How to Paint an Upholstered Chair Like a Pro: Expert Tips & Tricks!

calander Feb 24 , 2023 user-icon Nash Painting

Have an old chair that needs a new lease on life? Or maybe you're just feeling super creative and want to put a custom spin on a piece of furniture? With the proper preparation and paint selection, painting an upholstered chair is fun and rewarding. Let's take a closer look at the entire process - from preparing your furniture for painting, selecting the best type of paint for upholstery, all the way through step-by-step instructions on how to get beautiful results when you finally put brush or roller to fabric.

Table of Contents:

  • Preparing the Chair for Painting
    • Removing Upholstery:

    • Cleaning and Sanding the Chair:

  • Choosing the Right Paint for Upholstered Chairs

  • Painting an Upholstered Chair Step-by-Step
    • Applying Base Coat of Paint:

  • Conclusion

How To Paint an Upholstered Chair

Removing Upholstery:

The first step in preparing a chair for painting is to remove the upholstery. Carefully cut away the fabric covering the chair with scissors or a razor blade, being cautious not to harm any of the foam beneath. Once all of the fabric has been removed, check for staples and other fasteners and take those out as well.

Cleaning and Sanding the Chair:

After removing all of the upholstery, it’s time to clean and sand down your chair before applying primer. Start by wiping it down with a damp cloth or sponge to get rid of dust and dirt particles that could interfere with paint adhesion later on.

Now you're ready for priming. Begin by choosing an appropriate type of primer depending on what kind of material your chair is made from - wood, metal, plastic etc., then apply it evenly across the entire surface using a brush or roller until completely covered. Allow ample drying time between coats if necessary; typically one hour should suffice but always refer back to manufacturer instructions just in case.

Once the chair is prepped, you can begin painting upholstery.

"Painting an upholstered chair? Remove fabric, clean & sand down the surface, then apply primer. Get it done right with this simple step-by-step guide." #DIYProjects #Upholstery

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How to Paint an Upholstered Chair

Choosing the Right Paint for Upholstered Chairs

If you're researching how to paint an upholstered chair, you should definitely sink your teeth into the topic of paint selection. When picking the paint for painting an upholstered chair, there are several important elements to bear in mind. First, consider what kind of surface you’re working with – whether it’s fabric or wood – and choose a paint accordingly. Latex paints work best on fabric while oil-based paints are better suited for wood surfaces.

Next, decide which colors and finishes will look best in your space. If you want a more muted look, opt for matte finishes as they absorb light instead of reflecting it back into the room like glossier paints do. On the other hand, if you prefer something bolder and brighter, glossy finishes may be more suitable since they can make colors appear richer and deeper than their matte counterparts.

Viscosity can influence the sheen of various paints; thicker varieties often result in higher gloss, while thinner ones may give off a duller finish. Thicker paints also take longer to dry so plan ahead if time is an issue. Additionally, some specialty brushes or stencils may require specific types of paint in order to achieve desired effects so always check product labels before beginning.

Key Takeaway: Selecting the right paint for an upholstered chair is key to achieving a successful outcome. Consider surface material, colorfinish preferences and viscosity levels when choosing from various types of paints in order to hit it out of the park with your project.

Painting an Upholstered Chair Step-by-Step

Revamping a fabric-covered seat can be an excellent way to give it a fresh look without having to purchase another item of furniture. To ensure a successful outcome, the appropriate techniques and supplies must be employed.

Applying Base Coat of Paint:

The first step in painting an upholstered chair is applying a base coat of paint. Choose high-quality latex or acrylic paint for this task; avoid oil-based paints as they may not adhere well to fabric surfaces. Use two thin coats rather than one thick coat for better coverage and evenness. Allow each layer of paint to dry completely before adding another one on top.

Once the base coat has been applied, you may opt to further embellish your chair's surface with specialty brushes or stencils for added detail. If using brushes, choose ones that are specifically designed for painting fabric surfaces such as foam core brushes or synthetic bristle brushes. These will provide more control when creating intricate designs and patterns on your chair's surface. When using stencils, make sure they are secured firmly in place before beginning any painting work so that no mistakes occur while transferring the design onto your chair's surface.

Finally, once all painting is complete, seal the entire surface with either clear coat spray or wax depending on what type of finish you desire most (glossy vs matte). Clear coats provide extra protection against dirt and moisture while waxes create a soft sheen which helps bring out colors even more vividly than normal paints do alone - both options have their advantages. It is important to apply multiple layers of either coating until desired results are achieved before allowing them time enough time to fully dry before sitting down in your newly painted masterpiece.

Key Takeaway: Achieving a fresh, updated appearance for your furniture can be done by applying the correct materials and methods to painting an upholstered chair. Begin by applying two thin coats of high-quality latex or acrylic paint for best results, then add details with specialty brushes or stencils if desired. Finally seal the surface with either clear coat spray or wax to protect against dirt and moisture while bringing out colors even more vividly.


Painting an upholstered chair is a great way to give it a new look and feel, and it's a whole lot of fun too. Just make sure you take your time and choose the right paint, products, and approach for your type of furniture.

Have more questions about residential painting in Nashville? Contact our team at Nash Painting! We're here to help.