Find Out How To Dye A Sofa And Upgrade Your Living Room

Living in the same house for years, you might feel tired and bored at some point that you want to upgrade and change the decoration of your living room perhaps. We all have “bad days”, and we break out in our house rearranging the plants in the living room or organising the kitchen.

But there are more you can do to upgrade a room. You can, for example, paint your kitchen cabinets or even the tiles. An easy way to upgrade your sitting room would be to bleach the covers if you can remove them and wash them in the washing machine or use sofa slipcovers. However, there’s a safer way to make it like new again; dye your old, faded sofa. It’s a simple and easy DIY project! Ready to find out how to dye a sofa and upgrade your sitting room? Come and check our step-by-step tutorial.

What are the benefits of dyeing your sofa?

A good way to save money and make your sofa look new again is to dye it. But there are more to convince you that you should dye your sofa:

  1. It’s much cheaper to dye a sofa than change it.
  2. If you dye your old sofa, you will upgrade the rest of your room along with it.
  3. It will help the sofa last longer.
  4. It’s the easiest way to transform a sofa yourself.
  5. Transforming and upgrading your sofa will make you feel better.

Things you need to consider before dyeing your canvas sofa

An inexpensive solution to upgrade and transform your seating area is to dye your couch. But, before starting looking at what colour to dye your canvas sofa with, there are a couple of things you should take into account.

Knowing the Real Canvas

To have the desired results, you have to know your sofa’s upholstery fabric consistency, as not all dyes are suitable for every fabric. Depending on the fabric’s fibre content, you’ll decide the dye you will use to ensure that the pigment will adhere and won’t come out.

Real canvas is made of natural or cellulose fibres, like cotton, linen or hemp. The best dyes for such materials are the fibres reactive dyes. Just before getting into action, ensure that your sofa isn’t treated with a chemical that causes water to bead. Otherwise, you won’t be able to dye it.

living room with white walls, lights on the ceiling, big carpet with sofa and table on it

Taking out the fabric

While doing your research on how to dye your sofa, you’ll have found that it’s recommended to submerge the fabric in dyeing upholstery covers. It’s supposed to be the best way to get even results and coverage.

However, before doing the same with your canvas sofa covers, you have to be sure of two things:

  1. That you can remove the covers from the couch and put it back afterwards.
  2. That the fabric sofa won’t shrink, keep in mind that cotton tends to shrink. Hence, if you have a cotton fibre canvas, maybe you should reconsider it before you dye it.

Consider using a spray

If you don’t want to or can’t remove the fabric of the couch, you can use fabric dyes. They don’t require submerging the fabric into boiling water or chemicals to set the dye. You can spray them while the fabric is on the couch. How? By mixing the dye in a spray bottle and spraying the sofa. It’s easier and more practical this way, don’t you think?

Unfortunately, there are a couple of cons you should consider:

  1. Probably, you won’t be able to get even coverage or dye the hard-to-reach spots of the couch with the fabric spray paint method.
  2. With this method, you won’t wash the fabric in the washing machine to remove any excess dye. So, anyone who sits on this couch, they’ll end up with a dye stamp on their clothes. However, you can remove some of the excess dye by wiping the couch with a damp cloth.

Use fabric paint

Instead of dyeing your sofa, you can paint it. There are high-quality fabric paints that can help you change your sofa’s colour. You can do the same as you would if you used a spray dye directly onto the couch. Use fabric spray paint. However, it would be better if you used an airbrush instead of a spray bottle.

Dyes tend to make fabric darker, and you don’t have the variety on the colour options. You’ll have to dye your couch with similar colours to the one you already have. But you can do whatever you like with fabric paints. To paint your sofa a lighter colour or a completely different one.

Color wheel palette for choosing paint tone

How to spray dye your sofa step-by-step

You have chosen which piece of furniture to makeover, what colour to dye it with, and you’re ready to get into work. Before starting working, there are a few things you need to be sure about.

Have you chosen the right sofa?

You can spray dye fabric-covered sofas. Leather, polyester, and vinyl-covered sofas need different treatments as they’re paint-resistant. And one other thing. To check if you can dye your sofa, add a drop of water at a spot on the sofa. If the couch absorbs the water, then you can spray dye it. If it doesn’t and the water beads up, then your couch will resist the paint.

What colour to paint the couch?

When it comes to choosing the colour, it would be best to keep the colour changes the simplest possible. It takes much effort to spray paint. If you make wrong colour changes, it will take more effort and will be a great challenge.

To stay on the safe side, opt for neutral colours or similar to the existing ones. Neutral colours are the best choices as you can add different coloured cushions. What’s more, if you want more than one colour on your couch, like wide stripes or different coloured seat cushions, be sure that you choose colours that match each other.

What paints to get?

As we said earlier, not all paints are suitable for a fabric sofa. You need to get specially formulated fabric paints which you can find at thrift stores, craft and furniture renovation stores. You may also want to try to dye your sofa with chalk paint. Just before purchasing your paints:

  • Be sure you get a paint designed for the same fabric type as the one your sofa has. Check if the paint mentions sofas with a compatible fabric. If you aren’t sure, ask someone at the store to help you.
  • Also, you may don’t need to add a textile medium to acrylic or latex paint. Adding a textile medium can make the paint more flexible to use on fabric. If you use a textile medium, you’ll have to use a paintbrush or roll on the paint instead of spray painting the sofa.

After mentioning these details, let’s see a tutorial on how to spray dye your sofa!

Color brush with paint pot

1. Prepare your sofa

The first step to start with is preparing your sofa for painting. If possible, steam clean it or let the professionals deal with it to have the whole sofa cleaned and stain free. Your sofa has to be completely cleaned. You have to remove every single piece of debris,  pieces of food, fluff etc. In addition to cleaning, there are more to consider about preparing your sofa:

  1. While cleaning your sofa, you can mend any rips, scratches and tears. Don’t neglect to do it. Otherwise, they’ll keep widening. You can use industrial-strength thread or have a professional repair them.  But avoid using duct tape. It can create larger tears.
  2. Replace any springs or get them fixed.
  3. Take off all the cushions from the couch. You have to spray them separately. Also, cover the part under the cushions with painter’s tape to protect it.
  4. If you don’t want to paint all the parts of the couch, like the legs or the armrests, cover them again with painter’s tape.
  5. Finally, if you want to paint your couch in more than one colour, cover the parts you want to paint in different colours with a piece of cloth sealed with panter’s tape.

2. Prepare the area you’re going to work

A woman and man covering furniture in a room

Since you are handling spray paint, you have to work in an area that paint won’t affect the items around your couch and that it will be well ventilated. Opt to work in the garage, a large room or even in your yard. Lay a large old sheet (available at thrift stores) to place the couch on. If you work inside, cover the walls, the floor and the rest furniture. Finally, create a station for the paint, any rags, the brushes and anything else you use.

3. Prepare yourself

While working with spray dyes, you have to consider protecting yourself against the paint fumes and the stains on the skin. Thus, put on a respiratory mask to avoid breathing the fumes and a pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands. What’s more, wear old clothes and shoes and tie back your hair. Finally, don’t forget your eyes! Wear goggles to protect them from stray paint.

4. Check the paint

Before painting the whole sofa, you better check the paint on an inconspicuous spot of the sofa cover to ensure that the colour doesn’t fade and if you like it. Also, check that it dries, it doesn’t “bleed”, and everything is ok. Pour a few drops of water on the tested spot and rub a light-coloured cloth to check if it doesn’t come off. If it does, you’ll have to find a new one as it isn’t suitable for the fabric.

5. Work as you would if you were painting a room

If you were to paint a room, wouldn’t you break it down into different parts to achieve the best results? The same thing applies to your sofa. Separate your sofa into smaller parts. Then:

  1. Spray a thin base coat first and let it dry before adding more coats. Wipe immediately and drips or use a brush to smooth them and make a more even result.
  2. With a fine paintbrush, apply the spray paint into the corners, fabric or dents.

Extra tip: Remove ASAP any hairs that come off the brush. Don’t let them dry on the sofa cover.

6. Paint the back of the sofa

Continue with painting the back of the sofa. Start from the top and spray paint thin lines moving to the bottom. If you still see the sofa’s old patterns or colour don’t worry. You can spray paint more times until they’re covered, especially if you have chosen a lighter fabric spray paint.

A grey sofa with four throw pillows with stripes and a cat patterned

7. Paint the sides of the sofa

Next, paint the sides and the front of the sofa. Again spray paint first a thin coat. Remember! If you want to spray paint the cushion covers, remove them first from the sofa to do so. You have to let them dry very well before you move to the other sides. However, you can choose not to paint the cushions. You can change the cushion covers with a fabric that fits with the rest sofa.

8. Let it dry

Once you have spray painted the entire sofa cover with the first coat, let it dry for at least three days before adding more coats or checking the colour. After three days, get a white towel and rub it on the painted couch. If there are no signs of paint on the towel, the paint has adhered to the sofa fabric.

9. Spray paint the second coat

Once you have checked that the paint has adhered to the sofa, you can spray paint the second coat. Again do the same as the first coat. Separate your couch into smaller parts and paint each part at a time.

You can add as many coats as you like until the colour satisfies you. Once you have the desired colour, stop and let the paint dry before placing the sofa back to place.

Extra tips on decorating your living room sofa

You might find at first that decorating is the easiest part when it comes to an overall makeover. However, in the process, you realise that the most difficult with the variety of options you have, from the smaller item you can add to your coffee table to the throw pillow in different sizes, shapes, textures and patterns.  How can you decorate your new sofa without getting confused?

You can follow a few tips to make your sofa look like it came out from a home decor magazine.

  1. Choose a colour and use all of its shades.
  2. Don’t lay different fabrics on top of each other. If you want everything to look in order, maintain a well-balanced arrangement.
  3.  If you choose prints on your throw pillows, be sure you follow this top tip: Choose a large or busy print for your largest pillow or for the one that is in the centre. If you have a small or simple print, choose to be stripes or plaids.
  4. Place decorative pillows on the sofa, starting with the larger in the corners, and as you move towards the inside of the sofa, pillows should get smaller.
  5. Don’t overdo it with decorative pillows. The end result will not be so comfortable. Pillows take up space!

A living room with a patterned rug under the sofa

Painting upholstery sofas can upgrade your home decor at a low cost. It’s a DIY makeover that doesn’t require skills and special tools. You just need to have free time and a well-ventilated room to work. You’ll be surprised by the “before and after” of your faded sofa cover.

Wait no more! Grab your brushes, follow our tutorial and transform your old, boring sofa! Next stop? Learn how to dye your carpets like a real pro!

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