Painted Chair for the Bedroom

This is another step in the bedroom re-do.  I had been wanting a chair to go by the closet.  We had a big empty space, and a pretty wing-back chair would fit perfectly.  I had seen lots of posts about painting upholstery, and being that the whole bedroom has pretty much been a DIY project, I figured why not?

I scoured our local thrift store and found lots of nice chairs, but the cheapest I saw was $15, and it was not so nice...  The good, sturdy ones were $30.  I didn't want to spend $30 on something that I may end up throwing away, so I passed.  On the way home, I passed by the new thrift store right by my house.  They had some items in their parking lot, including a blue velvet wing-back with a $10 PRICE TAG!!  Pretty much as fast as my car could turn safely, I booked it into the lot and bought the chair.

After much deliberation, and with the help of friends via Facebook and Instagram, I chose to paint the chair a taupe color to match the bedspread. I bought a quart in Satin.

After lots of research into different techniques, I noticed that each had one thing in common: Textile Medium.  (I could only find this at Hobby Lobby.  It's in the section with the t-shirts and fabric paints.  Don't ask the lady up front.  She will be no help to you.)  What none of the posts really put an emphasis on was exactly how much textile medium I was going to need.  For my chair, each coat of paint took an entire bottle of the stuff! I bought three bottles total for three coats of paint.  Make sure you bring a couple friends with you to take advantage of the 40% off an item coupon that Hobby Lobby has.  At $5.99 a bottle, you'll need it.

For the first coat of paint, I mixed equal parts paint and medium: 4 oz. of each.  It will be really watery, and that is fine.  The first coat is just to prime the fabric. Before you try to paint the fabric, spray it down with water.  This will help the paint to go on more smoothly and evenly.  Otherwise, you will use a ton more paint. 

Another important step is sanding in between coats.  I would paint one coat at night, let it dry overnight, and sand it down in the morning.  I sanded with fine-grit sandpaper in small circles.  The paint didn't flake off; it just allowed the fibers more movement and made them less stiff.

For the second coat, I mixed one part textile medium with 1.5 parts paint: 4 oz medium and 6 oz paint.  This made the color more saturated.

Again, don't forget to wet the fabric before you paint it, and sand it down after the second coat.

For the third coat, I kept my 1:1.5 ratio, wetting the fabric before I painted it.  Wetting the fabric is really important! Otherwise, the paint won't spread.  

My sweet pea got in on the sanding action, too! She climbed right up in the chair!

After the third coat was sanded, the chair was finally complete!  I am thrilled with the results!

Helpful Hints that I wish I had known before starting

1. CHOOSE ANY OTHER FABRIC BESIDES VELVET!!!! Seriously, it absorbed SO much paint.
2. If you choose to ignore my warning and buy a velvet chair anyway, DO NOT BUY A TUFTED VELVET CHAIR!!!!! Oh my gosh, the folds and the buttons.  So many folds and buttons.....
3.  Always wet your fabric before you paint it.
4. Sand between each coat of paint.
5. The chair will look worse before it looks better.  That first coat of paint looks pretty while wet, but it will dry into an ugly mess and leave you questioning yourself and your decision-making capabilities.
6. You will need way more textile medium than originally thought.  Save yourself trips to the store by buying the 8 oz bottles.  Buy one for each coat you think you'll do.  You can always take them back if you don't end up needing them. It'd be better than having to stop when each bottle runs out.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!  This was a fun project, and I will probably try it again sometime... just with a different fabric ;)


  1. Your chair looks awesome! Great job! Two questions though. Do you use any kind of paint? Does the chair feel stiff?
    Thank you!

  2. I used regular wall paint from Lowe's in a satin finish. And the chair is very stiff, but that's because it was velvet. Regular upholstery is better for this project.

  3. I did a few chairs as well. I haven't done one with the nailheads. How did you work with those? Did you just paint over them?

  4. I did a few chairs as well. I haven't done one with the nailheads. How did you work with those? Did you just paint over them?

  5. I painted around them as best as I could and then wiped them off immediately to remove excess paint from the tops.


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