How To Paint A Fabric Sofa

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So I decided to take the plunge and paint my cream IKEA fabric sofa! Why you ask?




Well firstly, I will always choose frugal over anything else when it comes to re-decorating (upholstering is expensive and maybe just a little too time consuming). And secondly, I’ve come to the realization that anything of a light cream colour is a huge no no when you have a toddler who likes to eat food just about anywhere!


How to paint a fabric sofa


To be honest, I got the inspiration to do this from my Facebook group Grillo Designs Home Decorating and Upcycling group I had seen some great results of painted fabric sofas from the members on there and through asking the right questions, gained a brief outline on how it was done.


how to paint a fabric sofa


Materials I used:


Valspar emulsion tester pot x 2 (DARK GREY)
Valspar emulsion tester pot x 1 (LIGHT GREY)
Paint brush
Painters tape
Old cleaner spray bottle.
Authentico Clear Wax
Sand Paper
Old dish rag


This is how the chair looked before:


How to paint a fabric sofa


How to:


1. Spray chair with water to dampen the fabric using the spray bottle.


How to paint a fabric sofa


2. Apply paint with a good brush lightly over all the dampened fabric. At times you might have to spray more water over areas just to help the paint absorb into the fabric.


How to paint a fabric sofa


3. Once you have completed the first coat of paint, leave to dry for 24hrs.


How to paint a fabric sofa


4. Sand lightly with sand paper and dust off before applying the second coat of paint.




5. Paint second coat and leave to dry for 24hrs – sand again.


How to paint a fabric sofa


6. Paint third coat and leave for 24hrs – sand again (This third coat is not a must)


7. Use the painters tape to create your pattern – then paint the areas lightly using the valspar light grey paint.


How to paint a fabric sofa


Do not remove the tape while paint is wet. Leave paint to dry for another 24hrs – and sand again


How to paint a fabric sofa


8. Remove tape.


How to paint a fabric sofa


How to paint a fabric sofa


9. Apply clear wax using dry cloth and buff. Leave to cure overnight.


How to paint a fabric sofa


And that’s it! I hope you’ll give this a go. Please ask away if you have any questions!


UPDATE: This tutorial has been featured in GAYA MAGAZINE. You can download your copy of the magazine here


To see more Grillo Designs DIY projects, click here. To see projects from our group members, click here..If you have any questions , please feel free to leave a comment below! And don’t forget to save images to PINTEREST if you want to give this a go!


Filed under DIY Crafts, IKEA Hacks, My Projects, Tutorials, Upcycling

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  1. Pingback: How To Paint Melamine Wood - and live to tell the tale! • Grillo Designs

  2. Maria Mata

    Do you think this would work on a currently pattered chair? I have a paisley blue chair that I would love to try this on.

    1. Yes it would work! You might just need to do more coats of the paint thought to ensure you get better coverage 🙂

  3. Karen Diamond

    I love this, it’s gorgeous! Have you ever tried painting fabric that isn’t smooth? Like a non-ribbed corduroy? Your article says the fabric feels like suede when it’s done, but I wonder if it’s because it’s a smooth fabric to begin with?
    Thanks for your input!

    1. Hi karen, I’ve actually never tried but im guessing the same rules would still apply? it might be a good idea to get a scrap piece of fabric and try it out first!

  4. Rena

    I love this idea! But how does the fabric feel after it’s been painted? Is it stiff or soft?

    1. The fabric feels like a faux leather it doesn’t feel stuff. The wax I applied after softens it 🙂

  5. Christina

    Just wondering what the fabric feels like after it has been painted?

    1. It feels like a faux leather after it has been painted and sealed with wax 🙂

      1. EJ FISHER

        How did you go about painting the cushion??? Please advise. Thx

        1. Hi I actually didnt paint the cushion. I bough it from a local store

  6. Your chair looks GREAT!!! I just bought 2 bar stools that have a fabric cover and are a little shabby…..number one question is Valspar emulsion a type of paint??? did you paint it on with a brush?? and secondly when did you use the authentico clear wax on the chair…….maybe we don’t have these items in the USA????

    1. Hi Ann-Marie! Thank you so much. Bar stools would be great to try this! Valspar is a paint brand and they do sell it in the US, have a look on Amazon on your local DIY store. I used the clear wax once my final paint coat had dried for a full day. Any clear brand wax should work! Hope that helps.

  7. Wow! Loving the final result. This is such a great idea!

  8. saara

    The end result is so beautiful!