A GAZILLION. That’s how many couch painting tutorials there are out there.
Even though I painted a dingy, old rug last summer, I needed some insight from these tutorials since rugs and couches have different comfort requirements. However, after browsing through a few, I realized that the results were a mixed bag of positives and negatives.
Toying with the idea of painting a couch or chair?
Here’s the lowdown on my couch painting experience to help you decide whether or not to move forward or to just buy a slipcover…
So You’re Painting a Couch…
After weeks of scouring the town for inexpensive wicker loveseats, I opted for a somewhat hideous $50 deal on Craigslist. Here are the deets on the piece:
Item: Green and Orange French Provincial Couch
Fabric: Velvet/Burlap-y mix
Fun Feature: Couch can be split into two love seats
Purpose: Seating for my enclosed porch
What Type of Paint Should You Use?
Some tutorials suggested chalk paint, others high-gloss acrylic and some that super-expeinsive-yet-handy fabric paint.
Since I was on a tight budget AND because I hate waste, I chose to use a mixture of all the white and gray paints I’ve been acquiring over the years since moving into our fixer-upper. Here are the deets on my paint:
Paint Types Used: Semi-gloss acrylic porch paint, flat interior acrylic paint
Total Coats Applied: 2 coats
Total Gallons Used: 1-1/2 gallons
Tools: A beat up paintbrush. Use a circular motion to get into the fibers. (Don’t bother with a roller.)
To keep the colors uniform, I dumped all my paints into a 5-gallon bucket and gave them a good mix.
By the end of two coats, my brush looked like this. Not a project for your best paintbrush. This one was maybe $1.50 at Lowe’s.
The First Coat
Here is what my obnoxiously bright couch looked like after the first coat:
Texture: The crushed areas of velvet turned out smoother. The taller patches of velvet were trickier to paint and came out crunchy.
Color: Though muted, the green and orange were still visible after 1 coat.
Materials: 80-Grit Sandpaper, belt/orbital sander optional, vacuum cleaner
Drying Time: Allow paint to dry at least 8 hours or overnight before sanding
Painting Time: 2 hours per coat maximum
Sanding Time: 1 hour per sanding maximum
Fabric type and color vibrancy will GREATLY determine your results, but one thing is for certain: Sanding after each coat is the key to smoothing out any crunchiness!
Will sanding remove the paint you just applied?
It will remove some, but definitely not all. Painting the fabric also stains the fabric so a few sweeps from the sander is worth sacrificing a little surface paint. Vacuum after each sanding.
The Second Coat
After a second coat of paint and another round of sanding, I was pleased with the results.
Color: Gray and uniform, a few barely noticeable speckles of green along the edges left after sanding
Texture: A mix between burlap and leather; smooth yet slightly rough like outdoor cushion fabric; sweat-inducing like leather
Total Cost: $60 ($50 for couch, $10 for a supplementary gallon of gray “oops” paint)
Total Time: less than 8 hours (not including drying time)
Options: For a smoother, less-sweaty sitting experience, drape a light cotton sheet or blanket over the cushion. With time and use, the texture should soften further.
Verdict: Thumbs up!
Since my painted couches are being used in our enclosed porch (which we call the Rumpus Room), I think it is a-okay for them to have a leathery texture.
However, if you are looking to paint a couch to go in your living room or other cozy area:
- Choose a couch that has a smooth fabric instead of thick, velvety fabric
- Sand first with an 80-grit paper and then finish the surface with a finer grit
- Consider using chalkboard paint, fabric spray paint or even wood stain
- If anything, opt for a slipcover 🙂
I was really worried that I wouldn’t find seating in time for the deadline of the August Room Challenge hosted by Thrift Diving. But now I have two beautiful loveseats in the perfect color for the perfect price, AND I was able to use up a lot of space-hogging paint.
Yes, in this situation, painting a couch is worth it!