Saturday, January 25, 2014

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Can You REALLY Paint Upholstery?

Before & After

Reupholstering a chair is expensivelike, upwards of $300 expensive. Of course, going the reupholstery route makes sense if you've invested in pricey furniture. But I've never been willing to take the plunge, since most of the chairs I want to change are Goodwill cast-offs. It's hard to justify dropping $300 to redo a $10 chair. 

Most recently, I decided one of living room chairs needed a facelift. I purchased this one a few years back, and while it looked good in my last apartment's living room, it felt too modern in my current one, with its sleek black legs and off-white fabric. My vision: Make this contemporary piece look like an antique, but with a little colorful flair. 

I chose a daffodil yellow paint for the upholstery (to match a West Elm chair on the other side of the room), and gracefully curved wooden legs to replace the contemporary ones. 

Did I really say PAINT an upholstered chair? Yep! You simply mix acrylic paint with textile medium (sold at Joann Fabrics) and water, which, together, keep the fabric from becoming stiff when you apply the paint. Hint: For about $6, you can get a quart-sized paint "sample" at Sherwin-Williams. (For more detailed instructions, check out this how-to from Hyphen Interiors.)

I bought the legs from Home Depot, which I stained and then accented in a few places with a very light coating of silver spray paint. I can't take full credit here, though: My husband had to put them on for me. (He's handy to have around!) Finally, I added upholstery tacks, following the subtle curve of the arm, with a few more just above the leg. 

I've already gotten lots of compliments on the final product...totally unsolicited, too! So would I do it again? Absolutelyalthough I'd probably limit my upholstery painting to pieces that are more decorative than functional, since the paint does make the fabric firm (although not crunchy by any means). 


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