Painted Fabric Sectional

Hey y’all. I just painted my parents Henredon sectional circa 1980 something and LOVE IT.

First of all the frame is 100% perfect after all these years and the cushions are holding their original shape too. Proof that you get what you pay for when you buy quality furniture.

I happily adopted it for our basement with the intent to make slipcovers or paint it. The fabric pattern was a bit dated but the sectional was still every bit as comfortable.

BEFORE – here she is in all her glory. I LOVE that I inherited her but it’s time to give her a lil facelift.

I decided to go the paint route after reading several blogs. I figured if it didn’t work out I could always do slip covers as my plan B. 

Believe it or not the supplies are simple….


1. Spray bottle to mist the fabric with water so it’s damp

2. Plastic container to mix ingredients

3. Fabric Softener

4. Satin latex paint

5. Water based sealer

6. Assortment of Brushes- Stencil brush, regular paint brush, assorted sized brushes

7. Sandpaper if needed


Mix 2 cups paint, 1 cup water, 1 cup laundry softener. I used a full solo cup as my measurement tool following the above formula.


Mist fabric with your spray bottle until damp. Apply the paint on the fabric and let dry.

Keep misting and painting. If there are any blobs or globs between coats use sandpaper lightly to remove them before you apply a second coat.

I hoisted the sectional pieces up on saw horses versus crawling around on the floor. I gave the pieces a quick vacuum and rolled them with the lint roller before getting started.

Misted with water until damp and then brushed on one coat.

The original fabric colors were muted but still showing with one coat. The paint is thinned by the water and softener then painted on damp fabric so it doesn’t dry hard or stiff.

I honestly wasn’t sure what was going to happen with the striped white, mauve, turquoise and brown splashes. The colors disappeared but the white stripes remained visible. I don’t mind that at all- it’s kind of like a modern pinstripe.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. The sectional has 5 pieces with a seat cushion and back cushions. The cushions took longer than the seat frames because I could only paint one side at a time.

The 2 sectional bases closest to the camera were completed in this photos. The corner piece and the one next to it only had one coat.

I ordered a 9×12 reversible patio mat from Amazon. It’s very large and anchors the space visually yet it was inexpensive. It’s an outdoor material that can be hosed down so it’s basically life proof! Exactly the kind of thing we want around here.

All sectional bases were completed after 3 coats. I decided the bases did not need to be sanded in between and I left them as is.

I used fine sandpaper to lightly sand between every coat on the cushions. The cushions required 3 coats as well and took longer as I could only work on one side at a time. 

Over on my Desperate Craft Wife Facebook page I received a lot of questions.

Here are a few Q&A to reference.

Q- Does it smell like paint?

A- no, it smelled like the laundry softener I used for a few days and then no smell

Q- What does the fabric feel like after being painted?

A- it still feels like fabric but different. I would say it feels like a heavily scotch-guarded outdoor cushion. My mom said it felt like chintz which is described as a firm, medium to heavyweight glazed fabric.

Do you have questions not answered above? Leave your questions in the comment section and I’ll reply.

In the end I’m 100% happy that I dared to paint the sectional!

Happy painting-


About Laurel Dane Designs, LLC

I am customizing our final house into a home one room at a time. This is our 11th and final home so every detail is curated to create our FOREVER home. I've worked on many homes of our own and client's home so there is plenty of inspirational for all home sizes and styles here. There are tutorial blogs for DIY projects to recipes- this blog is all things HOME. I hope you will join me and find inspiration here.

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