An Old, Stained Fabric Chair Looks Brand-New After a $46 Paint Makeover

published Apr 16, 2024
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When thinking of ways to upgrade an upholstered chair, your mind probably goes first to reupholstering the old chair with new fabric (and probably not to painting over it entirely). But DIYer Lara Winter (@what_a_view_cottage) made a stained gray chair in her home look new again, thanks to a little bit of fabric paint. 

“The armchair we had in our nursery used to have nice light gray fabric, but after two children and a lot of milk stains the chair looked very grubby,” Lara says. “After having tried a lot of different fabric cleaners it was obvious that the stains would never fully disappear.”

Lara was about to throw it out when she saw someone use fabric paint online, so she decided to try to save it by painting it a darker color. “I had nothing to lose, so I ordered two bottles of a nice green color and hoped for the best,” she says.

Credit: Lara Winter
Credit: Lara Winter

Water was a crucial ingredient for a successful fabric paint job.

Lara used FabriCoat upholstery paint in the green colorway for her project, and she says it took her just a little over one bottle of the stuff. 

“The steps were easy,” she says. Lara first dampened the fabric with a spray bottle, then applied the paint with a paint brush and sponge. “I let the chair dry between coats and applied three or four coats in total,” she adds. 

Lara’s recommendation if you’re looking to upgrade a stained chair is to use a color that’s slightly darker than your original fabric. “The fabric has only very slightly changed to touch,” she adds. “I would say it’s only a tiny bit harder, but not crunchy or weird at all. The color also does not transfer at all. You could sit on it in wet white trousers and nothing would happen!”

In the end, Lara is glad she spent around $46 to upcycle the chair instead of buying something new. “Just giving it a go saved me a lot of money, and I love that I was able to reuse our old chair because I don’t like wasting things,” she says. “It now has a prime spot in our dining room and looks like a new chair.”