Painted Upholstered Chair

See how this painted upholstered chair turned out!

I recently painted an upholstered chair I found at a consignment shop.  Before the redo, the chair looked like it belonged on the set of the Huxtables – circa 1988.  Now, thanks to Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint, it has a cool vintage {French?} vibe! Painted Upholstered Chair using Chalk Paint For this particular project, I used:

  • Americana Decor Chalky Paint – Everlasting
  • Americana Decor Chalk Paint – Vintage
  • Americana Decor Creme Wax – clear
  • Americana Decor Cream Wax – Deep Brown
  • Chip Brush
  • Americana Decor Round Waxing Brush
  • Sandpaper
  • Lint-free cloth

(These products can all be found at Home Depot.)


Here’s a close-up of the fabric before I painted it:


The fabric was in good shape, but it was dingy and outdated.  So, I tackled the fabric first – with paint!


I watered down the paint: 1 part water to 1 part paint.  Then, I stirred the paint and water and started painting the fabric.  I let the first coat dry and applied the second coat.  Once the second coat dried (and I painted the rest of the chair), I applied 2 coats of clear wax to the fabric.


Next, I started painting the actual chair.  It’s basically the same process as painting the fabric, but you don’t water down the paint.


  1. I painted 2-3 coats of paint on the entire chair – letting each coat dry before applying the next coat.
  2. Then, I waxed the entire chair with clear wax.  (I also added some dark wax to the chair, but I’ll get to that later.)
  3. Next, you buff the wax after it has dried with a light, lint-free cloth.
  4. Finally, you can sand if you prefer the more vintage look.


I used dark wax because I wanted a really vintage look.  If you use dark wax, you must apply clear wax first.  It provides a base for the dark wax, and it’s much easier to wipe away the dark wax with a clear coat underneath.  As you can see in the picture above:

  1. Clear wax
  2. Dark wax
  3. After buffing away some of the dark wax


I used a cheap chip brush for painting, and Americana’s wax brush for waxing.  Seriously, this brush (as seen in the pic above) is awesome!


And, there you have it!  I am loving my “new” chair and found the Americana Chalky Finish Paints to be easy to use.  I also have to mention that they are low odor – I painted (and waxed!) inside my home. ChalkyPaintChair17

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61 thoughts on “Painted Upholstered Chair

  1. That looks amazing! I can’t believe you were ale to paint the fabric and have it come out so nice! Is it “crunchy”? Chalky? Does the paint rub off onto clothes? How does it feel? Wow! Boo. I wish I had an ugly chair…

    1. Hi Joanne, It’s really not crunchy – the fabric still gives a lot. I’ve done another fabric chair with a different kind of wax (it was much thicker than this particular brand), and it has a pleathery feel with a glossy shine. However, this one feels much more like outdoor fabric with a matte sheen – due to a thinner, watery wax. I use this chair in my office (so I do sit on it a lot), and so far I haven’t ended up with any on my clothes. Go to some yard sales and find an ugly chair! 😉

      1. Hi, I’ve just finished painting a chair using a satin acrylic paint, fabric medium, and water. (Equal parts) I was curious if you think a wax on this would help contribute to a “softer, more appealing feel.” To wax, or not to wax.

  2. Pingback: Chalk Paint Tips @
  3. Going to search for a chair to try this on 🙂 Thanks for the steps, I would have had no idea to use wax without reading this. Totally new to chalk paint.

  4. When painting the chairs and waxing, can it be used for furniture used every day and is it safe for pets? What type of wax did you use?

    1. For this particular project, I used The American Decor clear wax. I use my chair at my computer desk – so I sit on it A LOT! I’m not sure about pets since I don’t have any. I assume if it’s okay for us humans, then it’s okay for them! I just don’t know if you would find that they’re hair sticks to the surface. It has a pleather like feel. Sorry I can’t help more! Good luck!

  5. I am in the middle of chalk painting fabric for the first time. I have a sample swatch of the same fabric (thankfully!) where I tested out my paint before I destroyed the big piece lol. However, when I waxed my sample piece, it looked great before it dried, but then once it was dry, I had tons of itty bitty waxy flakes on the fabric. The flakes do NOT wipe off, either! Where did I go wrong?

    1. Hi Candy! I’m so sorry you’re having problems but so glad you tested the fabric first. First, did you let the paint dry before you waxed? And, did you buff (wipe away excess wax) right after you waxed – before the wax dried? I have had the wax ball up, but it’s always right after the wax and when I’m able to wipe/rub it in. Another question – what kind of wax did you use? Sorry for all the questions, but we’ll figure out what’s going on!

  6. Is your cushion made of down? Mine is and I’m wondering if I should do anything special to protect the down insert?

    1. My cushion was not made of down, and (unfortunately) I haven’t tried painting anything that had down in it. However, if the cushion itself is made of thick upholstery fabric, I really don’t think the paint would even have a chance to get inside to bother the down. Hope I helped!

  7. Would you recommend to do this on chairs that we use every day? We have really ugly chairs but they are in good condition.

    1. I painted a chair that I sit at a ton during the day – it’s at my desk where I work on my computer. It has seen a lot of use and has held up well. Now, I’m not sure if I would paint a chair where comfort is key – like something you’d sit in by the tv. The paint and wax give the chair a pleather-like feel. Hope I helped!

  8. Your chair fabric still looks somewhat soft even though you say it feels a little “pleathery”. I would like to replicate a chair that felt like it was painted vinyl even though I know that it was originally upholstery. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Liz – Maybe your description of painted vinyl would better describe what this treatment feels like (rather than my “pleather” description). It gives, but it’s not soft. I think painting with watered down chalk paint and a wax finish will probably give you the replica you’re hoping to achieve! I hope I helped! Thanks for the comment.

    1. Hi Nicole! I’ve trying upholstery fabric and velvet, but never silk. I guess you could text a small piece of silk to see how it goes…I’d love to know what you discover! Thanks for the comment!

  9. Thank you SOOOO much for this step-by-step! I am about to tackle my first chalk paint project and had no idea about dark wax! When I tried looking for step-by-step instructions, everyone else MENTIONED the wax instructions, but sort of “glazed” over it. I need very precise details. Thank you!! Can’t wait to try it!


  11. love your chair! And like person above want to paint an outside chair(cushions) could I use some sort of poly instead of wax? Because I think it will melt like a mess in the sun. Any help would be great. Mimi

    1. I assume there is some sort of weather-proof coating you could put on the chair. I also have seen weather-proof fabric paint – maybe that would be a better option for you? I just don’t know what the chalk paint would do under a different type of coating. The wax is what really softened the paint. Good luck, Mimi!

  12. I have a sofa with three loose cushions on seating area and on back. It is covered in floral chinz. I would just like to enhance the colors in the floral design, as it is faded, but I love it. Please give me your ideas. Thank you so much. God Bless!

  13. Hello. Can you please tell me what did you apply the clear wax with on the fabric? A wax brush, cloth etc? Did you apply a thin or thicker layer? Does it matter what direction you apply the wax or does it have to be in a circular motion?

    Thank you so much!

  14. Hi was wondering which paint you preferred, the Annie Sloan, or the Americana. I have two velvet wing back chairs that I am thinking of doing as I don’t want to recover them. Thanks

    1. Honestly, the chalk paints are similar. It’s the waxes that make the difference. I prefer the Annie Sloan wax, but the Americana wax works well – especially on this chair I painted. I still use it daily, and it looks great! I would just buy whichever is more convenient for you. Good luck, Debbie!

      1. Thanks, I can get the Americana at Michaels with a coupon which is soon much cheaper than the Annie Sloan. Thanks for the info

  15. Hi Sara,
    I’m thinking about painting a large floral print recliner. Have you used the diy chalk paint on fabric???

  16. I have some woven material dining room chairs and I was just wondering if this would work, and if I would have to adjust the paint thickness. I’m thinking the paint would soak in pretty easily, but they are textured so I’m not sure how the wax woulld buff out either. I can’t really ruin them, after being the main chairs with two rowdy boys (they started out white), worst that happens is it doesn’t work and I have them reupholstered. But wanted to try this first to save some money and have a little creative fun!

    1. Hi Tammi! I’ve painted some thicker woven fabric and it works, but you will still see the texture of the fabric. If they’re already ruined, it’s worth a shot – especially if you’re up for some painting fun! You will use a lot more paint than you expect. You can start off by spraying down the fabric first to get the fabric wet before adding the watered down paint to see if maybe this decreasing the amount of paint the fabric soaks up. The key to painting fabric is patience, and it will take several coats of watered down paint. If you go too thick on the paint, it can crack. You also need to finish with the wax which helps soften the paint.

  17. Hi, I’m thinking of painting my sofa with chalk paint, the cushions are loose covers, and I’d like to still be able to wash them (messy household!). Do you think you could still wash these every now and again after painting with chalk paint?

    1. That is a great question, and I really don’t know how the chalk paint would hold up in the wash. Keep in mind that chalk painted fabric has a vinyl feel, so your couch won’t be soft like it probably is now. However, the vinyl-like painted fabric would be easier to wipe down which means you may not need to ever wash them like traditional fabric. One more thought – a couch would require A LOT of paint and patience. Good luck on what you decide!

  18. Hi Sara! (Sara is my daughter’s name and without the h also!)You do beautiful work. I enjoyed your pictures!
    I am getting ready to paint a chair and the material is corduroy.. I have the Annie Sloan paint though. Do you think this brand is ok or should I use the Americana brand? And should I also water it down? Thank you!!

  19. Hello,
    Thank you so much for all of the replies and the information. I have been thinking about painting two armchairs for over a year now and I have read many blogs and articles. Your explanation and kind answers to all of the questions was the best information I have found. I think I am finally ready to give it a try. Much appreciated!!

      1. After you chalk painted your chair, I see that you didn’t sand the fabric before waxing it…as i have seen in other same projects. I heard that sanding the fabric after the paint is dry before waxing makes the fabric softer.
        What is your experience?
        I will be painting a fabric chair soon, and didn’t know if I should sand the fabric first before I wax, or if it’s okay to not do that step.

  20. Hi- this looks great! I wonder how you protected the fabric after you painted it since you had to still paint the wood/arms. Thanks!!

  21. I just bought 4 skirted dining room chairs and will be painting them. Everything I’ve read says to use fabric medium. I see you don’t use it…why do some sites recommend it? Also, have you tried to spray paint fabric chairs? Thanks for any input!

    1. I didn’t use a fabric medium because I was using chalk paint, and it doesn’t require it. Four chairs will require a lot of paint, and I wonder it would be better to upholster them? I’m sure you’ve thought through everything, but it will be a lot of time (and paint) to do four chairs…