May 1, 2015

Painting Upholstery - More Bergere Chairs

Most every piece of furniture in our house was bought second-hand.  When we moved here 11 years ago from Virginia, I sold our couches and several other pieces, not knowing if they'd fit well in our new house.

Very shortly after getting here, I discovered a wonderful used furniture store called, "Second Time Around."  Two years ago they changed to a furniture rental company.

But a couple of weeks ago my daughter and I were in Grand Rapids and found where they had moved!  They've changed their name to, "Furniture City" and are now owned by two of the former employees.

So I'm back in business!

I came home with a beautiful pair of Bergere chairs and a pair of end tables. Laura and I did quite a juggling act to get this all to fit in my Escape!

The chairs and tables are the nicest quality I've ever found and were in perfect condition.  The store had just gotten them that day. They would have gone perfectly with my old decor but their former owner must be doing the same thing I've been doing!

The fabric on them is such a nice quality and every detail was perfect.  But they needed an update.

So I painted the wood on the chairs and I painted the upholstery fabric and recovered the cushions with drop cloths.

I don't know who first came up with the idea of painting upholstery but if there's an award for this type of thing - I vote for them!  Who hasn't looked at a chair and just wished it was a different color?

I've painted upholstery on a chair once before and was not impressed, but this time I used chalk paint. I encountered a few bumps in the road - mostly because I did not like the first color I tried - but once I matched the drop cloth fabric better, I was happy with the results.

Also instead of buying chalk paint, I bought this additive from Amazon and have added it to several paints when I want chalk paint in that color. Rusty Hippo Instant Chalk Paint.  I used drop cloths from Menards.

There are lots of different drop cloths out there.  I recovered my patio cushions last year with a heavy, off-white drop cloth from Sherwin Williams. The drop cloths I used on these chairs and my love seat are an oatmeal color and came in a heavy texture and a very soft texture.

It took 4 coats of paint to cover the red and green plaid but the finish is perfect - very smooth and soft.

I also tried painting the fabric on the cushions but after 4 coats it felt a little like old patio furniture cushions - a little plasticy.  So I got rid of the old cushion covers and recovered them myself.  

I mixed my color myself for the wood trim.  If you have a chair this style, I would advise you to paint the fabric first, and then the wood trim.  There's no way to get the paint on the piping thoroughly without getting it on the wood. Then paint your wood trim.  I used a craft paint brush to go carefully around the edge.
The chalk paint gives a nice finish to both the wood and the fabric.   When you're done painting your fabric, sand it gently.  It takes away the feel of the paint and restores the soft finish to the fabric!
And here are my chairs in our living room!

I confess that I delayed starting this project because I did not want to ruin these chairs. What finally convinced me to start is the thought that if this didn't work, I'd just reupholster them.  But I'm very happy with result and feel that I couldn't have done as nice a job reupholstering them and they now have the look I wanted.

I'll be back next week with how I painted our little chest.

Have a wonderful weekend!

love and blessings~

"You will make known to me the path of life; in Your Presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever."  Psalm 16:11

I'm joining these linky parties:
Miss Mustard Seed
Posed Perfection
Joy in our Home
French Country Cottage
Common Ground
Karen's Up On the Hill
Stone Gable - The Scoop
A Stroll Thru Life
Savvy Southern Style


  1. Very pretty ! I like the calm feeling of your room....

  2. They look very nice! Your entire home is gorgeous!

    1. Thanks, Deb! I always like hearing from you! :)

  3. I am so impressed. I desperately want to paint two chairs and I'm scared to death. Reupholstering is not an option financially so if I ruin them, Oh Heavens! Anyway this has given me more courage. My concern is I don't want them to feel like plastic. I just don't. What grade sandpaper did you use, please?

    1. My cushion DID feel like plastic after 4 coats but the upholstery on the chairs feels like fabric. I would highly recommend chalk paint or the chalk paint additive that I used. The recipe is on the bag. I used the finest sand paper and it made all the difference. The final finish is smooth and soft. I also have a tutorial on my blog on how to reupholster yourself. It's not hard to do. I hope it works for you!!

  4. I also meant to ask what kind of paint did you start with before adding the instant chalk paint stuff. Thanks.

    1. I used water based wall paint (satin finish). If you're buying paint, a flat finish might be even better. One of the reasons I used satin is I just bought a paint sample and that's the only finish they'll give you. Hope you're happy with your finished product!

  5. Wow, they look great. Love your fireplace and that beautiful picture.
    I have seen others do that, but have always wondered if the paint or wax might come off if they get
    sat on very much, but recovering the cushions only... took care of that problem.
    Enjoy them, and great work.
    blessings, Nellie

    1. Thank you, Nellie! The paint soaks into the fabric so I don't think you'd ever need to worry about it rubbing off. But as I said, I had to do so many coats that they felt a little stiff and I didn't like that. Also, they made 'a noise' when you sat on them! lol
      Thanks for visiting!

  6. These chairs look great! They look really classy, even though some of them have been previously owned by someone else. It’s nice that you take the time to make everything match up in your rooms, even if they started out with different colors or upholstery. You’ve not only given them a new look, but also a new purpose in life, so to speak. Cheers!

    Jeremy Barker @ Chiavari Chairs of Michigan

    1. Thank you, Jeremy! Nice to hear from someone in Michigan!

  7. Lynda, Hi! I live in Michigan, also, and have just started thinking about doing some furniture painting and possibly try my hand at making a slip-cover. I have been following Miss Mustard Seed for a few months--the first blog I've hooked up with, and I find her very inspiring. From her blog I've become interested in furniture painting and decorating in general. Actually, I have always been interested in decorating but just haven't done much lately. Life has interfered, you know! Anyway, I like what you are doing and am dying to ask you where in Michigan you live! I am in the East Lansing area--have been here for thirty years and raised my two daughters--one 38, the other 32--here in a wonderful neighborhood.

    Thanks for sharing your work and ideas. I will be back!

    1. Hi Naomi! We live in Big Rapids, an hour north of Grand Rapids. We've been here for 11 years. My husband teaches Economics at Ferris St. Univ. We are originally from Denver but have lived a few places in between. We have three grown children, a son-in-law, and (almost) 3 grandchildren. Our third is due in 2 weeks! Thanks so much for visiting and for sharing where you are!
      love and blessings and hope to 'see' you soon! :)