Painted Upholstery – Chair Reveal!

**(The FINAL reveal with the legs painted and some nail head trim is posted on a new entry for 3/21/11.  Don’t miss it!)**

So… guess what… I painted the whole chair! 

This post is an update to an earlier posting where I got a wing back chair from Craigslist.  This chair will be placed in my master bedroom, which I have been tracking the design process on.

The wing back chair started out like this (in the photo is the first pillow that I painted):

IMG_4645 (459x640)

Two coats later and it looks like this:


There are some visible paintbrush strokes from certain standpoints depending on the lighting, but it’s not too bad.  I’m happy with it.  (Note:  Visible strokes taken away on final reveal.)

It’s mildly coarse, like a slightly coarser fabric, but not sand papery.  It’s fine to sit on, especially if rubbed in the direction of the grain. 


Another view just after it was done, but before we put it back in the bedroom.   


Cost:  $60 for the chair, $15 of fabric medium, $15 of paint (only used 1/4 of a quart) for a total of $90. 

Sure, new upholstery would be awesome, but who can beat $90 for a teal blue chair that matches the color of the inspiration photo.  (The actual real life color almost matches the inspiration photo from Lonny Magazine perfectly.)


Yay!  What do you guys think?   Would you ever paint upholstery?  

Now, the urgent question is… to paint the legs or leave them brown?  

Participating in link parties at A Diamond in the Stuff, Primitive and Proper, Dittle Dattle, Type A DecoratingStuff and Nonsense, Shabby Nest, At The Picket FenceFench Country Cottage, Remodelaholic, and My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia.

Update 3/19/11:  The FINAL REVEAL is now posted.  It shows the chair after I put on another coat of paint, painted the legs white and put some nail head trim on it!  You have to see this!

The process/ how-to post will be on Wednesday.


  1. Danika Herrick

    looks so good! definitely paint the legs white, it will make the teal pop even more. I'm linking this to my fabric painting post!

  2. I actually like the brush strokes….. makes it look more realistic to me(shows what I know :) ) and I would go for the black legs if you HAVE to paint them probably because it's closer to the dark brown that's already there Looks really good Kristy, You are brave!

  3. Cassie @ Primitive & Proper

    that looks amazing! love the vibrant color!

  4. The Adventures of Ordy and Joon

    i would totally make it white!!! I think this looks AMAZING- white would make the color pop!

  5. looks great! i definitely vote for painting the legs white and glazing them…can't wait to see what you decide!


    stuff and nonsense

  6. Kristine at The Painted Hive

    This looks great. I wonder if you could use a spray gun to eliminate brush strokes if you tried something like this again? On it's own I think the legs would look awesome white though if it's nearby other white furniture it might be overkill. I always like some natural timer to ground a room so maybe leave them for a while and see how you feel?

  7. I'd go black but you could test it out by paint half white and half black- it is only paint, after all :0)
    Kate @

  8. Thanks for letting me know about this post and stopping by my blog! It is a gorgeous color! I agree with white. :)

  9. wow i have never seen that done before. i think you did a great job and i def say paint the legs! :)if not a white a slight cream or off white

  10. Samantha @ Black Velvet Chair

    WOW great job- the colour pops now.

    My first thought was to silver leaf the legs of the chair & add loads of silver nailhead trim (expesh to the armrests)

    XX Samantha

  11. Samantha @ Black Velvet Chair

    PS: I just noticed we share the same last name ;)

  12. Hyphen Interiors

    Sounds really nice… Not sure if I'm ready to jump into nail head yet – how hard it is to apply (in a straight line, ha!)?

  13. Kristy Carberry

    You are brave, but I like it! This is my first visit, stopped by from the Prim & Proper link party. I'm Kristy too, nice to "meet" you!

  14. Sara @ Russet Street Reno

    Holy crap, that is amazing! I would paint the legs white, the brown wood really does nothing for the color. LOVE that color, by the way!

  15. Tammy @ Type A

    that is crazy! i love it. looks great. i would love it if you shared this at my party, it goes from tues-thurs.

  16. Chandeen @ Designed by Chance

    Wow this is fabulous!!! I love that you just PAINTED the chair. I have painted a lot of things but never a chair.

  17. Tammy @ Type A

    thanks for sharing this at my party! it really looks just like the inspiration.

  18. It looks great! I'm super scared of redoing furniture so I'm looking forward to peeking around at more of your projects. I'm a new follower!

  19. House Revivals

    I think it's awesome! I love that you did this!

  20. Emily@LovelyBeasts

    Wow! I would have never thought to paint the fabric. Nicely done! Looks so much better than the original light blue. And glad to see you're painting the feet white. I think it'll look even better than it does now!

    p.s. I'm you're newest follower. Our blogs were born about a month apart! Hope we can celebrate their 1 yr birthdays together!


  21. I haven't tried painting upholstery but I did redye my leather couches. Haven't posted that yet but I will soon. I think your chair looks great and painting the legs white would make the color really pop! I'm a new follower and would love to have you visit me at the nest eclectic.

  22. Wow! I've never thought of that before! It looks fantastic. I like Samantha's idea about silver leafing the legs and adding nailhead trim! Visiting from Shabby Nest:)

  23. I am super intrigued by this idea, I have that identical chair (with different fabric) that I recently attempted to do sew a slipcover for-but so far it has been a major FAIL-this may be another option for my chair, I love it, especially the color-FAB! Visiting from Shabby Nest as well-newest follower here!

  24. Sonya@Beyond the Screen Door

    Love this idea! I could really see myself doing this! Your chair turned out great!

  25. Courtney ~ French Country Cottage

    You PAINTED the upholstery?! I LOVE this!!! I have not even thought about that before- what a fantastic idea and your chair is beautiful!! I would paint the legs to match your inspiration pic- and I think that color teal looks beautiful with the white wood. Would love if you would come share this at Feathered Nest Friday~ It is fantastic!! Now following you along! :)

  26. i'm so glad you linked this post to fridays unfolded! i look forward to seeing more of your creative work.


    stuff and nonsense

  27. Remodelaholic

    OH my goodness, I must know more. You just used a fabric medium and regular paint? This is genius, I wonder if it would work with the chairs I have….

    Anyway, I found you via Cassie's site and was wondering if you would want to come and write a special guest post about this Redo for, let me know! I hope you will, cause I need to know more so I can do this!


  28. Farmer's Wyfe

    What an incredible idea! I must say, I usually try anything to save some money, but never thought of this!! Great idea! :) LOVE that color!! I'm a new follower. :)

  29. that is pretty great!! now i need to go read all your old posts about it :) following

  30. At The Picket Fence

    Oh my goodness! That is absolutely incredible! Truly gorgeous and so much less expensive the fabric. I've been peeking around your blog and you have a ton of fantastic ideas and a beautiful home! We are so thrilled that you linked up this week to Inspiration Friday and we hope to see much more of you in the future!

  31. This is A Great Alternative to upholstery:) What matters most is that you love it! I love the dark legs…nice condition too. But If you have alot of white in your room it would look good that color too.

    come visit me and enter my GIVeAwAy

  32. I'm astounded. Would never have thought of doing that. Definitely paint the legs white for an additional pop of that teal.

  33. just came across your blog– the chair looks great— love the teal color.


  34. Hello!! What kind of paint did you use for this?? It looks amazing.. I am currently trying to figure out how to paint two “sofa-chairs” of my own and have no idea where to start in terms of paint….!?

    • I used latex and acrylic on this one. Then, just acrylic on my second one. Others have used other kinds of paints, though – just go to the tutorial and at the bottom, there are links to others. Good luck!

  35. Hi Kristy:
    I just love what you did to that chair. In fact it made me sick. I had one JUST like it that I had been given when my mother-in-law passed away that was that bright gold fabric. Couldn’t afford to have it redone and although I have been sewing since a young child and have sewn just about every sewing project you can think of, I just couldn’t bring myself to redoing the chair myself. Thus, sold it. Yes, I am still beating myself up over the thought of doing it.
    I have another chair that has button tucks. But here’s where the “stupid” question comes in. Are you using fabric paint or regular paint? Also the statement of “it’s a bit crunchy” made me think. When I saw the size of the brush in one of the photos it made me wonder, since frabric paint comes in such little containers OR does it come in pints, quarts etc. HELP! Could you please send your answer to my Email address? Thanks so much.

    • I used regular latex paint that you’d use on you walls, and craft acrylic paint. No fabric paint, but I mixed in fabric medium to make it fabric paint. Hope that helps. I would not call it crunchy. Just a little stiffer than before.

  36. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!

    Here’s an off the wall hint, in case no one knew this.
    But if you are looking to buy carpet, flooring or even paint, if you use 3 12X12 mirrors and tape them together to make a U, then place on top of the item it will give you a full room view of what it is going to look like. We have bought and sold 14 homes and have used this every time. No guess work as to what the entire room…floors or walls will look like when done.

  37. Carolyn Medina

    I need to know what is fabric medium which you have to purchase to paint upholstered chair and where do you find it? That’s an important thing to tell persons who are interested. Thanks.

  38. I love this idea but for me if you painted the legs silver to match the tacks, you got a million dollar look!

  39. I pinned this a while back because I knew we would be inheriting some wind back chairs from my husband’s grandparents. They are of great sentimental value but UGLY! So this would be my compromise! So now I am just wondering how it has held up after all this time?

    Still in good condition? Any fading/wearing in spots? Any bleeding onto other fabrics or onto peoples’ clothes? Thanks so much, such a beautiful chair/idea!!

    • It has been 2.5 years now and it’s just like it was from day 1. Still in great condition. No fading or wearing. Nothing has ever bled off onto other fabrics. It has held up great! Hope that helps! Good luck.

      • Thanks for your reply Kristy! I am so excited to hear it has held up so well. I think that’s what we might do with these chairs because having them reupholstered costs hundreds of dollars and these are beyond what I could recover myself! These is WAY cheaper and looks gorgeous!

Post a Comment

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


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 7 Things You Never Thought You Could Spray Paint! (Pingback)
  2. 7 Things You Never Thought You Could Spray Paint! (Pingback)