Pimp my furniture: I spray painted the whole chair

Well, it’s Monday and I’ve been working on this for over a week like a mad woman. As promised, here is an awesome (well, in my opinion anyway) project to share today. If you saw my ‘teaser’ pic on Friday night, then you already know that the latest candidate for my furniture pimp out was this Louis chair that I got last Christmas for $40 from a thrift store. It’s been living untouched in my kitchen since then. Which is kind of gross really, since from far away it looks ok:

But up close it looks like this:

Dirty, faded, stained, and generally not pretty. Plus the blue on blue wasn’t doing it for me at all. Then last Tuesday was this big linky party (which I’m still linking up to today at the last minute- yay procrastination!) and that kind of kicked me in the but to get on this chair already. I tried really really  hard to have it done for the party last Tuesday, but I also didn’t want to sacrifice quality for a quick turnaround. That and this little thing called a family that I have to attend to. You know how it is. So anyway, here it is a week later all done and looking much better than its former sad blue self.

You like?? I love. The inspiration for this project came from Megan at Omahaha and her amazing spray painted chairs, which I featured here and pinned here.

As soon as I saw them, Louis popped into my head. I had planned to re-upholster him, but this seemed easier and much cheaper. Plus if it didn’t work out, I would just go with my original plan and recover him, so I really had nothing to lose. So that’s how I decided to spray paint the whole chair. The kicker was though, that when I planned to re-upholster, the options for fabric were wide open, and a solid color was not anywhere near the top of my options. So when I decided to paint instead, I made myself a deal that I would use at least two colors on the fabric section to create a little more interest and a truly custom piece.

I started with the frame. I debated going with Oil Rubbed Bronze again, but since I’d already done that on this chair and this chair, I wanted to switch it up a little. But I still love Rustoleum’s metallic spray paint. It covers so well and is very durable- so I went with Aged Copper this time instead. I just taped off all the fabric and gave the frame a few nice even coats of paint, until it was looking all shiny and new.

I’m really happy with the gilded look of the frame now. This style of chair was just begging for a little gold!

You’ll start to see why this project took so long right about now. Besides the fact that my fingers are still raw from all the tape I had to tear off (btw, thanks to my bff, Sarah, for coming over and helping me tear tape strips to get this project done.). But besides just the time consuming taping, I had to make sure every section was completely dry before I could tape over it to paint the next section. So that took a while.

About two days after painting the frame, I taped over it all and removed the tape on the trim and detail stripe I wanted up the middle of the chair- leaving the tape (which included a lot of re-taping) covering the main portions of the chair that would later be gray. Then I sprayed the blue sections with Simply Spray Upholstery Fabric Paint in Caribbean Blue.

I ended up using three of the small cans for this portion. It takes a few coats to get the fabric really covered. I would also recommend using a foam brush to work the paint into the fabric after you spray it on. It seemed to help it soak up better and really get a more saturated color. You can see in the photo above how the texture of the fabric still shows through. This was before the final coat, so the color is a little more solid now, but I like the texture. Once I’d done a few coats of that over a few days, I took off the tape and it was looking pretty good already:

So another day or two of drying and I taped off the blue sections leaving the frame taped as well, and got to work spraying the charcoal gray sections (which for some reason I didn’t take pictures of). This time I used a charcoal gray color.I feel like I need to re-emphasize how time-consuming the taping was for this project. I’m glad I went for it, because I think the detail really adds something, but if you’re looking for a little easier project, a single color might be the way to go. (And as you can tell from Megan’s chairs, one color looks great too!!)

Anyway, once the gray was dry, I removed all the tape and brought this baby back into the kitchen. And I love it! Someday I may get the itch to actually re-upholster the whole thing, but right now I’m perfectly happy with my painted chair and I’m loving the new pop of color in this room.

Oh and in case you’re wondering, no it isn’t hard or crunchy or anything gross like that. The fabric spray paint is actually quite different from regular spray paint. It seems to be much more watery and has hardly any chemical smell at all. The fabric soaks it up and remains soft to the touch. This fabric was fairly sturdy to begin with though, so I’m not sure how a softer fabric would hold up. Also I’m sure if you did enough heavy coats you could achieve crispness. I didn’t though, and I’m pretty sure that anyone who sits here won’t be able to tell it was painted at all. Unless they read my blog. But I digress… Here’s a before/after photo for easy comparison of the new awesomeness.

So that’s the story of the painted chair. Yay for trying new things!! Happy Monday friends!


  • Kelly @ A Swell Place to Dwell

    It looks great. I tried spray painting an old office chair a while back and it was a giant fail. The whole thing went to the dump. I’m glad to see that it worked for you.

    • Dawn Sailors

      Thanks! I was a little nervous, but like I said, I planned to recover it originally anyway, so I figured if it failed I’d just go back to that plan. Luckily it didn’t! :)

  • Josie Crecco

    I love that chair!!!

    • Dawn Sailors

      Aw, thank you Josie! :) Now come visit us and I’ll let you sit in in, haha.

  • Megan

    Your chair looks amazing. And the attention to detail? Very impressive. (Seriously, you did the piping in a different color? *bowing to you* I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy … .) Love it!

    • Dawn Sailors

      Hahaha, this made me laugh. Thank you! You inspired me to start/finish a project I’d literally been putting off for a year.


What do you think? Leave a comment below.