Yes! You can update Upholstery with Paint.

The biggest question I here is will the fabric stay soft. The answer is YES but not as soft as it was. That's the honest truth and don't believe anyone who tells you otherwise.

The trick with painting upholstery is to use a highly pigmented chalk style paint. The reason I don't usually use latex is that it gets rubbery and may even peel over time.

The elements that make chalk paint work are the same reasons that it works well of fabric. Super high concentrations of pigment and no rubbery binding agents.

I  like to use Debi's Design Diary (5132 Baltimore Ave. Hyattsville, MD Across from Franklins)

Debi's Design Diary will require a top coat to seal the fabric if you want to use it immediately. The pigment will “set” on its own over time, without requiring anything else.  Since Debi’s paints are designed to be water soluble until sealed, this can work against you if you are in a hurry.

Debi has a famous youtube video where she painted her whole couch. She never sealed it and has used it for years BUT she waited a month for the paint to set completely.

Debi's painted green couch

On, the other hand, Dixie Belle paint requires no sealant so you can paint fabric without anything having to put anything else on top of the paint. This allows for a softer texture in the end.

How to Paint upholstery and sectionals Tanglewood Sue

How to Paint Upholstery - Purple Corner Chair - Tanglewood Sue

How to Paint Upholstery, sofas sectionals and fabric furniture Tanglewood Sue

When I want a really strong POP of color I have worked in acrylic paints but I only do this when the piece is more of an artistic staging element than a piece of furniture meant for everyday use

How to Paint Upholstery Victorian Pink Sofa Tanglewood Sue

The first step is to assess the the piece you would like to transform. Is it a big comfy velvet couch? Be prepared for a big project! That's totally doable. 


If this is your first painted upholstery project here is what I recommend:

1. Start with a a dining chair cushion. You’re not gonna curl up with a book and get all cozy here. You just need to update those stained seats and be able to wipe them off easily again right.

2. Next move onto a firm chair. I say firm because tweed works really well to absorb paint and the texture will not significantly change once painted.

How to Paint Upholstery - Wingback chair before Tanglewood Sue

How to Paint Upholstery Blue Painted Wingback Chair Tanglewood Sue


For more in depth “How to” please grab my Love the LIVE bundle “Painting Upholstery” It includes live examples of painting fabric AND a full edited video on how I painted this multicolor wingback chair. The good news: it's only $10. Purchase the diy painting tutorial here. 


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1 comment

I was trying to upload the tutorial for painting fabric – and it shows un-available. can you help me?
thank you

Jenny dugano

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