I Painted My Couch!

Hi friends! Have you ever started a project and thought “What have I gotten myself into?” I had met my Waterloo. I could have started with a small upholstered chair seat but no, I had to paint my huge living room sofa that we use every day. Well, you know what they say about painting a couch, once you start there is no turning back.


This is how the couch started out, it was all the rage back in 1988, and while I like the shape of it the colors were not my cup of tea.  Also, the skirt has to go.


And after a few hours of labor (and skeptical looks from my family) this is what I ended up with:


Watch the video to see the transformation and learn what to do and what no to do when painting your fabric furniture! The step-by-step tutorial is about 14 minutes, after that I go over troubleshooting and frequently asked questions so if you are considering painting a couch stick around til the end.


Supplies from Heirloom Traditions Paint SAVE 10% with coupon code FRUGAL
Fab! Tinted and All in One Primer/Sealer
Chalk Paint in Basque and A La Mode
Chalk Paint Brushes

Other supplies: Kraft paper bag, fine grit sanding sponge, vacuum

1. Apply a coat of Fab tinted primer on clean and vacuumed fabric. Let dry and sand with a paper bag.
2. Apply a coat of chalk paint, do not dilute with water. Let dry.
3. Sand fabric gently with a sanding sponge, then follow up with a brown bag.
4. Repeat sets 2 & 3 if desired. I did one coat because I liked having the strips show through.
5. Apply one coat of Fab! All in One sealer and let dry. Finish with a light paper bag sanding.

ALWAYS vacuum after sanding and before proceeding with another coat of finish.

By using these supplies and following these steps your painted furniture will not peel, crack or transfer color to anyone’s clothing. the FAB! makes your water based paint more flexible and durable so it can move with your fabric upholstery. It also makes your fabric easier to wash which would be great for a playroom or outdoor furniture! Honestly my couch is a bit stiffer than it was originally but the final coat of FAB! softened it noticeably so see the project through to the end!

Project estimates:
Large couch:3 fab kits (more if porous material) 2 quarts paint
Love seat: 2 fab kits, 1 quart paint
Chair: 1 fab kit, 1 quart paint (you will have leftovers so make accent pieces!) If you have a set of chairs with upholstered seats only a quart of paint and i FAB! kit should suffice.

Let me know if you have questions in the comments below and good luck!I want to thank Heirloom Traditions Paint for sponsoring this post and thank you for stopping by! Til next time happy crafting!

16 Responses

  1. Lindsay, this is awesome. I had no idea you could paint indoor fabric. It looks great, I am sure the picture does not do it justice. I always learn so much from your videos. Thanks


  2. You are fearless!!!! I would never tackle a project like this!!! It turned out GREAT…..good job!!!


  3. Only you, Lindsay, would be brave enough to do this and pull it off beautifully!!


  4. Very nice. I would of panicked way before the end.


  5. Do you think this would work on Naugahyde?


    • I am not sure, is that a kind of leather? You can ask Paula at Heirloom traditions, she would know:)


  6. Lindsey, I love the style of the couch and the color you picked out. We just had some chairs from the 60’s reupholstered. Painting would have saved a lot of $$$


  7. My sister and I painted a cheap rug once, it turned out great. We used paper and plastic bags for brushes and craft paint. What the heck, your sofa needed a change, it’s from 1988 you made it an even wiser investment.


  8. where is the video? I don’t see where can click and see.Sorry


  9. Hi! Great job! I really like the look of your painted couch.


  10. I saw this done on an episode of Flea Market Flip but with a chair and ottoman. I was skeptical but the project appeared to be successful with no paint ending up on the back of anyone’s clothing. However, your sofa project is a true professional job with results that will last much longer and wear better than using ordinary paint as was done in that episode. Great job, love the colors! I wish you could bottle your talent!!


  11. Kristen I thought of you and your pink couch! You are the type of person who I thought would do this! Kind of like a project I would tackle too! Greet Denice for me! Love mom


  12. Love it! Sofas that are have one cushion and a solid back are so hard to find, but they are so much more comfortable. Painting is a good idea to modernize it.


  13. Hi Lindsay,
    I have seen many different forms of this. As a fabric dyer, I am familiar with many of the products out there to achieve this same look. Any paint, latex or acrylic, may be used as long as a textile medium is added to the paint & mixed thoroughly. I have seen this done by a number of quilt artists and it always seems to look good and wear well. Thanks for a great video.


  14. I had never seen or heard of this before. But now that i have seen it it looks good


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