before & after: painted sofa

I admit, I’ve been skeptical about painting fabric to change up the color of a piece of furniture, but I think today’s first Before & After from Stella Poore of Mon Petit Studio may have changed my mind. Having snagged this incredible sofa for only $25, Stella decided to take the plunge and paint it black to achieve a nice modern/classic style mix. She was equally dubious, but after sourcing a list of materials online from Fabric Bliss, she decided to give it a try. The results look amazing — so much more luxurious than I would have guessed — and apparently the sofa feels great, too. For such a low price, Stella has scored an incredible statement piece that fits perfectly with her decor. Amazing job, Stella! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

Read the full post after the jump!

Time: From start to finish: 2 days. Day one: We spent about 1 hour cleaning any dirt and debris off the sofa, 2 hours carefully taping off all the trim, and then we painted the sofa itself and one side of the cushions with one coat of paint, which took about 3 hours with two of us. Day two: We painted to opposite sides of the cushions, took care of any missed spots on the sofa, and removed the tape. That took about 1 hour. About 7 hours total.

Cost: Cheap, cheap, cheap. We bought the couch for $25. Two quarts of black paint cost us about $17. Four bottles of textile medium from Michaels (Delta Ceramcoat Brand), about $25. Two bottles per quart were used. Three standard 1″ and 2″ bristle brushes, about $10. One roll of blue painter’s tape, about $5. Total (including the sofa itself): $82

Basic Steps: We first cleaned it off REALLY well, removing any dirt and debris from all the nooks and crannies and tufting. Then, we taped off all the trim. Taping probably took the longest but was also a very important step to achieving a clean result. Then, we painted! We started with the hard part: the tufting on the sofa itself and then moved on to the rest of the sofa and finally the cushions. We tried to follow the grain of the fabric while brushing on our paint and made sure to spread it as evenly as we could.

I think it’s really all in the prep work. If we had not taken the time to thoroughly clean out all the little folds in the tufting and taped off all the gorgeous original trim, I’m pretty sure it would not have come out so clean. Also, the paint tightens the fabric a bit (which I LOVE due to the already very tailored look of this sofa), but it’s important to keep that in mind. The texture feels pretty much like the screen-printed part of a t-shirt. The best part? It’s super resistant to spills and dog hair! — Stella

  1. claudette says:

    just beautiful – if i had found that couch for $25 i would have carried it home on my back, what a deal!!!!

  2. Frankie says:

    So jealous!! $25 WOW **headed over to craiglists …lol** Stella this is awesome!!!

  3. AMAZING!!!!! What a beautiful job!! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Kelli Fox says:

    I love everything about it – love that you made it “yours” and did what you wanted with it.. it is simply stunning. Thanks for sharing because I had NO idea that you could paint fabric!

  5. Cynthia says:

    Just picker up a French provincial chair this week with the idea of painting it. Thank you for helping me with info! Another new world of design has opened up to me! Oh dear …. Best get moving.

  6. Sarah Jane says:

    That’s unbelievable! I had no idea you could paint fabric like that and have such great results. Hmmm…what can I paint?!

  7. Natts says:

    Amazing Job!!!

  8. Madeleine says:

    Seriously? That sofa cost 25 dollars?! No way! :O It turned out amazing…

  9. Sue says:

    OMGoodness! This couch is awesome. So is the technique and I can’t wait to use it.

  10. Cora says:

    You painted this?!?! Does it feel soft like a couch, or does it feel all hard and crunchy? All your work is amazing!!!

  11. Heather says:

    Wow, very impressed! Like everyone else, I have NEVER even considered that you could paint fabric! I’d think it would bleed through and soak the cushion of the coach. Thanks to Stella for sharing the additional details of how she mixed the textile paint with the regular paint. I want to try this myself! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Anni says:

    Amazing… and for $25??? Excellent work!

  13. C says:

    LOVE THIS! The couch looked like it has a heavy duty upholstery fabric. Can you use this method on suede-type couches?? I’ve used fabric paint but I’m not sure if it would work on other types of couches? Any thoughts?

  14. Liz says:

    This is amazing. I will be sure to keep this possibilty in mind when scooping out thrift store furniture. Thank you so much for this post, it is really helpful, and adding the type of paint used, too.

  15. Mei says:

    Does the paint bleed on your clothes?

  16. Liz says:

    Amazingly beautiful! I have a cheap wing chair I was given, which has good lines but a hideous Aztec print on the upholstery. I don’t want to pay to have it reupholstered (it’s really not worth it) and I don’t like the look of slipcovers. I think I will try this! The fabric is less “silky” than what appears to be on this couch, but it really can’t hurt to try… I’m really not even using the chair right now because the fabric is so ugly. I wonder how a different color would look… and I might try a low- or no-VOC paint to minimize odor.

  17. Jenna says:

    Wow, it looks like a fancy leather couch now! That’s awesome. I had never heard of painting furniture- that’s really cool. Great job and amazing transformation!

  18. That is amazing, never thought of painting the cloth up like that. First I thought was it was re upholstered. Wonderful.

  19. sarah says:

    Hello Stella della Sofa DIVINE ! What a lovely piece you’ve created and so inspirational.
    I’m going to try my hand at this technique and would like to know – What size bottles
    of Ceramcoat textile medium did you mix with the quart of paint? I checked Amazon
    and they come in 20z. and 10 oz. bottles. Please advise. Molto Grazie !!

  20. Melissa says:

    For those who have a soft, thinly upholstered couch and want the color change without it being leather like in feel (read:hardish) you can go to Joann or any store like that and buy the fabric spray paint. It will change the color but not harden the fabric. I saw them do it on Nate and Today show and the results were awesome. Also, price is probably equal or less in the long run depending on the size of your couch. I love this look and idea too tho! Especially on repelling dog hair!

  21. Debbie Panton says:

    Love this… I’ve thought about doing something like this with some accent chairs. What a beautiful piece … love the lines and what a dramatic difference the colour change makes. Well done

  22. Kevin says:

    This is really awesome. I would love to find an opulent sofa with hideous fabric and give this go.

  23. This is such a great inspiration and thank you so much for all the how to information . I have a little love seat in a similar style, that I got on craiglist . Even though it is cute the way it is, I might give this a go.

  24. Design Build says:

    Wow, this came out beautiful. I would never use paint to refurbish a sofa, but like you, this post may just change my mind.

  25. Helen says:

    I cant believe you painted over that beautiful sofa …

  26. Kristy Swain says:

    Oh cool! Looks so great! I wonder if she followed my tutorial (on my blog).

  27. Monique says:

    Congrats on the sofa !! What an awesome modern touch to this frame! I want to ask: I have a wing back framed love seat with corduroy type upholstery fabric. Will this type of paint work on corduroy?

  28. Olivia says:

    I kinda liked it before it was painted. But it’s still really groovy painted!!

  29. jocelyne says:

    I think this is incredibly fantastic… I do have one question!

    PLEASE tell….. my husband does carpet and upholstery cleaning… how will this affect the paint job if the couch ever needs cleaning? I would love to do this with my beautiful couch, but he needs to be satisfied that I’m not ruining his highly cherished/inherited ornate couch! Thank you.

  30. Amy says:

    One more question…how did you paint the woodwork? Plain spray? Brushed? Sealed? This is AMAZING!!

  31. Neville Harrison says:

    “Great Idea” after seeing your sofa and how beautiful it loooks,I decided to use
    this method to paint an old wing chair that has been around for years.I tried to
    have it recovered but they wanted almost $500.00 .I also used Valspar Interior
    paint and primer in one.Matte finish.The material that originally covered the chair was like a crushed velvet the small patterns.I gave the chair two coats the
    first,I allowed it to dry, thats about six hours.I then did a second coat which coverd all the patterns on the fabric.It turned out beautifully.Everyone who has seen it cant believe that the chair was painted. I am very pleased and will
    now give me the oppertunity to paint a second wing chair now in my master bedroom. THANKS FOR THE INFO.,

  32. gail taylor says:

    I really want a seagrass sectional couch, but I don’t have 10,000. to spend on one. BUT I did buy a really cool zen sectional for only $80 at a reasonable priced trift store ann I LOVE it. Does anyone know if I can wallpaper the frame and then I could just recover the cusions myself. I like to be able to take the covers off and wash them. I found really cool wallpaper in vinyl that looks cool. I was going to use grass cloth, but my cats would rip that apart in 2 seconds, literally.

  33. Sunny B says:

    I love this!! I want to do this to an Ikea Leather sofa that I have. Could you please update us on how this sofa is wearing? Perhaps even with a follow up photo? You’ve inspired me to do this, but I literally can not afford to lose a piece of furniture, so I need to be sure it will hold up for at least 6 months to a year. Thank you!!

  34. Heather says:

    I just painted a couch. I used your directions and it seems really hard and not very comfy. It looks amazing though. Can you offer any suggestions to soften it up at all? :) Thanks for any help!

  35. Challis says:

    Stella, this is fabulous! Proof that all it takes to proudly own a stunning and very unique piece is courage and effort. The courage to try something new, using your imagination and personal taste (it is your sofa, after all;). As well as the effort to do your homework, which clearly resulted in good product choices. Personally, I love your “kitschy” pillows! If only more people made such bold choices in home decor. Also, I greatly appreciated your detailed and concise information! Thank You and WELL DONE!!!!

  36. megan says:

    The couch looks good. But I have to tell anyone interested in doing this what they might want to be aware of. We recently decided to spraypaint our couch with Simply Spray fabric paint. Its a 2 cushion couch, can probably fit 3 people on it but 2 more comfortably. It’s not huge. We read on the blog that it would only be 12 bottles and that it would remain soft. We ran out of paint after 12 bottles and purchased another 12. We have now run out of that as well and it is still not covered. On top of that it is no longer soft. It is in fact very hard and feels almost sticky. We also washed one of the cushions and it did in fact wear off A LOT. It also does come off on our skin and clothing. We are incredibly unhappy. We had a very nice couch. It was white and very easy to clean. The problem was, we have a dog and would constantly have to clean it. We thought having a darker color would solve our problems. We could have easily sold the couch. Now it is half done and we are $300 in on paint. Not only can we not sell this, we have to buy a new couch and spent all this money in paint. I dont know, I’ve read blogs where people are happy, but this took many hours to do, very space consuming, basically had no living room for 6 days because it takes 3 days each time. Just a total nightmare, waste of time and money.

  37. megan says:

    Read your blog I figured I would give it a whirl I used krylon it said use on fabrics as well I did it was a very victorian pink with a floral patter now it is a light burgandy with gold not really hard to touch color change was a bit drastic for me but 30 dollars did all three pieces husband loved it we were looking at 7000 to get the red version of the sofa we had thank you

  38. This is awesome.

    And very inspirational. I’m going to paint my this leather chairs and googled painted furniture and stumbled upon this post. Great minds think alike, lol, very cool to see someone else has done it and the results turned out so fabulous.

  39. Also, here’s another person who painted their furniture– maybe this is where she originally got her inspiration:

    http://fabricbliss.blogspot.com/2011/05/do-this-i-painted-couch-last-week-or-no.html

  40. Susan says:

    So I picked up the paint for this project. I didn’t realize that I purchased paint with primer. Do you think I should use it or go back and get some without primer? I have no idea how I didn’t notice this at the store. Suggestions ?

  41. Jennifer says:

    Hi, it’s been almost a year & 1/2 since you posted this project. I really want to do the same, but I’m debating against two methods. So I’m wondering, how has your couch held up? Any crackling? Fading? Suggestions? Or has it just flawless? :) I really love to hear!

    Jennifer

  42. Dannielle says:

    Was thinking about painting my sofa and was looking for inspiration and found this!! Totally in live with it and in full speed ahead on my project!!

  43. Interior Designer Max says:

    How does the sofa smell? Are there any toxic odors or residue? I worry that if I paint my sofa it will have have chemicals in it that my kids can lick and get sick from. I also came across this company in Wired Magazine, http://www.furnishpal.com/ which apparently can make you a custom printed sofa? Anyone know if it is any good? I am exploring the option of painting an old sofa versus buying a new one with a custom printed design which is a little bit more in cost.

  44. Susan says:

    Is there any way to paint fabric that has been treated with a stain repellant? I did the water test and the water beads up on the fabric and rolls off. Thanks

  45. Pam says:

    Who knew that paint could do some much on a piece… I love it!

LEAVE A COMMENT

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.