Steps to Paint Upholstery

You have a big old fabric chair, and you don’t want to let go. But one thing you wish is to restore it to its past glory where it represented the center of attraction in the room.

But you have your misgivings – the wrong kind of approach, and you can ruin it. You feel you can only trust the chair upgrade with yourself. This is when fabric spray painting comes into the picture. With the right fabric spray, you can upgrade the look of your chair.

Is Your Chair Suitable for Spray Painting?

First, you have to determine if the chair is suitable for the paint job, and then you have to choose the right materials. When it comes to spray painting upholstery, the most suitable fabrics include polyester blends and cotton. Fortunately, this is the most common material that is used to make furniture upholstery.

You can test the spray on a piece of fabric similar to the one that you plan to paint. This way you have an idea of the finished process and the feel. Some materials are challenging to paint, such as thick woven fabrics and velvet. However, with the right approach, you can still handle this kind of fabrics.

Choosing the Paint

You need to use the right fabric spray paint for this task from a reputable supplier such as Choose the right color that matches with what you want. If the chair is in neutral dark color, it is easier to repaint it in a brighter color. However, if the upholstery is in a lighter shade, it wouldn’t come out well in a dark color. Fabric spray paint is made in such a way that it holds onto the fabric well.

This paint also possesses anti-microbial agents so that they can inhibit the growth of mildew and mold on the painted surface.

Prepare the Upholstery for the First Coat

Clean the surface of the upholstery and remove any dust and dirt on the surface. You can use a vacuum cleaner to remove the dust in the nook and crannies. Tape the legs and any other parts that you would want to protect from the paint.

Spray a thin mist of water onto the fabric to till it becomes damp. This is to help the first coat to stick on the fabric. Use a paint sprayer for this task.

Apply the First Coat

With the fabric still damp, apply the first coat evenly over the upholstery. Take great care to cover all areas that you wish to be painted.

One of the secrets to keeping the fabric soft as you spray is to use overly diluted paint and paint several coats. Make sure you apply the paint in an area that is well ventilated and use a respirator mask to stay safe.

Some areas might not be easy to reach, such as the fabric folds. For such a case, use a paintbrush to paint in these areas.

Let it dry.

Before you can add another layer, sand the coat with extra fine sanding paper so that you keep the fabric soft to touch.

Apply the Second Coat

Repeat the process above to apply a second coat of paint. After it dries, sand the painted surfaces.

Don’t stop here, apply more layers till you like what you see. The secret is to wait for the paint to dry between the layers before you add another coat. The process might take between 3 and five days depending on the size of the chair.


With the right kind of fabric spray paint, the proper tools, and perfect procedure, you can turn any drab chair around and make it look new again.