02 July 2014

Faux Leather Finish on Upholstery Using Chalk Paint

When it comes to reupholstering furniture, I'm the worst at committing to fabric. I've had less than stellar results in the past, so I find myself at a complete standstill when it comes time to pull the trigger.

These dining room chairs are a perfect example. I adore these chairs. However, I do not adore their traditional fabric. But as much as I dislike this fabric, my chairs have lived this way in my home for over a year (maybe two?).

traditional upholstery on a dining chair

I envision a leather upholstery more fitting with the modern aesthetic of the chairs; but I just can't bring myself to commit. So after reading some reviews on the pluses and minuses of painting upholstered fabrics, I decided to do a trial run and paint the fabric on these chairs.

Since I eventually want to replace the fabric with leather, I chose to use chalk paint. From what I read, it produces a more leather-like feel. If a softer more "fabric" feel is what you're after, using latex paint + a fabric medium is better for that application.

annie sloan chalk paint

The actual process couldn't have been easier.

I first watered down my chalk paint to a somewhat thick but soupy consistency (don't overcomplicated the process), then I misted the fabric with water and began painting.
before + after painted upholstery dining chairs

After two coats, with drying time in between, I then applied a coat of wax and buffed it out. Once it was buffed, the texture became very similar to leather in its feel + appearance.

dining chair fabric painted with chalk paint

With just a slight hint of sheen, it truly does look and feel very similar to leather.

leather effect painted upholstery

I absolutely love the effect. But even more, I love how it updated these chairs without me having to commit to new upholstery beforehand.

chalk painted upholstery

So, until I reupholster these beautiful chairs in the manner they truly do deserve, this technique is a great in-between (which I'm actually in no hurry to replace). But when the time comes and I'm ready to take the plunge, I now have a good idea of what they'll look like in the actual leather I envision. 

I'm rating this technique a win, especially when done on a small scale such as these dining chairs.



  1. great idea! i will try this with a pillow and see what i will make!

  2. How cool is this? It looks great--do you have any idea how it will wear?

  3. I haven't read anything on painting a suede; however, my motto is if it's time to recover, then why not give it a go? You're going to replace it anyway. Let me know if you decide to paint it - I'd love to see the result.

  4. I tried to research the durability, but came up with nothing. However, on these small pieces with only minimal use, I'm sure they'll wear just fine. I think I'd be more hesitant on a large piece that gets daily use.

  5. I have some upholstery as well. I tried learning to how to reupholstery them didn't turn out to well. This is such a creative idea. They turned out lovely.


Hello lovely reader! Please leave your thoughts and comments for me to ponder - I truly love reading each + every one!

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