrie!

  5. This is just beautiful Lauren. I love how the color just pulls everything together. It is so serene. I have a chair and ottoman I think I may tackle. Something I would like to know how to do is how to paint rugs. I have an area rug that I bought at a garage sale. It is in perfect condition but the wrong color. Would the same method work on a rug?

    Thanks so much……love your stuff! May the Lord bless your day!

    Mary

  6. Looks beautiful! I’m considering doing the same with a sofa bed that has an outdated tan and red geometric pattern but is in very good condition (its actually quite comfortable for sleeping!). Do you have any insights on how an upholstery fabric with a design might look after being painted, and coverage over red?

    1. Thank you, Sandra! I was a little skeptical when I started it too. This one was on a wing and a prayer. 😉

  7. Love this post,what a great and daring diy and I can totally relate to going ahead with a project without hubby knowing. Looks awesome!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.