Revive Old Upholstery with Paint

DIY chair makeover
Give upholstered furniture a fresh face with chalk paint. You can paint the upholstery a solid color, or take it to the next level with a fun painted design -- it's easy with our free flower pattern and step-by-step how-to.

What You'll Need

Clean cloth

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (We used Old White, Emperor's Silk, Henrietta, Florence, and Antibes Green.)


Fine-grit sandpaper

Tack cloth

Rose and leaf patterns (below)

Paint pen

Clear wax coating

Painter's tape

Yes, you can actually paint upholstered furniture and give a tired piece a brand new look. Learn how, plus what type of paint to use, and the secrets to success.

The Basics

Watch and learn the secrets to successfully painting upholstered furniture. 

Step 1

Use a wet cloth to dampen the chair upholstery fabric in workable sections.

Step 2

Apply paint to the fabric. If needed for complete coverage, apply a second coat while the first is still damp. The damp fabric allows the paint to glide on easily and soak into the fabric. Continue to dampen and paint fabric in workable sections until the surface is covered. Let dry. 

Step 3

To smooth and soften the painted surface, sand the fabric lightly with fine-grit sandpaper. Wipe with a tack cloth to remove the residue.

Step 4

Enlarge the rose and leaf patterns as desired and copy on ink-jet removable adhesive paper. Cut out. Transfer the shapes onto the chair fabric, adhering one pattern at a time and tracing with a paint pen.

Step 5

Fill in the shapes with desired paint colors. Let dry. If you like, use a white paint pen to write numbers to mimic a paint-by-number design.

Step 6

To seal the paint, apply a clear wax coating to the fabric.

Step 7

Use painter’s tape to mask and protect the painted fabric. Apply paint to the wood frame. We used one coat to allow some of the original dark finish to show. Let dry.

Step 8

Sand the wood surfaces as desired to achieve a distressed finish. Wipe with a tack cloth.

Step 9

To protect the finish, apply clear wax to the wood surfaces.

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