The Great Armchair Chalk-Over

Armchair Painted Makeover

Do you remember the last time I painted upholstery in my home? It was magical I tell you! I took a couple of worn mid-century modern chairs and gave them a much needed refresh using Chalk Paint® decorative paint. Well, I’m excited to join up with Annie Sloan Unfolded for their #MadeItMyOwn campaign! This time I’m taking an army of mismatched dining room furniture pieces and turning them into one cohesive style.

Want to join in the fun too?

Just upload a photo of your own Annie Sloan projects using the hashtag #MadeItMyOwn to the interactive online gallery. Let me know if you do! I love seeing your creativity in action…plus I’m convinced no one has more amazing readers than I do. 😉

The projects can range from furniture to flooring to décor – and everything in between! By posting your project to the gallery, you’ll automatically be entered for a chance to win $100’s worth of Annie Sloan prizes, including Chalk Paint®, signed books, as well as a unique illustration drawn by Annie! But hurry, it all ends September 30th.

Here’s what you do:

1. Print out your frame here (or pick one up from your local stockist: find yours here)

2. Carefully cut out the middle section

3. Hold the frame in front of your painting project

4. Take a photo and upload it to the gallery

5. Share it and the post with your friends and followers on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, adding #MadeItMyOwn


Making My Dining Room My Own

Look at this hodgepodge disaster. This big project was perfect for a great paint-over, or chalk-over if you will. I have SO much to share, a single post couldn’t contain it all, so today I’m going to start by sharing just this one sweet little armchair and the great big makeover it got. Then in the next post, I’ll share the rest of the dining room set.


See that little guy hiding in the corner? The fuzzy blue tufted one? That blue was just too bright and ugly to work in the space, but I loved it’s little tuft, and hated to rip it all out in the name of re-decorating, so I’m diving into my old love of upholstery painting and giving this bright little guy a much more sophisticated air.

Options, Options, and Yet More Options…

What a fantastic canvas this little round chair is; the options are endless! Hmm, having so many possibilities can be your best friend or your worst enemy if you are as indecisive as I am. With a chair like this you can easily go either direction, light or dark, bold or neutral. Since this baby is going in my dining room, I’m leaning toward a dark blue or blackish hue to add to the moody design I want in my space.


Once you choose which direction you want to go with your color, trust me and don’t go back! Make it a one time paint job to keep the material nice and soft.


Last time I painted upholstery, I watered the Chalk Paint® decorative paint down and rubbed it in using a sponge brush. However the cushions of that seat were removable and I was able to rinse them down after. On this little round chair some of the upholstered area is built-in to the design of the seat itself. In this case, I’m using my Annie Sloan pure bristle brush (love this thing!) to dry brush the paint on. Don’t water it down, use the Chalk Paint® at it’s full strength. Don’t dip your brush deeply in the paint either, just a little on the tip of the bristles brushed on will be enough. Brush in a circular fashion, and leave it with all the fibers standing up to dry.


It covers very easily, but be thorough so you only require one coat. You want to keep the application as light as possible so the fabric stays soft. I used a sponge brush to get in the little nooks and crannies of the tufts.


Let the paint dry, then use a stiff bristled scrub brush and vigorously brush it all over. This is like ‘sanding’ without the harshness of actual sanding. I don’t recommend actual sanding while using this dry brush method, it will take some of the color off. This will suffice to soften your paint job up.

It is very easy to paint the rest of the chair from there, then you don’t have to worry about taping off the upholstered areas. Just paint it all!


Here I am applying the Annie Sloan Dark Soft Wax to seal the paint job (tips to follow in the next post). Rather than taping off the upholstery to protect it from getting wax on it, I wrapped the rag around my finger and used it to push the wax into the edges.


I love a slightly distressed edge, but a beautiful alternative was to use a bit of gold rub-n-buff along the edges.

DS - 004


Once you are done with the wooden parts of the chair, allow it to dry thoroughly.


When everything is dry, go back and brush the upholstery one last time, for good measure. 😉 This is what the chair looks like when it is complete with a full paint job all over.

Stained Wood Option

I’ve shown you how easy it is to paint the entire chair and own a completely new look. However if you love the wood grain look, simply protect the wood by taping it off near the upholstered sections, and only paint the upholstered parts!

That can make for a beautiful finish as well!

Armchair Makeover

I can’t wait to show you what I’ve done with my dining set. The change to the dining room from a simple chalk-over is phenomenal! Till then…

Like this, love this -1200 x 100

24 Comments on The Great Armchair Chalk-Over

  1. Carla
    March 26, 2019 at 12:25 am (3 years ago)

    Is there a utube video I can watch of this procedure? I’d like to paint an off white loveseat a denim blue, but not sure how to start…it would be nice to have a step-by-step tutorial. Thanks, Carla

    • Ursula Carmona
      April 2, 2019 at 10:08 am (3 years ago)

      No video at the moment, but I will try to create one! Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. Pegi Merriman
    August 2, 2018 at 11:50 am (3 years ago)

    Hi Ursula,
    The chairs I plan to dry brush are at the dining table. Should I at least coat them with Scotch Guard, or no?

    • Ursula Carmona
      August 2, 2018 at 4:53 pm (3 years ago)

      It certainly couldn’t hurt…but only after you have gotten the upholstery to desire. Completely dried for several days, and as soft as you want it to be. Good luck!

  3. Jennifer
    July 31, 2018 at 11:09 pm (3 years ago)

    Ursula, did you wet the fabric before painting with AS chalk paint?

    • Ursula Carmona
      August 1, 2018 at 7:59 am (3 years ago)

      I have done both on two different chairs. This one I did not wet the fabric first…I simply dry brushed it on as thinly as possible. If you have removable cushions those can be wet before and after. Good luck!

  4. Andrea
    February 11, 2017 at 8:56 pm (5 years ago)

    Hi, I’m not sure if it’s my monitor, but your graphite color looks more like a rich, dark gray, which is what I am looking for to cover my red microfiber chairs. At the A.S. site, it looks like true black. Would you say it’s more gray than black? Thanks for sharing.

    • Ursula Carmona
      February 13, 2017 at 7:42 pm (5 years ago)

      Hi Andrea! Yes, it is definitely more grey… I asked some Annie Sloan experts, and they said it is because it is being true to the old days when there was no actual black paint color. However, once you use the dark wax (which of course only applies when working with wood) it turns more of a black color.

      • Andrea
        February 15, 2017 at 3:05 pm (5 years ago)

        Thanks for your quick reply!

      • Andrea
        March 4, 2018 at 7:12 pm (4 years ago)

        Hi Ursula, I am *finally* going to paint my microfiber chairs. I have read many posts which suggest using the Annie Sloan wax to seal the painted fabric. Yes, the fabric. I am wondering how yours is holding up without the wax on the fabric portion of your chair. Have you had any issue with the color rubbing off or problems cleaning the fabric? I don’t want my microfiber to feel like pleather from a wax. I’d rather have it turn out close to the original texture. Thanks, Andrea

        • Ursula Carmona
          March 4, 2018 at 10:46 pm (4 years ago)

          Hi Andrea! Wow, I had not heard that one before. I can see why you would be hesitant…I would be too! lol! My chairs have held up incredibly! They look and feel the same as the day I first did it (which is 3 or 4 years now). The color can’t ‘rub’ off because it has acted more like a dye would. It can probably be re-stained or bleached by accident. Although, I have even used carpet cleaner on this bad boy once, and thrown one of my cushions in the washer another time. Nope, at least my type of chair material seems like the color is pretty much there to stay.

          • Andrea
            March 4, 2018 at 11:14 pm (4 years ago)

            Thank you, again, for being so quick with your reply. I am so happy to hear this as I was getting discouraged. I am picking up my paint this week and look forward to the results. Thanks for your help. 🙂


  5. Linda
    July 9, 2016 at 11:00 am (5 years ago)

    Really appreciate all your instructions – I’m going to do this to a red/gold chair and hope I can get it cover in an ivory. If it takes more than one coat, will that be too “crusty?”

  6. Heather
    March 2, 2016 at 12:34 pm (6 years ago)

    I LOVE this color! Did you use AS Graphite?

    • Ursula Carmona
      March 2, 2016 at 3:32 pm (6 years ago)

      Yes I did! Loooooove that color, and the dark wax. 😉

  7. Carrie Cassidy
    January 31, 2016 at 2:06 pm (6 years ago)

    I tried this on my old love seat. The results were mixed. It looks cleaner and fresher, but it does feel weird. Here are the errors I made–I’m sharing so others don’t do the same. First, the fabric should be in good condition–the thread pulls are more pronounced and spikey afterward (my seat was very worn). Second, choose a color darker than the darkest color in the original fabric. At the shop where I bought the paint, they said that a lighter color would cover. To get coverage I had to use two coats, and that’s what you, Ursula, said not to do (and you were right). The nylon brush wasn’t strong enough, so we used ScotchBrite sanding pads, which made the surface more pliable, but also made it so the original pattern in several spots. I hope you don’t take this as a complaint. I’m sure your project worked well and it looks lovely. I’d never had thought to try this without you.

    • Ursula Carmona
      January 31, 2016 at 5:31 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks for sharing! Every bit of info shared is always a good thing here! You never know what differences there might be from furniture piece to furniture piece. 😉

  8. Lily
    October 1, 2015 at 12:29 am (6 years ago)

    lol sorry of course i read the rest of the comments after I wrote my comment where you actually indicated that it does not get crusty.

    • Ursula Carmona
      October 1, 2015 at 8:42 am (6 years ago)

      Oh haha! No problem! It is a good question…and if I hadn’t used this specific technique, it might have become crusty…but this dry brushing works like a charm!!

  9. Lily
    October 1, 2015 at 12:26 am (6 years ago)

    Man that looks so cool. I wonder if the paint makes the fabric all crusty but it the photos it looks rather soft. 🙂

  10. Timisha
    September 13, 2015 at 2:22 pm (6 years ago)

    I just love the full paint cover option you did! Fantastic job. I will start renovating my dining room soon and you have been a wealth of ideas and information. Thank you!

    • Ursula Carmona
      September 13, 2015 at 3:46 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks Timisha girl!
      I’d love to see your dining room when you post! Do share, and good luck! 😉

  11. DanDan
    September 13, 2015 at 12:53 pm (6 years ago)

    I had no idea you could paint upholstery! Thought it would get all stiff and weird. Does is last for long or wear off?
    A whole new world just opened up. Thanks.

    • Ursula Carmona
      September 13, 2015 at 2:05 pm (6 years ago)

      Glad to hear! With regular paint it probably would get stiff and weird, but with Chalk Paint you brush it while dry and all the chalk dusts right out leaving behind the dyed material. Of course anything dyed isn’t wearing out so easily, except perhaps to be faded by the sun over time or bleached, so no fear of it wearing off!! 🙂


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