How to Paint a Couch

How to Paint a Couch and Dye Fabric

Hey guys, I’m so happy to be partnering with Dinah at DIY Inspired again! I think you guys are really going to like this how to paint a couch project. I painted my couch and it has been featured all over the internet and over 250K views on YouTube. Knowing I’d own a pink couch one day and with the cost of re-upholstering this baby, I didn’t think my dream would ever come true, but it did. I made my dream come true. If you’re dreaming about owning a different colored sofa (maybe yellow, blue or green?) I’m here to give you that extra boost of inspiration.

Here is the couch BEFORE.

How to Paint a Couch - BEFORE

I really had my heart set on a pink couch from IKEA, but when I went to buy it, they were unfortunately out of stock and it had been discontinued. This couch was on eBay for $150! It’s a vintage French provincial style sofa with a damask fabric on a solid wood frame. For $150 I couldn’t turn it down. I fell in love with the vintage frame and the measurements were exactly what I was looking for. Buying it asap I knew:

  • it wasn’t going to last very long at that price and
  • I could change out the white upholstery.

I try not to look at something as it is but look at it things as what it could be. Some quotes I got on pricing to change out the upholstery and it was going to cost over $1k! I gave up on that idea because that wasn’t happening. The desire for a pink couch had turned into a need and I wasn’t giving up. After researching several alternative methods, I headed to Lowe’s.

I got this chalky paint from Lowe’s. It only comes in select colors, so I obviously got the pink. (This was before I knew you could DIY chalky paint)

What You Need

Time: Weekend project


This materials list has Amazon affiliate links for recommended products I use. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

How to Paint a Couch Video



It would be a wise idea to shampoo your furniture with a carpet cleaner prior to paint-dying it. I didn’t have a carpet cleaner on-hand though. It’s best to start at the back of the couch so you can get the hang of it. I used a spray bottle and sprayed down the sofa in sections, ensuring it was extremely wet.

How to Paint a Couch and Dye Fabric

Dying the Fabric

I used the chalk paint, working in sections, dying the fabric. Chalk paint when diluted with water, soaks through the upholstery and dyes the fabric. I worked in sections making sure to get the fabric extremely wet and diluting the paint before I applied the paint.

If I could go back in time I would’ve used a round waxing brush and used circular motions applying the paint because my paintbrush didn’t work very well and it took SEVERAL coats and swirling circular motions with that brush to get deep into the fabric crevices.

After the paint dried I re-wet it and mixed more water with the paint and applied again. I repeated that process and it took me 4 coats of paint and 2 days to finish this project.

Final Touches

After the last coat of paint was dry, I sanded the cushions lightly with fine grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface. Sanding lightly made the cushions feel soft again. This is another reason it’s important to use more water than you think you need. If you don’t use enough water, your cushions will become hard and crunchy.

Note: If you’re painting on leather or vinyl you don’t need to sand.

After sanding, I wiped away all the dust and then applied a wax coating to seal the paint. The wax coating is supposed to enhance and protect the furniture so you can clean it. I applied to wax with a rag and worked it into the pores of the paint.  Think about it like lotion for your skin. The wax won’t change the color of the paint, but it’s supposed to enhance it.

I was loving how this was coming together, but I had to go that extra step. Next, I measured the buttons in the tufting and bought some rhinestones the same size. I applied the rhinestones onto the tufting with fabric glue for an extra pop of glam.

How to Paint a Couch - AFTER

Number One Piece of Advice

I couldn’t have been happier with how this couch turned out. It makes me happy every time I look at it. I have several FAQ’s and follow up posts about this project because I had so many questions. But the number one piece of advice I can give you is to ensure that you use enough water. You can’t use too much water for this project. Allow the paint to seep into the cushion and dye the fabric. You’re not really painting your couch; you’re dying the fabric. I hope that this post has inspired you to create something beautiful today!

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  1. Does the paint ever transfer on clothes? I have a beautiful old but awesome green couch that really needs new life because I keep it covered with a blanket. My only concern is if the paint transfers.

  2. Thank-you so much for this very detailed diy project! I’m going to paint my couches next week was just wondering if you have the color name, I see Valspar has a few shades of pink I just want to make sure I get the same one!
    Cheers from Canada

  3. Is this a better option, to you, than traditional die, like Rit, for this process?
    And does this painting of the upholstery leave it stuff at all? I am painting satin.

  4. The upholstery turned out great. Not feeling the woods tone with that shade of pink though. You should Sand it and restrain or even leave natural or paint or stain pink for a monochromatic look.

  5. Hi, just saw your post…I mixed equal parts chalk paint with regular interior latex house paint (white, in my case) and did layer after layer, allowing it to dry for 24 hours between coats. It worked out great! It makes for a sort of canvas effect, which is comfy and pet proof. I found velvets and furry furniture doesn’t work well, but my sort of damask loveseat and chair, and my basic cheap cotton/polyester furniture did well.

  6. Hi! Love your sofa! I read somewhere to use latex paint and water. Is chalk better? One problem I have is that my sofa has gold studs. If I happen to get a little paint on them will it peel or sand off?

    1. Hi Sandy! I’m not sure if chalk is better because I haven’t tested latex paint and water. Regarding the gold stubs, I would place some painter’s tape over them to protect them.

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