Chair Make Over – Painted Upholstery


This is a $20 Craigslist chair that I primed with Valspar Bonding Primer (from Lowe’s) then painted with standard wall paint, the kind Lowe’s does in those small sample jars that are only about $3 each, mixed to any color you want. I did a few coats. The primer is crucial, nothing else is. I didn’t use any fabric medium or any other additives. A light sanding with a very fine grit sanding block (or paper) between coats makes it much better than without.

Update 12/24/15

This chair looks pretty much as it did when I painted it. Its totally scrub-able and has been scrubbed many times. It would be better with a tighter, flatter weave (like the denim dog chair), one with no texture -this chair had a lot of texture.

I just realized that this chair has no cat scratches on it (unlike every other piece of furniture in the house). I’m not sure if its impervious or they just don’t like how it feels.


n the original picture this looked more like a print than a weave, like a polished cotton which would (maybe) be easier to paint to a smooth finish. I should have known it was not a print because that kind of fabric almost always has a ruffle or pleated drop at the bottom of the chair. This will actually be a better test, but may not make a better chair.



This is the painted chair I did before I read about such things. I sure hope I can make it come out this well. This was denim painted with regular old latex wall paint. I only thought it would work because I have experience with floor cloths. This ended up like an old fashioned oil cloth and totally cleanable. That’s what I need. I did not use primer on this one, the flat weave gave a much better finish. (This was a denim Pottery Barn kid’s chair I did for my dogs)



My initial test spots didn’t look like the paint was going to cover the flowered pattern of the chair. Adding chalk to the paint at the amount suggested made no notable difference. So, I pulled out the gallon of bonding primer I bought enough months ago to allow it time to thicken up even more and that is going to do the trick. I also tested adding a little kaolin clay to the yellow/orangy paint to thicken that up some. Make a little diference in the thickness/filler properties of the paint but changed the color to exactly what I wanted. The texture will be the next issue. It’s going to feel scratchy after the paint. Wonder how much I can sand the scratchy off. We’ll see.



Durability testing: commence. Level: low.



These are the paints I used from Lowe’s: Standard latex wall paint that they will mix in any color for a couple dollars a jar.