Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Redecorating Project - Target for Change: Sofa

This is my sleeper sofa. I bought it almost 20 years ago and I have hated it ever since.  Let me explain.  It is/was a rust color with three back cushions, and the cushions did not resemble what I saw in the store. They were unevenly stuffed and looked poorly sewn. I should have returned the sofa then and there, even though it was a custom order, but I didn't and have regretted it ever since.  I tried to find a photo of the original sofa but no such luck. 

A number of years ago I ordered new bottom cushion covers and the throw pillows you see here from a local seamstress.  It didn't exactly match the original sofa, but close enough.  The problem was that the back pillows were not substantial enough to support anyone who sat down.  The beige you see here is a slipcover I added later.  
 

You're probably wondering why I just didn't buy a new sofa.  Well, I had paid a pretty price for this one and just couldn't justify spending more money because of my mistake. So I lived with it -  until now.  I decided to paint it.  You heard me - I painted it!

(It's not the first time I painted upholstered furniture - I painted two of my chairs. Read about it here.)

But first I had to deal with the cushions ... 

I decided I was going to make my own new cushions because I knew just what I needed.  I found this fabric and was thrilled because it incorporated the colors I was already using in my home, and it was French, just as with my new TV stand images.

There are no photos of this process because, quite frankly, I was wingin' it the whole time! I have sewn since I was a kid and that skill has saved me many times. (Thanks, Mom.) What I did was start with a foam cushion I bought on Amazon (4" X 24" X 72") which I then cut into three pieces for my cushions. I then designed the three covers to fit across the sofa, with plenty of room for the stuffing. 


I then stuffed my sewn pillow form with polyester fiberfill, but only on the front side of the foam piece so that the back of the cushion would be flat against the back of the sofa as you can see here. 

 Once I was satisfied with the cushions, I moved on to the painting.

By the way, this isn't going to be a very detailed tutorial, because I was so caught up in what I was doing that I didn't think to take enough photos. And I was only using techniques that I learned from other bloggers who were much more thorough than me.  I followed this tutorial in particular.  

I used her same chalk paint recipe for the sofa.  I started with a Valspar paint called Betsy's Linen, but it wasn't exactly the right color - I wanted it to match the background of the cushion fabric.  So I went back to the store and a patient paint clerk played with the mix until we got it just right.  Perfect!  

Make no mistake - painting stuffed furniture is messy!  The first coat requires that you spritz the sofa with water first, working in sections.  Here's the first coat almost finished (the unpainted side shows the original color of the sofa). 

Here's the second coat. Much better!! 


The original sofa fabric is smooth, so the paint went on quite easily.


The cushions I had custom made a few years ago are a textured nubby finish so painting them was a little tougher.  There was a nice surprise, however, that I had forgotten about until I took the slipcovers off.   You'll see what I mean a little later.
 

Once I had everything painted and thoroughly dried, I used light sandpaper on the sofa itself but not on the cushions. The sofa fabric is smooth and it now feels somewhat like leather.  The nubby cushions didn't take to sandpaper; I didn't want a distressed finish!


And we're all done!




Here's the surprise I mentioned earlier.  I had completely forgotten that the custom bottom cushions had one side finished in blue-green. I decided to leave it because it works perfectly well as an alternative to all-white.  I was thrilled to discover that it matched!
  

 

I'm very pleased at how this worked out.  The first question I get from everyone is "how does it feel?"  I don't find it uncomfortable at all. This sofa was never soft and squishy to begin with, so it is a little stiff but smooth. Because of the fabric, the cushions are rougher but they were that way before they were painted. Not uncomfortable to sit on, but I don't think I would want to lie down on them with bare skin against the cushions.  The second question I get is "Does the paint come off on your clothes?"  If you have ever tried to remove dried acrylic paint from anything, you know the answer to that.  I can even use mild soap and a damp cloth to remove smudges.  

If you have more questions, the blogger I referenced above also did a one-year followup to her sofa makeover and answers a lot of questions here.  If you're thinking of trying it yourself, do a Pinterest and Google search and you'll have more information than you need.

Next post: A final look at my redecorating project. 

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