Upholstery Alternatives

Upholstery Alternatives

It’s funny, but this post wasn’t originally intended to be a two part post. We’d found a chair for a fraction of retail price on eBay less than 20 minutes away and just about got it in the car to bring home. The fabric choice wasn’t to our taste but we’d reupholstered a chair before so how hard could it be?!

Turns out we were wrong and it could actually be quite hard. Reupholstering a fairly simple chair like we did is no comparison for trying to reupholster a beast of a chair like this one. There are some great tutorials online, but ultimately we didn’t have the fabric (or guts!) to tackle it ourselves. We did wonder about getting a professional in, but it didn’t really fit with our DIY ethos, and that again would cost money. So we decided to look for upholstery alternatives online.

Thanks to the wonders of Pinterest (seriously, how did people know stuff before Pinterest existed) I came across fabric spray paint. We are BIG fans of spray paint in general, and curious to see if we could achieve a good finish using it. The chair pattern is fairly floral (understatement), so we knew we’d need something dark and settled upon Simply Spray paint in Charcoal Grey and ordered 3 cans (UK readers – we ordered ours from Amazon). A few days later the paint arrived but we had to wait until the weekend until we gave it a go.

We gave the chair 2 1/2 good coats of paint (we paid more attention to the front) and this was what we ended up with:

Alternatives to upholsterySP3

Originally we were quite pleased with the finish, we’d been hoping to cover the print more, but it was definitely less obvious so we left it to dry for 72 hours before in the garage. However, when we moved it into the study – for this will be my comfy reading chair – it just didn’t look right:

Alternatives to upholstery

Back to the drawing board and we’ve already identified something else we’re going to attempt, but in the meantime we thought it would be interesting to share our upholstery alternatives result using spray paint. If you were looking to spray something without a pattern that was fairly light you’d probably get quite good coverage with the spray, however you’d need a lot more coats on a chair such as ours to cover the pattern. Keep your eyes peeled out for our next upholstery alternatives later this week.

Update: Find out how the chair actually ended up looking here.



  1. March 24, 2014 / 8:54 pm

    We picked up a free curbside chair from a city wide yardsale and we have a hunch they used some type of paint. However said paint didn’t hold up and started peeling everywhere! Yikes! I’m excited to see what y’all are trying next!!

    • Sammi
      March 24, 2014 / 8:59 pm

      Eek that is a bit scary! This soaked into the fabric quite well, and didn’t really feel any different from before we just couldn’t get enough coverage. Fingers crossed what we’ve done next will work better!!

  2. maggie
    March 31, 2015 / 2:41 am

    what a great idea! thank you, thank you, that is exactly what I’m going to do with my wingback chair I just picked up for $10! Reupholstering it will cost about $600, can’t afford that.

    • Sammi
      April 26, 2015 / 2:10 pm

      Glad the post helped! Great deal on the chair.

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