How To: Paint a Sofa

As you probably know by now, I recently moved into my own place and have been obsessing over everything decor and furniture-related ever since. Remember when I shared some of my design inspiration photos a while back (here)? Well, I've been on the hunt for similar pieces that are more my taste, but most importantly, don't break the bank.

This couch, for example, I found on Craigslist after lusting over its newer version on The best part? I got it for less than a quarter of the price I would've paid (not including shipping!). The downside? It had a small stain, and let's face it, the pattern doesn't exactly fit into my neutral and metallic color palette.

I considered reupholstering, but after researching prices I decided to look for something that was more budget-friendly. After doing some more research, I came across this super bright idea: paint a couch. No seriously, Google it!


Here's a step-by-step guide on how to give your couch (or any furniture piece) an inexpensive makeover. Disclaimer: I chose the worst possible time to photograph this project, and so the pictures really don't do it justice. Stay tuned for an update!)

{MATERIALS} 1 Quart of latex or acrylic paint* (or 2 depending on the size of your piece) 2 Bottles textile medium (I used the brand Delta Ceramcoat—picked it up at Michael's) 1 Paintbrush (a sponge applicator, or paint roller will do) 1 Container with lid (I used a Dunkin' Donuts coffee cup from breakfast—get creative!) 1 Wood stick (you can get these for free at the hardware store!) Sandpaper (optional) Material of your choice to protect the area where you'll be painting

*Choose a finish based on the look you're going for. A satin finish will give a leather-like feel and look. I wanted a simple, matte look so I stuck with a flat, black acrylic paint.


{STEPS} 1. Use a damp cloth to wipe off any dust or debris. TIP: Dilute fabric softener with water to make couch extra fresh! Let it dry. (I used a gallon of water and cut it to make a disposable bowl to hold the solution)


2. In your container of choice, mix one part textile medium to two parts paint (following the directions on the back of the textile medium bottle). Use wood stick or similar object to stir.   3. Use paintbrush to apply thin coat of paint, following the grain of the fabric. If your piece is tufted like mine, use a smaller brush to get into the crannies. Let it dry completely.   4. Depending on what kind of fabric you're using, you may want to give your piece a good sanding (followed by a damp cloth to remove dust) to avoid stiffness.

5. Following the same steps, throw on a second coat. Let it dry.

6. Examine the piece to see if you need a third coat (i.e. patchy areas, pattern showing through, etc.). If so, you know the drill. Repeat.

7. After 24 hours, run a warm iron over all painted areas—following the directions on the back, of course—to set the textile medium.


...And voila! You now have a brand new couch.

*Note: Once painted, the furniture piece may not be the comfiest—think canvas, burlap-like material—but it will definitely be comfortable enough to sit and, say, watch TV for a few hours. Here are a few quick fixes for making the fabric feel a bit more, er, pleasant.

{TROUBLESHOOTING} *After setting the paint job with a warm iron, use fine grade sand paper to buff out particularly rough areas. This also helps even out the paint if, perhaps, you got a little carried away in one spot. *Use that same fabric softener and water solution to wipe down the entire piece once it's dry. This will soften up the fibers a bit, making the fabric more pliable.

{FINISHING TOUCHES} *To add some pizzaz and really make it look brand new, paint the wood trimming on your piece. (I plan on doing this soon, and will show the results in a different post) *Add pillows for decoration, or if you're like me, for extra comfort. I plan on ordering some from Etsy soon.

Have a question? Leave it in the comments!