Decorating Idea: Don’t Reupholster It, Paint It!

If you don't know how to reupholster a chair, try spray painting the fabric instead. Here's how to do it.

Ever notice how one home improvement project leads to another and another? Paint the bedroom and suddenly the carpet looks worn. Replace a light fixture and whoa, where did those cracks in the ceiling come from?

So what happens if you roll-on a nice, fresh coat of buttery “‘Da Vinci’s Canvas”’ paint (Benjamin Moore, 208), and you’ve hung warm, rich Vignette modern roman shades (Hunter Douglas) in the living room and now that formerly charming side chair looks really shabby?

You could reupholster the chair. (See How to Reupholster a Chair.) You could buy a new chair. Or you could try painting the chair! Not the wood or metal parts—the fabric. Really!

Simply Spray Upholstery Fabric PaintSimply Spray Upholstery Fabric Paint, about $13 per can, dries and stays soft and is permanent and fade resistant. It’s also nonflammable and emits no fumes. It works best on solid colors, but I’ve seen photos of patterned fabric that turned out surprisingly well. And it’s easy to find at Michaels, Joann Fabric & Craft stores and many online retailers.

To test the paint, I grabbed a sad office chair and gave this makeover-in-a-can a go. First I protected the chrome parts with Glad Press ‘n Seal.(This product works great for paint protection—it stretches and conforms to any shape, and you can tuck it right into seams and crevices.) And although this paint washes off your hands, slip on some disposable gloves and save yourself the mess. The directions that come with Simply Spray Upholstery Fabric Paint are simple and thorough. I was a little surprised that I needed two cans to finish this office chair. But even at that, 26 bucks for a new-looking chair is not bad.

My conclusion: If you have a piece of upholstered furniture, or cushions or pillows that are in good shape but just need a facelift, give Simply Spray Upholstery Fabric Paint a shot. If you’ve tried Simply Spray or a similar product, tell us how it turned out.

Find Simply Spray Fabric Paint at or through our affiliation with Simply Spray Fabric Paint

— Mary Flanagan, Associate Editor

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