An old or ugly sofa you inherited from Aunt Pinuccia can be a big punch in the eye at home. You can be tempted to throw it away and get rid of it once and for all, but there is another way to keep your sofa, sit on it and enjoy it. Upholstery is so out of fashion - as well as costing a lot (the right price, if you're lucky) or requiring good sewing skills. You can get around these solutions by painting your sofa with spray paint to make it look good as new.
Step 1. Choose the sofa
Clearly, if you already have a ruined, old one lying around your house, it's the ideal candidate. Just be sure to ask anyone who uses it first if they agree with the change of look - they will probably all agree with changing or throwing it away, as long as they don't have to! It is also a good idea to agree on the new color with which to repaint the sofa before starting; ask for the favorite colors of your partner, roommates or anyone else involved. If you live alone, quietly avoid these scruples. Another thing - this article takes into consideration the sofas upholstered in fabric. You will have to find a different option for sofas in leather, polyester or vinyl, as they need different treatment and upholstery, as they are usually resistant to paint.
- The sofa does not necessarily have to be in your home. Maybe you saw a great one at the thrift store but you didn't like the color, or you felt the need to freshen it up. Don't hold back - the spray paint solution might just be the motivation to convince you to buy that old sofa.
- If you want to change the color of a new sofa, make sure everyone agrees. Those who love the new sofa tend to be more reticent about changes if it is still in excellent condition.
You can test the compatibility of a sofa with the paint by adding a drop of water. If water seeps into the sofa, it can usually be sprayed. On the contrary, if the water does not pass, the sofa is probably also impermeable to the paint.
Step 2. Choose the colors
It's a good idea to keep the color change as simple as possible, as it is quite a chore to use spray paint on a sofa, and any deviation from a simple color will increase efforts and challenges. The color should be neutral or suitable for the current decor. Neutral colors have the advantage of being open to any chromatic addition of the cushions, etc. If you want to paint the sofa with more than one color (for example with stripes or cushions in a different color than the rest of the sofa), be sure to match the colors well.
Step 3. Purchase the necessary paints
For a fabric sofa, you will need a special industrial fabric paint that can evenly cover the sofa and blend with the sofa fabric. Don't use classic hardware store spray paints - the result will be a creaky, crumbly sofa that no one will dare to sit on. Instead, choose spray paints made specifically for textiles, available in dye shops and some DIY stores. The clerk will be able to answer your questions regarding particular brands and colors.
- Make sure the paint matches the fabric of your sofa. Check that the paint includes sofas and armchairs among the compatible fabrics, as not all paints are suitable. If it's not clearly written, ask the clerk or paint manufacturer directly. An email to the producer should be a good way to get clarity.
- You could also get away with adding a textile compound to an acrylic or latex paint; this addition can make the standard paint more flexible, for use on incompatible fabrics. In this case, you will need to use a roller or brush instead of the spray.
Step 4. Prepare the sofa for painting
It is a great idea to steam the sofa, or even have it professionally cleaned, before starting. This will remove stains, bits of food, dust and other grime, giving you a real “blank canvas” to work on. If you are looking for special offers, you can often call home professionals to clean the sofa; if the carpets also need cleaning, ask for a cumulative discount.
In addition to cleaning, take the opportunity to repair holes and grooves in the sofa. They will not disappear with the paint, and will continue to expand with the pressure of those who sit down. If you feel like it, sew the cuts yourself with sturdy thread, or hire a seamstress or professional technician to fix them. Avoid scotch tape - it might sound like a good idea, but it will just peel off and make the situation worse.
If you need to replace the springs, start considering how much it is worth compared to buying a new sofa. If you can fix the springs and keep the costs down, then the repair might be fine, otherwise it might be better to throw the sofa away and start over.
Remove the cushions from the sofa to paint them separately, or to cover them in a new fabric matching the paint. Cover the area under the cushions with a cloth attached with painters' scotch tape so it doesn't get dirty.
Cover with paper or painter's tape any part of the sofa that you do not want to color, such as the wooden legs, the structure, the armrests, etc. If you are using more than one color, you must cover all the parts of other colors with a rag that is perfectly attached to the area to be painted. Every single thing not to paint needs to be protected by scotch tape.
Step 5. Prepare the area where the painting will take place
You will use spray paints, so you need a place where the paint can run without the risk of damaging surrounding objects, and excellent ventilation will be needed (the absence of ventilation around the fumes of the paint can sicken you and even make you sick). The garage, an external driveway, a large room, etc. they are probably ideal places - in rooms or garages, be sure to keep all windows and doors open; if there is a fan, use it to remove the fumes. Be aware, in case of an external environment, of the need for very dry and clear days for about a week; otherwise you will have to take the sofa indoors to dry, as each layer needs several days to dry before you can add the next one.
Use scrap sheets and materials to cover the whole area; excess paint risks staining anything. Cover walls, floors, accessories and furniture. You can use old sheets or used rags, but also buy protective sheets at home improvement stores - they are often very cheap and can be reused several times.
Set up a platform for the paint, rags, brushes (for finishing), solvent, and everything in between. Keep everything close to the sofa (the solvent helps in case of mistakes - you can remove the paint quickly by putting the solvent on a rag).
Step 6. Get ready
In addition to ventilation, you may want to wear a mask to avoid inhaling toxic fumes. Gloves are also a good idea, to avoid staining your skin, and old clothing and shoes, as you'll end up staining them all with paint. Tie up any long hair to protect it and consider wearing protective glasses to prevent paint from getting in your eyes.
Step 7. Take a test drive
You can always try the colors on a hidden spot on the sofa first to see if you like them. It is advisable to do this before painting the entire sofa and then discovering that you do not like the final product. Go to the back of the sofa and spray some paint where no one will be able to see it.
As for the color, check the compatibility of the paint with the sofa. Check that it dries evenly, that it does not come off once dry and that it looks good. Drip water onto the test corner after drying, then rub a white or otherwise clear cloth over the stain to see if the paint stays in place. If it comes off, the type of paint is not suitable for the sofa fabric and you will need to try another one - you don't want to stain your clothes or leather from the newly painted sofa.
Step 8. Approach the project as you would to whitewash a room, breaking down the work into the various parts of the sofa in a methodical way
In any case, apply a light first coat, let it dry, then add more layers, always aiming for an overall consistency. Quickly remove any smudges, or use a brush to smooth them evenly into the remaining paint.
- Use a thin brush to finish the spray paint in corners, fabric details, or any nubs / creases that the paint may have missed.
- In case the brush loses hair, remove it immediately, otherwise it will look unprofessional when dried on the sofa.
Step 9. Paint the back of the sofa first
Stay on the safe side and start from the back of the sofa. Start from the top and paint in thin, even strips, overlapping them going downwards. This initial layer might look streaky and light but that's okay, because you're actually setting the stage for the next layers.
Don't worry if the designs or colors of the sofa are still visible after painting. Remember that dark paints can cover old colors or designs faster than light ones. You may need to apply more coats in case of clear paint.
Step 10. Now move to the sides of the sofa
Then move on to the armrests and front, painting each time as in the previous step to get a base coat of paint. Then, in case you want to color the cushions, paint them separately (they will need to be turned, so the various colored areas will need some time to dry before you can paint the missing sides).
It might be better to cover the cushions with a fabric that matches the color of the sofa. This gives you the opportunity to try contrasting patterns, and it is much easier to cover rectangular or square cushions with fabric rather than an entire sofa
Step 11. Wait more than a day (approximately 3) before adding new coats of paint
This time it is essential to determine if you like the color and if the paint adheres properly to the fabric. After 3 days, rub the paint with a white cloth to make sure it is dry and bound to the sofa fabric. The base will definitely tell you if this type of paint and / or color is right for the sofa.
Step 12. If you like the color, start applying the first coat of paint
As mentioned above, methodically paint each part of the sofa to form a second layer. Each time you pass the spray paint, add one layer at a time, waiting a couple of days between one layer and the next. Although it may seem like a long, wordy process, it is the only way to guarantee a decent final result.
In any case, aim for the consistency of the layers. Avoid spraying too much paint on each layer; aim for a smooth and uniform look
Step 13. Stop adding layers when you are satisfied with the appearance of both color and uniformity
The final aspect is a matter of personal taste. Just avoid using too much paint, or it could be like sitting on a paper mache project! In many cases, only one layer in addition to the first will suffice.
Once you are happy with the result, scrub the sofa with a white cloth to remove any lint in the fabric or lumps of paint
Step 14. Try the painted sofa
Sit down with your friends, a good drink and your favorite movie for a test drive. If your friends are careful, you might even get compliments!
- Sofas may react and dry differently depending on the spray used and the fabric. Nylon and 100% polyester may not tolerate spray paint in the same way as other materials.
- Avoid washing the sofa with soap and water for at least a week after applying the last wipe, to ensure the spray paint has the time it takes to dry and set.
- Before using professional cleaners on your spray-painted sofa, test it in a hidden corner; some cleaners may remove the paint.
- Never paint your sofa outdoors, unless you are sure that the weather will remain clear. If it rains, your project will be ruined. Always bring the sofa indoors for the drying periods.
- Always make sure the sofa is yours alone if you live with other people. It's not a good idea to repaint your roommate's favorite sofa without asking!