I’m so happy to bring you today’s guest post from Erin Holdgate of Zillow. Erin shares some great tips for painting upholstered furniture. This is something I have been curious about, and definitely need to give it a try.
5 Tips for Painting Over Upholstered Furniture
By Erin Holdgate
Imagine your favorite couch is no longer on trend and looks like an eyesore in your living room – but you adore the comfort it provides after a long day. Luckily, there are a few ways to update your sofa sanctuary.
One quick solution is to cover your furniture with a slipcover. While an over-the-counter cover certainly is the simplest fix, often one-size does not fit all. Alternatives include a custom cover or a reupholster job, if you’re willing to spend the cash. A less pricey solution is to paint — yes, paint — over your upholstered furniture to give it a new, stylish look.
Painting upholstery allows you to cover dated fabric designs and incorporate bold new colors into your spaces. Feeling indecisive about such updates? Gather some living room ideas from popular designers.
However, don’t reach for the paintbrush just yet. Here are a few steps to take before you get started.
Consider the fabric
While most fabric will absorb paint, the degree of prep work and application style varies depending on the fabric texture. Raised fabrics like velvet and corduroy require sanding after painting, which isn’t the case for most other fabrics. You should have a clear idea of the material you’re painting before you head to the craft store, so you purchase the necessary materials to achieve your desired result.
Choose the right supplies
Having the right tools is essential for every paint job, and it starts with applicators. Foam brushes work fine on small canvas pieces, but a paintbrush is the best tool for most fabrics, especially if it’s a large project. As far as paint goes, straight latex paint hardens the surface of your upholstery, leaving it vulnerable to cracking and chipping. Mix latex paints with a fabric medium for best results—the final product softens after a couple weeks of use. Fabric mediums are available at your local craft store. While chalk paint doesn’t require a fabric medium, plan to apply a coat of finishing wax once it dries to create the optimal couch texture. The ideal paint selection for most projects is spray-on soft fabric paint, which results in a more fabric-like texture.
Clean the piece thoroughly
As with any paint project, clean your surface so you don’t find any surprises dried into your final product. Use a damp cloth to wipe off loose dust or dirt. Next, take a vacuum hose to the tufts and crevices to remove hidden crumbs or pet hair. Proper prep work ensures your paint fully absorbs into the fabric.
Commit to a color
Unlike painting walls or wood, you won’t be using a primer for this project. Depending on the color of the original upholstery, choose a dark enough paint hue to cover fabric designs in just a few coats. If you’re painting a light couch, you’re safe with just about any paint color or type. If the fabric is dark, you can either go dark in hue or commit to working with a saturating chalk paint. Keep in mind, the hottest color options this year are bold, jewel tones, so, don’t shy away from a bright emerald green or royal blue hue.
Apply the paint carefully
Across all fabrics, starting with a wet surface is key. Working in sections, use a spray bottle to wet the fabric before painting. Moisture allows the paint to soak in more effectively, saturating more of the fabric. Be sure to leave sufficient time to dry between coats—typically, plan to let your furniture sit overnight before the next coat.
While upholstery painting techniques vary, these basic guidelines apply to most projects. With quality paint, the right tools and a little research, you can apply a fresh look to old furniture when it’s time to redecorate.