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The Mallory Chair: Painting Upholstery

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I'm in spring cleaning mode in the month of October at our house. Cleaning up my hard drive just got checked off the list. I really hate taking the time to go through those computer related items. But, when your desktop icons start to overlap..... that's a sign, right? ;) While I was purging 42 children selfie pictures (I kept a few good ones for future black mail) and a bunch of old files, I came across this quick chair makeover that I had forgotten to share.

I have gotten lots of nice upholstery compliments over the years. And then I have to take my queen hat off and let them know that I don't have any upholstery skills what so ever.  And that my friends is why I paint upholstery. Paying someone to re-upholster can be really expensive. Painting a chair gives you the opportunity to up-cycle a piece on a budget. If you find a chair that has great bones but the fabric is lacking- paint it. It will save you a lot of money and it wears really nicely.

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There are quite a few products out there that you can use to paint fabric. I like using Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan. The trick to painting upholstery when using her products is to thin out your paint a little bit. Not too much, but just a little. By thinning it out, the paint will spread easier over the surface rather then just sit on top of it. You can choose to wax it afterwards or not. This chair was not waxed and it holds up just fine.

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If you're wondering should I or shouldn't I- you really should. It's easy. You can do it. And if you are hating the way your chair is looking currently, you only have to go up from there!

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Do you have any painting upholstery questions? You can also get more information on how to paint fabric on our painted settee makeover.

Take Care,

Carrie || Thirty Eighth Street

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy some of our other upholstery furniture makeovers


  1. Hi Carrie - I really love your website and the furniture you've painted! I can't help but wonder if the fabric is stiff and feels odd to sit on for this chair. Is that the case? If not, and it is soft, is it the particular chalk paints you use as opposed to acrylic/latex? I played around on old fabric with watered down acrylic to see what would happen but it felt very stiff. I'm thinking I need to move on to the chalk paints??
    Also, do you recommend using specific brands of paint for different types of projects? For example, I see you used Annie Sloan paints on the green couch and some furniture projects but chose Country Chic for others.
    Thanks so much!

    1. Cindy- Some how I missed your questions back from 2018. I apologize! You probably have already finished your painted chair project already but I thought I would take the time to answer your question anyway. Yes, anytime you paint upholstery it will feel a little stiffer than it did originally, but some fabrics will feel stiffer than others. I wouldn't paint a fabric that has really long dense fibers. The fabric on this painted chair was really smooth (almost vinyl feeling). I do have a few favorite paint lines that I like to paint with! I have my favorite furniture paint listed here: https://www.thirtyeighthstreet.com/2017/01/best-furniture-painting-products-tools.html