January 16, 2012

how to paint furniture upholstery :: a DIY sofa makeover





Do you have an old couch that’s well beyond the point of cleaning?
We did:
IMG_0115
That picture almost makes it look pretty, but here’s what it really looked like:
IMG_5751
It was big, and after months of sitting in our back room, I had no desire to take on the huge project of reupholstering it. I bought it intending to do just that, but I needed about 16-18 yards of fabric to complete the job, and I knew deep down in my heart I would buy all that fabric and never finish it {do you ever just know it’s not in you? lol!}.  So I was stuck with a couch that I couldn’t sell.
One late night as I was in bed trying to fall asleep, I was thinking of all the things I needed to do {including doing something with the couch!} and I remembered I had some of this needing to be used:
IMG_5750
and being the crazy DIY’er that I am, I jumped out of bed and found it and started painting my couch cushion. Yes, I am that weird! After I painted one side of a cushion, I went back to bed, and couldn’t fall asleep I was so excited. {even weirder, I know! ;) }
I’d read that painting furniture had lots of disadvantages like scratching, peeling, stiffness, etc., so I was super excited to try this liquid water-based stain instead of paint. It doesn’t have the same protective coating as paint since it’s just stain for wood projects, so I was hoping that would give it a softer finish and let it really soak into the upholstery.
IMG_5754
{oh, and you can get Minwax brand water-based stain tinted in any of these colors- I had the Charcoal Gray on hand for a table project, but I can totally see using any of the others too! I can’t wait to try another color!}
colors
The test cushion did very, very well, and I was so stoked, the next day I went for it. Yep. I wood-stained my big old cream couch Charcoal Gray. I started by giving it a good wipe down to clean off any surface dirt, then I just started painting the stain on it.
IMG_5758
It went right on- all you have to do is shake, open, and start painting. You’ll want to make sure you paint or roll with the grain of the fabric.
IMG_5760
I was really happy with how one coat did:
IMG_5770
IMG_5769






The only downside for me was how much stain the whole couch took. I used a can per every 7-8 square feet. And the cans were around $10 each, so I ended up spending about $70 to cover it from top to bottom with two coats. The padding seemed to absorb the stain quite a bit on the arms and back of the seats.
If you have the ability to remove your cushion covers like this, I would totally recommend it. The stain went much farther when I did:
IMG_6302IMG_6306
















Painting the whole couch twice took me around 5-6 hours, and I redid the pillows by seam ripping the cushion covers and using the original as a pattern for the new ones, then sewed  the new pillow covers to match the new gray color. {that’s a post all of it’s own!}
I ended up with this sweet little lady about 15 hours of work and close to $100 later:
IMG_7692










couch copy
I love it. The picture above was taken after 6 weeks of use, and I’m still a huge fan of the stain method. It's definitely stiffer than it was before, but you don’t notice because the back cushions are so soft and cushy.  It’s nearly waterproof, and anything you spill wipes right off.  I love the fact that my four little kids can’t destroy it. :D It’s been wearing very well, but I still kept my leftover stain in case I wanted to touch it up.
Everyone who saw it couldn’t believe it wasn’t the original couch color- they thought it was a whole new couch, and were completely surprised that I had treated it to make it gray! I totally loved that! :)
Two things I don’t like as much about the painting/staining method:
the high investment it took to redo it which I noted before, and the fact that the cushions wrinkle more than they did with the original fabric. I didn’t even notice it really until I started inspecting it the other day. It’s also dries a little shinier than regular fabric I think.
Even with all of it’s imperfections, I’m so, so excited to give it a funky brand new look! It’s so much more fun to have an adorable gray and yellow bird couch instead of a icky cream one! :D
Supplies you’ll need:
a good paintbrush and/or roller
floor covering
Minwax water-based stain tinted to your color
{how much you need will vary depending on your project, but one couch took 7-8 cans for me.}
Instructions:
1. prep your area and wipe off any surface dirt from your furniture
2. shake your stain very well
3. pour in your paint pan
4. start painting with the grain of your fabric {be gentle- it’ll splash easily!}
5. let each coat dry to the touch
6. like walls, when you can’t see the original fabric color at all, you’re done
7. enjoy your brand new furniture without having to reupholster!
*results may vary, so try this at your own risk! as with all DIY projects, we are not experts so of course, any particular method or outcome is not guaranteed or necessarily deemed safe or reliable. We’re just using the resources we have to make something old look new again. :) Good luck, and let me know how it goes if  you try it!
linking up at Savvy Southern Style, Blue Cricket Designs, It’s Overflowing, and The Thrifty Home, Thrifty Decor Chick, and HomeStoriesAtoZ.

69 comments:

  1. Came over from TDC...wow this took lots of guts. Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  2. It looks awesome! I love the gray and yellow. I have a couple of questions...does the smell dissipate? Also, do you think this method would work on a velvet type fabric?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, thats great. Does it rub off at all? Like onto little peoples sweaty clothes?

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a great idea! I have been thinking about doing something different to my furniture upholstery, but I didn't know what to do to make it different. I think I'm going to try this out. It looks great!

    ReplyDelete
  5. lovelylittlewhimsyJanuary 29, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    That is brilliant! Did it put off any strong fumes?

    ReplyDelete
  6. That looks amazing! Do you think it would work on a textured fabric? It's not microfibre but it's a course fabric that is a light beige color so with 2 kids and a dog, it gets so dirty.... i hope the pic that i've posted will show the type of fabric..... ps: i'm not very diy savey but you have totally inspired me!

    ReplyDelete
  7. hmmm. it looks like it might absorb the stain at a different rate than mine did...they sell sample sizes though at Lowe's if you wanted to maybe try it underneath the back side of the sofa? I'd love to hear if you do try it! :D

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a wonderful transformation!!I am wondering if this would work on a velour type fabric?

    ReplyDelete
  9. oh thank you Korrie!! :D

    ReplyDelete
  10. It covered very well, very much like a thin paint- maybe you could cut out a piece underneath, buy a sample, and try it out? I would love to hear if it does!! Please let me know! :D

    ReplyDelete
  11. Interesting! In your living room redo pics before I saw a leather couch. What happened to that one?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow, is there anything you can't do? :)
    It looks amazing and I LOVE the pillows!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have never heard of this before. It looks amazing!
    Regards from Luxembourg!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Amazing transformation, you know that you couldn't have bought new fabric and done the reupholstery job for a tenth that price. So great savings and time investment. I love your back cushions.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow!, that looks really good. I never would have guessed that you could paint your couch with wood stain and have it look so fabulous. Great job! I love the pillow cushion fabric too.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Please tell me where you got the yellow fabric?? Hopefully I can get my hands on some for my master bdrm! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I don't know what's weirder, the fact that you painted your couch or the fact that I have the exact same couch with the exact same fabric and it looks exactly the same (worn out). I bought it at a thrift store several years ago b/c it was super comfy. I too had big plans to reupholster. Maybe now I'll just go pick up a couple cans of wood stain!

    ReplyDelete
  18. That is just a crazy awesome idea!

    ... would you like to share at our multi-blog "Imagine the Impossibilities" link party? I think everyone would really enjoy it as much as I ...

    Here's the link: http://www.itallstartedwithpaint.com/2012/01/imagine-impossibilities-2012-link-party.html

    We stay live until Friday midnight (CST). Hope to see you at the party!

    Linda
    itallstartedwithpaint@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. Amazing! I cant believe it worked! way to Go!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I NEVER would have had the guts to try this, I think you deserve some type of Ultimate DIY-er Award for this amazing transformation. I have some "great" floral grandma-esque couches that the sellers of our house left behind. They are in great condition, but they are UGGG-LYYY!!! You have me thinking...hmmm. I, too, lie in bed and think up crazy craft projects. thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  21. So cool! Can you do a tutorial on the Premier Fabrics cushions?

    maxwellhouseinteriors.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  22. This is so pretty!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Wow! It's beautiful! How long did it take for everything to dry?

    ReplyDelete
  24. This looks awesome. I think the investment wasn't too bad considering reupulstering would have cost alot more.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Aimee from ItsOverflowingJanuary 29, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    Love it to pieces!! Thanks so much for linking up to Overflowing with Creativity!! Have you entered my giveaway yet?

    XO, Aimee

    Customizable Frames, Signs, Wall Decor

    ReplyDelete
  26. There is a product that is made just for painting upolstery. It's called "Simpy Spray Fabric Paint". I have not used it yet but I plan on using it on some parson chairs.

    ReplyDelete
  27. It doesn't rub off on lighter colored fabrics or bare legs if you are sitting on it in shorts?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Jessica @ Decor AdventuresJanuary 29, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    Hi Mandy, Great project and such an amazing tutorial. I might try this sometime. Can I ask what the feel of the fabric is with the stain? Is it like the original fabric or rougher? I've seen some people sand their painted furniture, so I was wonderinf if you did that or didn't need to. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Fabulous ! I love this. You are daring and brillant. Love the durability of the fabric now. Keep getting these great ideas...!!!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Kelly @ Eclectically VintageJanuary 29, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    Who knew! It looks amazing - the color is fab! New follower here.
    Kelly

    ReplyDelete
  31. we still have the leather, we just got rid of a chaise lounge! :D

    ReplyDelete
  32. love us night-DIY dreamers! :D

    ReplyDelete
  33. I do have that lined up! :D

    ReplyDelete
  34. no, it is totally waterproof/rub proof. We never had a single issue with it. :D

    ReplyDelete
  35. Oh my goodness, you are sweet! :D thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Around 1-2 hours depending on the saturation level.

    ReplyDelete
  37. heheee! that's awesome!! go for it! :D I want to hear how it goes! :D

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hancock fabrics! {our local fabric store}

    ReplyDelete
  39. LOL! thanks friend! :D

    ReplyDelete
  40. Awesome! What a great alternative to re-upholstery. Budget friendly too. Great save! Love the cushion covers too. :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. Thank you Kelly! so glad you are here! :D

    ReplyDelete
  42. Woww, what a transformation!! I'd never have the guts to PAINT a sofa :) It turned out gorgeous!! Great job :)

    ReplyDelete
  43. Found you at Sarah's place... love your couch! great job.
    gail

    ReplyDelete
  44. IMSTEELEFULLOFSCRAPJanuary 29, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    Had a lil chuckle reading your post I do the same thing and then up all night!! Love the couch I will be trying this for sure

    ReplyDelete
  45. Jane @ urbanejane.comJanuary 29, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    Hi Mandy!
    I am a new follower of your blog & am totally inspired by your project! I'll be featuring it on my blog this week, so feel free to drop on by and grab a button! (and hey! I'm also a lover of JC too!) ;)
    all the best!
    -urbanejane.com

    ReplyDelete
  46. Karah ThespacebetweenblogJanuary 29, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    This is so AWESOME! Thanks for all of the deets. I'm so surprised to hear how much it took. I've been thinking of painting my sofas for a long time now...and making new covers for the cushions to avoid the stiffness...now you have my wheels spinning. Awesome job!!
    Karah

    ReplyDelete
  47. Very cute. I don't think it'll work on our ugly couch-guess I just have to keep looking

    ReplyDelete
  48. I love it so much! The yellow and grey is gorgeous and so much better than getting a slipcover or having to reupholster the whole thing!

    ReplyDelete
  49. Thank you sweet lady!! :D

    ReplyDelete
  50. Beth @ Free Stylin'January 29, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    This is seriously the coolest thing ever!! Your before and after pics are amazing. Really really great job!!!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Neat! I have used a few different paints on upholstery, and this is a new one. Check out my blog, www.apinterestaddict.com
    www.hypheninteriors.com has also done a few upholstery paint jobs and posts about other people's triumphs with it too!

    ReplyDelete
  52. You are SUCH a brave woman! I think it looks great, and GOOD FOR YOU for figuring out a way to work with what you have!

    ReplyDelete
  53. I'm wondering if thinning up the stain would work at all. I've read several different furniture painting tutorials and they all thin out whatever they are using with water or match it with some kind of fabric medium. I have a wing back chair on deck, but I think I will try this and a thinning agent on the next accent chair I tackle.

    ReplyDelete
  54. This looks so great! I have two hideous floral couches... I'm not sure how it would look with the fabric pattern, but I'm willing to give it a try. Thanks so much for sharing! - Julie @ http://ten51design.com/

    ReplyDelete
  55. Does the upholstery paint make the fabric stiff and uncomfortable to sit on?

    ReplyDelete
  56. I love that you were gutsy enough to try this. I've been juggling that thought in my head for a few weeks now but can't get myself to do it. Every time I see painted sofa's I get pumped again. I had never seen wood stain used for this, however. Hmmmm, the wheels in my head are turning again. Question though, how was the smell after drying? Thanks for sharing. LOVE IT!

    ReplyDelete
  57. This turned out so great! Do you think this technique would work on Microfiber as well?

    ReplyDelete
  58. It looks good.

    My only concern with this would be the exposure to whatever chemicals are in that stain on your skin. I realize it is water based. But I don't know what else is in it and that skin to couch contact would be iffy for me.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Yes, I agree, even though it's water based, that was the first thing that came to my mind, the chemical exposure leaching through the fabric into the skin, and also the fact that now that couch is more flammable than it was before. I think it looks great, but I'm very boring when it comes to health and safety versus aesthetics. Would love answers to those questions before I'd try it.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Hi, just regarding my comment to Krismays, I'm wondering if you could tell me if "Simply Spray Fabric Paint" comes with any chemical or flammable warnings? Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  61. You're one smart lady! I just found your blog and I love it, keep it up! :)

    ReplyDelete
  62. That is FANTASTIC! What a cool DIY project! Love the results too :) I also scheme projects in my sleep....haha! I saw the idea of painting upholstered furniture on pinterest too. Here's a link to a tutorial on how she did it...she used latex paint, fabric medium and lots of water. Nice job!

    http://www.hypheninteriors.com/2011/03/painted-upholstery-process-revealed.html

    ReplyDelete
  63. It's beautiful, but what does it feel like (she asks while remembering her ruined, stiffened by acrylic paint spattered jeans from her art school days)??? :-(

    ReplyDelete
  64. Jen the CraftinCowgirlJanuary 29, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    How clever! It looks great! I have a cream/tan couch I was planning on burning out back (we live in the country!) but I might have to give this a go. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  65. OK, great innovator, it's been more than a year since you followed your muse and used wood stain to change your couch. I've got a couch-- a couple of them in fact that are in serious need. Can you let us know anything after a year of use in a real live living room?

    How is it wearing? Has the texture softened at all? Do spills still just wipe right off?

    I'd love to know, as I am either going to paint or stain the first couch in the next month.

    I have the problem of a lot of dog hair in the house. For a couple of years, I've been satisfied with a slip cover, but today it is in the wash, and I got to looking at the upholstery fabric. It is in great condition, and dog and cat hair would not be a problem on it, but it was stained when I got it, (habitat for humanity find) and the colors just don't fit.

    Thanks a bazillion

    ReplyDelete
  66. I too would be worried about toxicity, especially with children.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Hi, I just tried tis yesterday and even though it is very stiff, it looks so much better than before!

    ReplyDelete
  68. So I have been following you for almost two years, I started following you after I found this post! I did try it infact (I changed it a little bit) and it is still our main couch that we use every day and love! Thanks for your post! Here's a pic of mine! ( http://blissfullychicdiy.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-painted-couchyes-i-said-painted.html )

    ReplyDelete
  69. Like you I have a cream couch and because I am usually neat person, I expected this color would last in my home. I didn't factor that I would have guests who would sit on the couch with dark jeans, bring children with sticky little fingers, or children driking and spilling formula. While I love the company, it has surely taken a toll on my poor couch and it now looks awful. All the throws in the world cannot give me relief for what lies beneath lol Your idea was spot on and I'm so glad, I stumbled upon this site. I was planning to take on a project of upholstering with cloth but this is so much clever and not as time consuming. I plan on diving in this weekend, and will let you know the results. Thanks and God bless. Please check out my blog for women dealing with depression at www.joyinmysoul.com

    ReplyDelete

Oh, thank you so much for leaving a comment! I read every single one, and try to respond if I can! Thank you for being a part of the {bh} community!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...