How to Paint Upholstered Furniture

How to Paint Upholstered Furniture with a Soft Texture

Tell me… how many beautiful pieces have you passed up because you didn’t want to shoulder the cost of reupholstering? Breathing new life into beat up and stained fabric chairs doesn't have to require a hefty investment. With a little paint and fabric medium you can transform a dull and dated chair into something amazing!

Let's address some common questions first...

Does the kind of paint I use matter?

Yes, it definitely does! Especially if you want to achieve the softest possible texture. There are bloggers out there who have demonstrated using chalk paint, spray on paint, mineral paint, milk paint, Rit dye, etc. However only a latex and water-based paint, like Porch Nook, will give you the softest end result when combined with a textile medium. From my experience, the other methods leave a stiffer, more leather-like finish.

Is this technique durable?

Yes, it is. However, if you have pets with claws and/or children who may use your piece like a may be best to put this project on hold.

Will the paint hide the existing texture of the upholstery?

How to Paint Upholstered Furniture with a Soft Texture

(Porch Nook colors: (Ol' Faithful, Chance of Rain)

No. Painting your piece will only change its color, not its texture. For example, if the stitching has a raised floral pattern that floral pattern will not go away. I personally love transforming the texture into a looks so sleek!

Be emotionally prepared...

The fabric's texture will not remain the same regardless of which paint product you use. It will be stiffer like an outdoor/patio cushion. However, a latex and water-based paint, like Porch Nook, will give you the softest end result when combined with a textile medium. Consider doing a spot test in an inconspicuous area and feel it before painting the whole thing.

Supply List

"Charcoal" chalky finish paint by Porch Nook Delta Creative Ceramcoat Acrylic Paint (8-Ounce), 0802 Textile Medium Miller Manufacturing PS32RED Plastic All Purpose Pest Spray Bottle for Dogs and Horses, 32-Ounce       Rock Ridge Tools Variety Pack of Foam Sponge Wood Handle Paint Brush Set (Value Pack 10). Lightweight, Durable and Great for Acrylics, Stains, Varnishes, Crafts and Art Projects for Kids and Adults 3M Pro-Pak 99411NA 9"by11" Garnet Sand Paper Sheets 220 Grit - 25 Pack

(Disclosure: I receive commission for purchases made using Amazon links in my article. I appreciate your support!)

Step 1 - Prep

The first step is to give the chairs a quick cleaning. Remove any debris, dirt or dust. Scrub the chairs with a damp sponge and let them dry completely. Place the chair on top of a plastic sheet.

Step 2 – Mix Porch Nook paint and Delta Creative textile medium

Use a ratio of 1 part paint : 1 part textile medium: 2 parts warm water

Step 3 – Wet the fabric

Use your spray bottle to wet down the fabric. This helps the paint go on in smoother and thinner coats. The fabric doesn’t need to be wet, just damp. If you try to paint the diluted mixture on the fabric directly it will tend to run, and this process is messy enough without your paint dripping off the fabric.

Step 4 – Apply paint


(Porch Nook colors: Kiddie Pool)

How to paint upholstery with Porch Nook chalky finish paintApply Porch Nook paint by following the natural grain of the fabric. (TIP: Resist the temptation to apply a thick layer of paint in order to reduce the number coats.) After applying the first coat allow the paint to dry completely for a few hours. Once the paint is dry, check to see if a second coat is required. The number of coats needed depends on the color/pattern of the chair, the color of the paint you use, and how thick you apply it. 

Example of pilling

I highly recommend sanding every coat with a fine 220 grit sandpaper for several reason: 1) removes pilling that may occur, 2) breaks down the fibers to help achieve even coverage of next coat, 3) it softens the fabric. Be sure each coat has dried completely before sanding.

How to paint fabric upholstery by Porch Nook

(Porch Nook colors: Kiddie Pool, Ol' Faithful)


How to Paint Upholstered Furniture with a Soft Texture

(Porch Nook colors: Custom Color)


How to Paint Upholstered Furniture with a Soft Texture

(Porch Nook colors: Nantucket)

And – voila, you’re done! If you want to achieve a more unique flare, bring out the stencils and have fun. Or, adhere acrylic rhinestone jewels into the tufting’s existing buttons for a little bling action!

How to paint fabric upholstery by Porch Nook

(Porch Nook colors: Monarch)


  • Would the MEDIUM TEXTILE work just as well as a Sealer if applied AFTER the Upholstery has been Painted?

  • This is cool
    Did not know you could do this!

    Sandra Shaw
  • Hi again
    So how does the fabric feel after it dries?

  • Where is this paint sold
    I live in CA. Zip code 92223


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