Painted Upholstered Furniture – yes, upholstered!


Hello Everyone!

My home is really coming along now, and I am going to start to take more photos to share with you, etc. One thing I’ve been doing as an interior designer who prides herself on affordable rooms is inadvertently been using myself as a guinea pig of sorts. I’ve discovered that decorating for oneself (a picky self) in a one-bedroom apartment with inadequate storage has been a challenge, but so far, I am thrilled with the results and want to share some of what I’ve learned with you.

Now, some of this, I would never do for a client, (unless they really wanted me to!) but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it yourself.

I think I may have told you that when I got my Donald cabinet, it was just waaaay darker than I was expecting and not really what I had in mind, so I painted it and not only did I paint that, I also painted my gorgeous Wagner chairs from CR Laine!

Wait, Laurel. You painted your UPHOLSTERED chairs? The UPHOLSTERY???

yep. I did and it’s totally AWESOME. (if I say so myself) ;]

The original chair, I did for my client’s sun room and love it as is.



Then, I published it on Facebook and the folks at CR Laine and lot of other people loved it too. The fabric is Windsor Smith’s for Kravet Malu Ikat in lemon drop. I had it backed with this heavy backing, so it’s really durable. The chairs arrived about 3 weeks ago and I absolutely loved the shape, style AND fabric, except in my not that big living room, it looked too intense, AND summery, so I thought… hmmmm… what if I could tone them down? So, I did some research and came up with many blogs about people who had actually PAINTED their furniture using many different types of paint. So, I researched that too and then I remembered that I had some craft paint and a matte glazing medium to thin it out… and I thought… what the hell… let me experiment on some of the fabric I had left over. After I did that, I then, gingerly tried it on the decking under the seat cushion because if I hated it, I could just cover it back up with the seat cushion and no one would ever know.

So, I mixed together a few different things until I got the desired effect and made my samples. Then, I tried my favorite one on the decking. I stood back and went, YES, THAT’S IT! The result is a far more muted design.

Here please enjoy these early photos of part of my living room. You will see part of the Donald cabinet in all its painted glory. (That’s Benjamin Moore Cotton Balls in case you are wondering.)




These pillows, you may have noticed have some worn welting. I have had these pillows since I started my business in 1996 and to this day love them as much as ever, particularly as they look with this beautiful lemon-y yellow. It makes me a bit nuts(ier)! I first saw this fabric on Ina Garten’s sofa in East Hampton and found it at Clarence House for about a million dollars a yard, so I bought three yards and got as much mileage out of it as I could. I believe that its discontinued now. One day, I’ll have them fixed up. But for now, I don’t care. They represent that true love endures even when things get a bit shopworn. :]



7th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2020 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Loi - Tone on Tone - June 9, 2013 - 5:58 PM

    The chairs look gorrrrr-geous, Laurel!! Can’t believe you hand painted over the white parts. I think it looks very elegant, more subtle, and so tone-on-tone now 🙂 Way to go – high five, girl!! x LoiReplyCancel