Painting the Upholstery on a Chair

An Easy Makeover for an Old Office Chair

I bought this really nice office chair about a year ago from my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. It was in really great shape but I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with it – so it sat under the carport covered with sawdust and plywood scraps. I’ve seen so many tutorials on painting upholstery on a chair or sofa using chalk paint so I thought I’d give it a try… I just didn’t want it to end up being a disaster like my dresser painting fiasco!



This is what the chair looked like before… I know, the photo is a bit “shady”! The chair had tan vinyl upholstery and a brown frame. Some of the finish was coming off of the frame and the upholstery was worn in one place on the seat (luckily, no cracks or tears!)


Once the chair dried, I thoroughly sanded the frame and the upholstery with my sander. I figured that the sander would help remove some of the top layer of vinyl that was peeling.


I applied a coat of primer to the vinyl and to the wood frame. I used Kilz 2 (<– affiliate link!), and since it is for priming vinyl walls, it worked wonderfully on the vinyl upholstery!


Once the vinyl dried, I used a sanding sponge to smooth the primer, then mixed up my first batch of chalk paint. I painted the upholstery with Clark+Kensington paint ( two coats) in Palace of Versailles which is almost the same color as patina on copper.


For the wood frame, I used another batch of chalk paint using Clark+Kensinton in Chalk. This time I used three coats then sealed everything off with Americana Decor Creme Wax.




I really love this chair but unfortunately, it won’t fit under my desk. I could use it anyway but would have to hear the kids whine about having to squeeze between the chair and the cabinet when walking through the room. So now, she’s in The Han’s room!


Painting the upholstery on the chair was so easy and worked really well. I think that using the primer gave the paint something extra to bite into, and it should hold up for a really long time! Now I am on the lookout for another chair to paint… Have you painted upholstery? How did it work for you? Leave a comment below or contact me at cher {at} designsbystudioc {dot} com!

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My Repurposed Life