Can You Paint Chair Cushions?

A beautiful chair can be the perfect centerpiece in any room, but trends are constantly changing, so it’s only a matter of time before your beloved chair looks outdated and worn.

Changing up the furniture in our homes can be super expensive and throwing out our previously-loved pieces is such a waste of perfectly good materials.

So, why not save yourself some money and give reupholstering a go? You may not even need to change the material because you can actually paint chair cushions!

It’s a super simple process and can be a great way to spend a weekend. Plus, you’ll get the satisfaction of doing it yourself.

There are of course a few things you need to consider before taking a paint brush to your lovely soft chair.

You need to be aware of which paints and fabrics deliver the best results and which materials cannot be painted. Plus, you don’t want your chair to be uncomfortable post-makeover, so you need to know how to keep your upholstery soft and comfortable too.

First things first, is your chair suitable for painting? 

The materials that respond best to painting are poly blends and smooth cotton. Textured and patterned fabrics like velvet are much less forgiving. If your piece isn’t suitable for painting you can still reupholster it! You just need to try using a liquid dye or a slip cover instead which can still turn out great.

Before committing to painting though, it’s a good idea to test out the fabric first. Locate a piece of the fabric that is out of sight so if it goes wrong you won’t have ruined the whole chair. If you can’t do this try to find a piece of fabric that is as close to your chair as possible and test that.

Next, you need to decide on what paints you’re going to use.

There are plenty of fabric paints on the market, locate one that comes in the shade you like. If you can find one, it’s a good idea to use paint that has antimicrobial agents to prevent mold growth just as a precaution.

To ensure the finished product doesn’t feel crusty and uncomfortable, try diluting the fabric paint by mixing it with acrylic artist paints to produce a much softer end product and a smoother finish. Alternatively, dilute it with some water to thin it out.

Once you’ve determined if your upholstery is safe for painting, and you’ve settled on your paints, you’re ready to start the transformation process! 

How do you paint fabric chairs?

So, you’re excited and ready to get painting but, where do you begin?  Below is an easy step-by-step guide to take you through the entire process:

Step 1: prepare the chair

First make sure the surrounding area is covered to protect it from paint splashes. Before you can start painting you need to make sure your chair is clean and free of any dust or crumbs as this will ruin the smooth finish you desire. Start by vacuuming thoroughly, make sure you get into all the little nooks and the seams.

If there are any stains, check the tags if there are any to see the recommended cleaning method, but you should be fine to just use water and some mild dish soap. If the stain doesn't budge you may need to consider fashioning a stronger cleaning solution.

You want any stains to be removed as best you can to avoid them dissolving into the paint and ruining the color. Then, cover any parts of the chair that you don’t want to get any paint on, such as the legs.

Step 2: apply the first coat

It’s time to get painting, but first, spray the fabric with clean water until the entire chair is damp to the touch. This helps the paint to soak into the fabric better. Don’t wait for it to dry, start painting!

For the smoothest results, use a paint sprayer if you have access to one. If not, you can still get a good finish from using a brush. If you do use a spray gun, we recommend still using a brush for awkward angles and folds to make sure there are no missed spots.

Step 3: sand between coats

Once your first coat has dried fully, using a piece of extra fine sand paper and sand all the painted sections.

This will help to improve the finish as well as keeping the material nice a soft, so you can still sit on it!

Step 4: repeat the process 

After sanding the first coat, go in with the second coat, let that dry and sand the painted areas again. You will need to repeat this step until you have reached your desired finish. That being said, it’s important that you let the paint completely dry after eat coat before sanding and re-painting.

Once you’ve finished you can now revel in your unique creation! Painting over old upholstery can be a daunting task but the end result is so satisfying.

If you loved the process and are now itching to re-vamp every piece of furniture in your house, there are lots of other ways to makeover an upholstered chair. Try using a liquid dye to stain old fabric or making your very own slip covers. 

Why paint over upholstery instead of other methods?

There are lots of ways to makeover old furniture and upholstered chairs so, why choose to paint them?

Well, for one thing, painting takes up much less time and requires a lot less preparation than other methods such as making slip covers.

Painted materials are also easier to maintain because you will be able to wipe them clean because the paint will make them waterproof.

The only thing to consider before painting upholstery is that the feel of the fabric will change once it’s been painted so if you don’t want you furniture to lose its natural feel you could consider dying it instead.