Simply Spray Series – Painting Upholstery – Week 4

During this series, we are talking about the difference between Simply Spray and my method, as well as what I think of Simply Spray, how it’s best used and tips.

We’ve made it to week four!   Time for the big project – my faded patio furniture.


Week 1 – Introduction
Week 2 – Painting a pillow from the original chair and comparing it to the original pillow
Week 3 – Painting pool umbrellas
✓Week 4 – Painting a patio furniture set
Week 5 – Conclusions

Don’t forget, after the series is over, I’ll host a giveaway from Simply Spray!  So, if you want to try it, you may get your chance!

Last week, we tried painting a pool umbrella, which is a water resistant fabric and not recommended by Simply Spray.  It wasn’t a total fail, but not great.

This week, I’ll talk about painting my patio furniture with Simply Spray’s charcoal gray fabric spray paint.   Note that my patio furniture isn’t as water resistant as the umbrella was, but it’s is fairly water resistant.  It’s not a greatly absorbent fabric, so I ran into a few kinks.


How was it before?


Sorry, the one cushion is tested with the gray paint.  I forgot to snap a photo before I did that.

Let’s take a closer look at the patio furniture before.  We purchased these in 2010 and by the end of 2011 when we moved from AZ back to TX, they were this faded.  And, they sat under a covered porch.

Yard-017 Yard-006

This photo will give you an even better idea of what you are seeing.


And, if you still aren’t sure of the severity of how bad they looked and how faded they were, look at these photos of the cushions once they were removed, cleaned and ready for paint.



Alright, so you get the idea.  They were faded, but only in spots where the sun hit.  Not pretty.  It was time for a facelift.  New cushions can be costly, especially if custom made.  I had new ones made for the lounge chairs and they were over $200.

We may as well try painting them!

First off, it can be trouble if you try a can that has been opened.  The nozzle does clog up fast.  This is how it looked when I tried to use and already opened can, even though I followed the rep’s tip and put the trigger back in its original position.


And, just a reminder, when you spray paint anything, always start spraying off the object and stop spraying off the object.  So, go all the way across on each stroke.

Here they are after a couple of quick coats of paint.  I let them dry for 1-2 hours in between coats.


After another layer or two.


In the end, I did about 4-5 coats of paint, depending on the cushion.  I used 14 cans of paint.  At $11-12 a can, that is about $155, though you can buy them in a six pack and get a bit of a discount if buying by the case.  $155 is a reasonable price to pay to freshen up patio furniture, I think.  New cushions would be at least $30 each and possible $150 each if custom.  That would be $300-1500.  I know, crazy.  At some point, it’s cheaper to just get a new patio set, huh?  Especially if you wait until just after the summer when they are on sale.

One thing to note is that Simply Spray is more of a dye than a paint.  Patterns and darkness will show through.  Here are examples where you can see that there are still dark spots.  Luck for me, most of these will be hidden once the cushions are back on the frames.



A few more photos of the finished product?

Patio-037 Patio-009

Patio-010 Patio-012



Overall, I was happy with the outcome.  However, it’s not perfect.  If you look really close, like in the photo below, you can see some of the original color showing through along the piping/ creases.


I think if the fabric was more absorbent (not water resistant), it would have worked super well.  Of course, I can’t prove that, but I think that was the problem.

The texture is also a little different.  The texture of the pillow that I tried Simply Spray on did not change, but this did.  Perhaps because it took more coats?  Perhaps because the fabric was water resistant.  It’s a little stiffer, but I do think it will soften up as it’s used.

What did I learn?
- Try to use water absorbent fabric as they suggest.  Or, be prepared that it may not take quite as well and/ or you may need to do more coats.
- Test it on the underside of a cushion first.  Realize, though, that this spray paint will soak around to the other edges.  So, I’d test it on a pillow or somewhere that it will not matter.  It does bleed.
- Let it dry completely between coats.  It will take longer to dry on something like this that is not as absorbent.
- As stated in previous posts, it’s more of a dye.  Dark spots will continue to be dark.  This method is not for covering anything.  Ideally, your fabric is nice and consistent with no stains, patterns or dark spots.
- If you spray too heavily, it will create fuzz balls.  So, again, test your method first.
- Try to use up the can as it can be ruined if you wait more than an hour in between.  I had to throw almost a whole can out due to the issue you see above.

So far, based on this series, what are your thoughts?  Would you try it?  Do you have a project in mind?  How do you think it compares to my method?   I’ll draw all of my conclusions next week and compile all of my tips there!


I can’t wait to finish decorating our patio now!

I hope you are enjoying the series!



  1. Hmmm…your series has made me really think of what I would choose to paint. These are all really good examples of how the product works, great job Kristy. I think your cushions look better, but it seems more of a temporary fix. Outdoor cushions can get expensive, so why not extend the life with some paint. That AZ weather is harsh, I hope the TX weather is better for your outdoor furniture.

  2. I actually used it to cover up a bunch of spots on a light-colored couch… Maybe the difference is starting with a lighter color, plus the water-resistant factor you mentioned? My couch is an indoor couch. Plus I didn’t use an overall color, but a pattern, which can always hide more!

  3. I love that you did this…Thank you…I actually like your method better, I was wondering would your method work in a paint sprayer?? and will adding more textile medium help soften the feel more?? just wondering, we just bought a lake house up north of us, fully furnished yet the furniture is awful (great condition) but really ugly I want to try painting the sectional sofa…and would like to spray it…and try to get it softer…just wondering??

    Thank you

    • Thank you for your comment. In theory, a sprayer may work if you are willing to then get dirty and work it into the fabric. Otherwise the possible issue is that the paint could sit on top of the fabric. More medium? I felt like more didn’t help past a certain point, but I could be wrong. It’d be a good experiment. I’d love to hear about the results if you try these things. Perfect way to try is with inherited furniture. :)

  4. What a great solution! Love the color you chose too. I’m always amazed at how quickly outdoor cushions fade :(

    • Amazing thing is that I have a set of chairs with sunbrella fabric on the cushions. In direct phx sunlight for two years. No fading or dry rot! Always go sun tells if you can.

  5. Neat to know that other people do this sort of thing. I’ve never considered doing it to actual furniture, but I’ve been doing stuff like this to motorcycle seats for years.

    I know I’m late to the game with any suggestions, but here’s one that may prevent you from having to throw away a whole can of dye:

    After you’re finished using the can (perhaps between coats; perhaps you’re done with your project), invert the can so that the nozzle is on the bottom. Most spray cans have a pick-up tube inside them that draws paint from the bottom of the can; the pressurized air moves it up the tube when you open the valve.

    If you invert the can, the paint or dye falls below the end of the pick-up tube and is replaced by the pressurized air still inside the container. A couple of quick squirts while the can is inverted blows paint-free clear air through the tube and out the nozzle, clearing any paint still in them.

    Don’t do this too much, or you will run out of pressure while you still have valuable color inside the can. However, used sparingly, it’s a nice bit of insurance to prevent you from having to throw out an rather expensive nearly-full can of paint or dye.

    Hope that helps.

  6. I’m in the middle of a project right now – painting a chair with Simply Spray. It’s easy enough, but the color is definitely not turning out as expected. I wish I had seen your upholstery painting method before I started! I have 1 more chair and a couch (matching set) left and I think I’ll try out your method for those.

  7. Looks pretty good! Definitely going to try to win some of this stuff! ;)

  8. I am going to to this exact same thing to our outdoor cushions and I was considering using Simply Spray to do the job… I have the same problems though (stains and severe fading in spots). Do you think that your method would have produced better results on the semi-waterproof fabric of your cushions? I would almost like to have a thicker covering on the outdoor cushions and if they are a bit “stiffer”that wouldn’t be bad either. I like their colors but if your method would have worked better then the color options are limitless! :) I am also concerned with the fact that the nozzle might clog up and leave me desperate! I appreciate any advice you might have before I embark on this adventure.

    • It has been about a year and the gray has faded a bit but they still look really good. I’m sitting on the sofa now. The darker spots didn’t matter in my case since they ended up hidden again between the pillows and all once things were put back together. So it’s all good. But had that not been the case, yes, my method would have been better and covered better. Hope that helps.

  9. Thanks! It seems that the best color for outdoor cushions using Simply Spray, would be close to the original fabric color – as it is more of a stain than paint. If you wanted to change the color completely, would you use your other method using the fabric medium – or would this have problems because of the asorption factor of the outdoor fabric vs indoor fabric?

    • Only use Simply Spray if you are going darker and the fabric can absorb some. The other method will work for any color, but the end product is a tad stiffer (like painted canvas).

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