Painted Chair Fail – Michelle from Décor and the Dog

Let’s welcome Michelle today.  She is going to share about a project fail.  She tried painting a chair!  Didn’t go so well.  Michelle, take it away.


Have you read Kristy’s awesome painted upholstery tutorial?  Of course you have.


Were you inspired to tackle a painted upholstery project yourself?  I was. 

How hard could it be?  The steps seemed easy.  I loved the result.  I can totally do this.

I posted on my personal facebook status that I was painting a chair.  My best friend commented asking “Who did I think I was?  Thinking I could paint anything.”

I’m a blogger.  Have you see my other chair make-overs?  It couldn’t be harder than ripping out 1 million staples…


It was.

I purchased a $15 wingback from my local Salvation Army.  I grabbed Kristy’s tutorial and went to town.



After three coats, I had this hot mess of a chair….

Picnik collagepn

The chair was blotchy and pretty crusty.  It looked like a bad version of acid washed blue jeans.  Not exactly a hot design trend.

I’m not sure what went wrong.  The light grey paint may not have been the best idea with the dark chair.  I may not have used enough fabric medium.  All I know is that this chair is toast.

Slip cover anyone?

Be sure to stop by Decor and the Dog in the future and look for a slip cover tutorial.  Hopefully it has a happier ending!

Any other chair painting failures out there?  Maybe I’ll start a support group…

Thanks so much for sharing about your experience with the chair.  I kind of liked the before color.  Ha!  I’m so glad other people also have project fails.  I know I do!  Have you?   What was your biggest fail?



  1. i love michele and love her honesty! she is super talented and full of style- just goes to show that even the best sometimes fail! but we move on and slipcover our failures!

  2. OK… I’ve wondered about this whole painting the fabric fad that’s going around and I just knew that it didn’t sound right!

    • It’s not always a success. I’ve posted a few other failures in the past. It’s definitely not for everyone… :) But, good news, another success will be posted just after Christmas!

  3. You are too funny! Love your honesty, who knows what went wrong, it could of been a multitude of things…I say find a really great upholster and let him do his magic! Or maybe that could be your new challenge, doing it yourself! $15 is a great buy on that chair keep it, you’ll figure it out.

  4. I think about that teal chair every single time I see a wingback on CL. You gave it a good shot. Unfortunately they don’t all turn out like we picture them.

  5. Well if painting chairs is anything like painting walls it’s not possible to paint light on dark without some kind of primer. Maybe??? Thanks for keeping it real Michele.

  6. What, a project that went wrong? That never happens to the rest of us, lol! It is pretty disappointing when you put in the time, effort and money and a project doesn’t go as planned. You’ve had many successes.

  7. I love seeing project fails because they keep this blogland REAL. Nobody’s perfect and not every project works. That said, though, Michelle has about 4,512 projects that were complete and total NON-fails–I love her AND her blog! Great choice for a guest! :)

  8. Ya know, that tutorial always sounded like something that could be a giant fail to me. I’m glad you took it on first, Michelle. :P But I wonder if it’s still salvagable? Maybe with a darker paint?

  9. Thanks for sharing your blunder, Michelle. I feel like I’m making mistakes all the time since I’m new to DIYing furniture. It’s helpful to see examples of mistakes because I learn so much from it. Sorry that didn’t work out for you.

  10. I cant tell you how many times I have been smack dab in the middle of project disasters. Most often late in the night with the wrong tools.
    After seeing my crappy chair get a new life I had friends say
    “That is so great, I am going to do my whole sofa!”
    to which I responded “NOOOOOO!”
    I think it’s best to try it on something that cost less than $20, and beware of massive color leaps!!!!

  11. Any ideas? I just had a house full of cotton “bone colored” drapes (lined in off white) installed and when the light shines through the two layers of fabric a very yellow light is emitted. I thought I was choosing a neutral off white. Sounds crazy???!!? Can I paint cotton drapes? Can I spray with solvent based product?
    6 pairs of drapes? Help!

    • Great questions. I have seen this done! I’ve seen people take IKEA white curtains, tape them off like you would a wall and paint them. I think I have at least one example on my diy Pinterest board if you want to look. Just click the Pinterest link and then click DIY. Maybe just try stripes first?

    • Cotton drapes you should be able to dye with something like Rit.

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