Emma Block Illustration


The creative life of an illustrator living in London

How to Paint a Chair

fabric spray paint green chair peruvian textiles

Family Heirloom

A couple of years ago my granny decided to buy some comfier furniture and gave me a 1920s chair she no longer had room for. It's somewhere in between a dining chair and an armchair, it's probably what you would call a cocktail chair, though I have yet to drink a cocktail sitting in it. It was originally bought for my aunt as an engagement present from an antiques fair in Alexandra Palace. It's been passed about the family a fair bit and now ended up with me. It is a beautiful chair and still in great condition, but after a 100 years of people sitting on it, the light cream fabric was looking rather grubby. I booked a free consultation to see how much it would cost to have it professionally reupholstered. The lady who did the consultation was absolutely lovely, and quite accurately guessed from my flat full of IKEA furniture that £900 was a little bit more than I was willing to spend on one chair. Thus I began to do some research on a cheaper alternative and stumbled across the idea of painting the chair, which sounds like the kind of thing they would do on the Great Interior Design Challenge. Given that I was never going to spend £900 to have it reupholstered and it was only going to get more grubby as time went on I decided to have a go painting it.

fabric spray paint green chair before and after

A Quick Fix

I bought two cans of fabric spray paint from Simply Spray in Hunter Green. I was also very tempted by the coral, but I decided the dark green was a more versatile colour and would cover up the discolouration on the fabric better.

I covered the wooden legs in masking tape and my husband carried the chair down to the garden where we gave it its first coat of paint. The cans are really easy to use, just point and spray. The key is to cover it from all angles and keep the spray nice and even. It was dry to the touch after an hour or so. After a few days we dragged it back outside for coat number two, which made the colour richer and deeper and generally gave the impression of it being a green chair, rather than a beige chair that had been spray painted green. 

fabric spray paint green chair peruvian textiles
fabric spray paint green chair

The Final Result

All in all I'm really happy with the results. It was cheap and easy to do and it looks great. The fabric is a little bit less soft them before but it is a very firm chair made with horsehair, not a soft squishy chair you would lounge about in, so it doesn't make much difference. 

I love how it looks next to my umbrella plant and styled with my Peruvian cushion. The green and botanical theme continues with the botanical style prints that I've painted to go above the chair. This is the perfect spot for a cup of tea and a bit of reading/Instagram checking.

If you've got an old piece of furniture in need of a makeover, or you've spotted a piece at the charity shop with potential, I definitely recommend using this process. Let me know what you think in the comments. Would you ever spray paint your furniture?