We're going to say this upfront: we're skeptical. In searching for inexpensive ways to refinish, cover, or otherwise mask the terrible upholstery of our Craigslist sofa, we recently came across an idea that had strangely never occurred to us: paint it...There's a great article on DIYNetwork that explains in detail the process required to take ordinary paint to upholstery; the secret being cutting the paint (latex wall paint for base coats, acrylics for color and detail) with a textile medium like GAC-900, which better adheres the paint to the fabric while keeping it soft and pliable...
There is also a product made specifically for this purpose, Simply Spray's Upholstery Fabric paint, though if judging by their website alone, we're torn between thinking the paint is ingenious and thinking it's repurposed spray-on hair.
While we won't be attempting anything as graphic as the sofas pictured, we still have our doubts as to the effectiveness of this project, with visions of crunchy fabric and blotchy color. But we figure even if the project becomes a complete disaster, we'll only be back where we started from, which isn't so bad. Reupholstering a large piece like a sofa is expensive, and unless you have decent sewing skills and a lot of free time, having a slipcover made isn't going to be much less.
We'll be attempting this over the weekend, with photos to follow early next week. Have you ever tried this? How did things turn out?