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How to Paint a Couch

how to paint a couch

Are you at the point with your furniture that your couch is structurally sound but is looking a little worse for wear.  Have you tried to decide if you are going to reupholster your couch to try to make the old couch look new again or should you just spend the money and buy a new couch. Recently we were at the point. Our couch was so comfy and sturdy but many kids and spilled drinks later was not looking the best.  After trying to decide if I wanted to buy a new one, purchase couch covers, or say a prayer and let it go I figured out a plan to revamp our couch.  I decided to paint it. Here is how I painted my couch using chalkboard. Learn how to paint a couch and turn the old into brand new. 

Prepping to Paint a Couch

After much research I decided to give painting our couch a try. I had a bunch of chalkboard paint left over from redoing a wall in our living room to use for our homeschool lessons. I figured since I had the paint and I had the couch I wouldn’t really be out much if it didn’t work out. The first thing I did was test it on a little piece of fabric. Just using the paint left it stiff. So back to research. After reading a few articles I found water and sanding was the key to leaving the fabric feeling softer.  Heres what I did.

Painting the Couch

I started out with a tan microfiber sectional. Looking at the pictures you can see how  dirty and worn the couch is. The first thing I did was wash the couch so that I could start with a fresh base.

After washing the couch it was time to start painting. Here are the steps I took for the finished product.

  1. Wet the couch before applying the paint. Not soaking wet but wet to the touch.
  2. Paint 1 cushion
  3. Sand the cushion as you paint. This along with the water helps work the paint down into the fabric. I used sanding blocks for this step. I can’t stress how important it is to sand as you paint to make sure the paint gets in deep and will not transfer.
  4. After applying the first coat of paint allow couch to dry and then sand the excess away
  5. Moisten couch and Repeat steps 2-3 as needed. I recommend 2 coats as anything over that may leave the fabric feeling stiff.
  6. Allow the couch to dry. Vacuum the couch to make sure there is no dust then do a area test to make sure it is completely dry and does not transfer. I say do a area test because the first time I thought it was dry it was only dry on top but once I sat down was wet underneath.


Tips For Success

Here are a few tips to make your painting a couch successful.

  1.  Mix the chalkboard paint 1/3 water to 2/3 paint.
  2. Make sure the fabric stays moist as you are applying paint. This really helps keep the fabric soft.
  3. Apply 2 coats of paint. Do not over paint as it will leave fabric hard and stiff
  4. Let each coat dry completely and sand it before doing another coat
  5. After sanding between coats rewet the couch before applying another coat of paint
  6. Some sites had said to use a sealer to seal the paint in. I tried it on a small spot on the back of the couch and it left it feeling like pleather and shiny. I did not like the feeling so I did not use it on the rest of the couch. 

And …Whats Next

When I painted my couch I had people asking does the paint transfer and how long will it last. I can say it does not transfer. I have taken a nap on the couch and wake up with no paint transfer. The paint is giving no indication of fading away or rubbing off but I will test it again in 6 months or so to see how it lasts long term. 

Painting my couch was not something that I ever thought was possible. I just happened to have the paint and the couch. I am glad that I did research and was able to turn it into a success.  If you decide to give painting your couch a try I  always suggest starting with a small hidden area or if possible even grab a practice piece of furniture from a thrift store. Have fun and enjoy making your old furniture look new. 


How to Paint a Couch

I’m sharing this post today as part of the Inspire My Creativity link party and the theme is Use Up Your Stash. Check out the other co-hosts below and see what they have to share and be sure to pin it if you want to try it out!

How to Paint a Couch

Meg  |  See The Happy
Julia  |  The Quiet Grove
Adree  |  The Keele Deal
Alexandra  |  EyeLoveKnots


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  1. September 14, 2019 / 4:16 am

    Wow- what a transformation! I’ve considered painting a couch before but I’ve never been brave enough to try it. I love how this turned out and the color you used. It looks like a brand new couch! So pretty!

  2. September 14, 2019 / 10:03 pm

    Holy cow!! This is too cool. If my couch was more structurally sound, I would totally do this. We are in need of a new couch. Yours looks amazing.

  3. Molly
    March 31, 2020 / 8:58 pm

    What brand/name ofncolor did you use,and how many containers did your sectional need?

    • Ashley
      April 1, 2020 / 2:52 am

      Hello. I used Rust Oleum ultra matte chalked for the sectional in the post. It came in 30 oz size on Amazon and it took 1 full one plus a little more than half of another. You mix it with alot of water so it goes a long way. I just did more than one coat to acheive the effect I wanted. I have since done another couch in our toy room and used Retique It by Renaissance Furniture Paint. It worked fabulous also and came in the color that I wanted.

  4. Jane Rodman
    October 25, 2020 / 6:48 pm

    I’m thinking about painting my microfiber couch. But it has puffy arms and cushions and I’m concerned about being able to get in all the nooks and crannies. And how do you keep paint on the cushions from sticking together? Any tips you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! I love the way you’d turned out.

    • Ashley
      March 19, 2021 / 9:54 pm

      Hi. When I did mine instead of using one of the larger brushes I used one of my kiddos painting sponges. They are alot smaller and fit into the nooks and crannies better. I took all the cushions off the couch and painted and let them dry separately. Also the paint is watered down so very thin so dries quickly. After it dries you do another layer.

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