There was a chair in our bedroom at the cabin that we’ve had since we purchased the house eight years ago. I call it the ‘Frazier’ chair. I think you can guess why.
It was one of those rushed purchases we all get sucked into from time to time. Suffice it to say I’ve never liked it, and when I started reading about success stories from people who have painted their upholstered furniture I figured I had nothing to lose. I had been meaning to either sew a slipcover for the chair or get rid of it completely, so I gave painting it a try.
Our bedroom at the cabin is not big by any means, and I’ve always felt this chair, among other things, was a bit too bulky for the space. I have to admit it was pretty comfy though. It rocked and swiveled which I liked, but I rarely sat in this spot and you know what they say…have nothing that is not functional and/or beautiful in your home.
So what went wrong, you might ask? Well, what DIDN’T go wrong?! For starters, I had everything working against me with this project. Yes, upholstery can be painted with excellent results, provided you are starting with the right components.
As soon as I took paintbrush to fabric, I knew I was in trouble. The fabric on this chair is basically a corduroy, which eats up the paint like a sponge. In fact, I couldn’t brush on the paint, I had to stipple it on. That white diagonal line you see on the chair back is not the light, but a part of the chair I heavily stippled.
The chair below was after more than 3 coats, with each coat taking more than an hour. Not only was the fabric not appropriate for this project, but putting light paint over a dark fabric is a lot more time consuming than the other way around and not a great idea.
Could I have finished this with decent results? Maybe. But I would have had to put so many coats on that there’s no way the paint wouldn’t have hardened and the chair would not have been anything I or anyone else would have wanted to sit on, even with sanding between coats. Not to mention it would have taken many, many hours of stippling, which is really tiring. So I knew it was time to admit defeat.
It just so happened my friend was looking to get rid of a rocking chair so I decided to put the white rocker we originally had in this spot in the living room in the bedroom and this one in its place.
I gave it a quick sand and a coat of Danish Oil and it’s good to go.
And here’s the other rocker which I think looks far better than Frazier did.
So now there’s a chair that used to have a home that is sitting in our driveway waiting for the day we can put it on the curb for pickup, another chair that has a new spot at the cabin and yet another chair that has a completely new home.
If you’re thinking of painting upholstery, I say go for it. Just make sure the fabric you’re trying to cover will take the paint well, or you’ll be calling your town’s trash department too for pick up :/.