Faux Painting Tricks – Paint your couch!
Whether you’re giving your personal porch a facelift, or figuring out how to spruce things up affordably at your gallery, here’s a great tip on how to paint your couch or exterior lawn furniture cushions.
Years ago I had a bad combination – lots of small kids and a new-ish, chintz print couch. It didn’t take long before Kool-Aid and other things stained it, but the upholstery was still good. With little ones I was not in the market for a new couch, so I decided to paint it instead.I created new couch pillows too, and painted them as well, giving them a quick spritz of iridescent glitter. (A local store was interested in selling my pillows after that!). The paint held up well.
Later, I found an upholstered mid-century era chair. It was badly sun bleached, so I painted it a cranberry color, let it dry, then painted a phrase in Shorthand Script as a tribute to my grandmother, who knew stenography. So with paint, you can make really cool patters – or just paint one solid color. But you get to choose the precise color you want. And if you mess up your pattern – so what? Just paint over it.
Here’s the before photo – a bunch of expensive, but now mildew-stained cushions and pillows. (The “After” photo is at the bottom.)
No matter how carefully you care for them, after years of use some outdoor furniture cushions really take a beating. Maybe you’ve tried bleach and other remedies to take out mildew and stains. But if you’re ready to buy new, consider painting them – you might love them even more!
So why paint your furniture cushions?
- Freshen up cushions or change your decor for a few dollars.
- Choose the exact color you like.
- You can create a matchig accent piece simply by using the same base color, but adding a design (like white, criss-cross lines, for example).
- You can breathe new life into old furniture.
- Repurpose aging furniture.
- Paint artwork right on your furniture if you like
- Believe it or not, paint holds up pretty well! And if it wears, you simply paint over it.
Some tips to help you paint your furniture:
- Try this first with furniture you’re willing to throw away
- Use an outdoor latex paint – it’s more UV resistant. Latex paints will not wash out of fabrics – including your clothes, so wear something junky to paint in.
- I found a small, foam roller much easier to use than a brush or large roller. I found the spongy foam roller easier to control.
- If you don’t have a paint pan, use an old butter tub
- If you get interrupted, don’t wash your rollers if you don’t have to. Wrap them tightly in a plastic grocery bag until later.
- You may want a small brush to dab corners
- A primer/paint combination works better than ordinary paint. It’s worth the higher price and covers in fewer coats – normally just 2 coats. (The orange settee was covered in only 1 coat.)
- Let the paint cure for a week before using the cushions, just so you don’t have someone leaving your
home with a painted bottom!
The surface will feel rough at first, but over time the paint will break in. It generally won’t wash off or rub off once it’s fully cured.
I can’t vouch for the safety of skin-to-paint contact, and personally don’t know if this is safer than using fabric dye or just buying new furniture. But in a pinch, it looks really great and is a project that doesn’t require a lot of time or expertise. My kids watched cartoons many Saturday mornings on our painted couch, and they turned out fairly normal, if that’s any consolation.